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Extraordinary animal tales of the North Okanagan

A mother hen and her... ducklings at home in Farmer Val's backyard in Coldstream.
July 28, 2014 - 9:40 AM

VERNON - Have you ever seen a hen raise a flock of ducklings? A dog adopt a piglet? What about a horse herding a bear?

The North Okanagan has it all in terms of extraordinary animal encounters. There was Coldstream resident Val Buchanan, also known as Farmer Val, and the story that hatched when she placed nine abandoned duck eggs under a brooding hen that raised them like her own. They even slept nestled under her feathers.

“They all sleep together and get under her as much as they can now, though they’re getting fairly big,” Buchanan says.

The ducklings have followed their natural instincts and started swimming in their watering dish, something Buchanan says baffles their mother hen.

“They still have their own instincts to be wild,” Buchanan says.

Farmer Val will release the ducklings when they get old enough, but like the other dozen or so ducks she’s fostered over the years, she expects they’ll return every year to hatch their own young.

Insert a piglet and a dog, and you’ve got a similar story in Armstrong. It was a modern day Charlotte’s Web tale that unfolded at The Wild Moon Organics farmstead. A young man named Tristan Quiring took in a piglet—the runt of the litter—and it wasn’t long before five-year-old Duke, a German Shepherd, took the piglet in himself. They became pals, roving around together and sharing a kennel until Sophie returned to ‘pig life.’ Farmer Richard Quiring says Sophie still enjoys visits from her old friend Duke.

Moving up in size, there was also a bizarre meeting between a horse and a bear. Connemara gelding Jack Frost chased a cinnamon coloured bear from tree to tree in his Lavington paddock last summer. The horse wasn’t afraid, but rather curious.

And, because humans are after all animals too, we can’t forget the video of a deer rubbing his head against a young boy on the beach. Unlike the others, that story had a sad ending, one which saw the deer put down by conservation officers.

So, the moral of this story? Leave wildlife alone, unless you’ve got a brooding chicken or a dog named Duke. Or maybe just call Farmer Val.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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