Well life obviously started as an egg which was picked up and put in the incubator on Friday 12 January 2007. The egg was one of 45 eggs incubated that day and taken from the Cherry Valley breeding pen which contains approximately 60 ducks and 15 drakes. All breeding birds on the farm are carefully selected so that no inter-breeding occurs.
On Wednesday 7 February 2007 these eggs pipped and were transferred to the hatcher and on Friday 9 February the pippins were finally hatched. At 6.30 a.m., the hatchlings were vent sexed and during this process the most bizarre event was found to have occurred. Stumpy was born!
At 6.30 a.m., four legs on one hatchling is definitely not the norm! Had I been drinking the night before - No! After counting them several times and taking him indoors for the final checkup with husband Paul and daughter Samantha it was concluded that we definitely had FOUR legs!
Stumpy was placed in the brooder with the rest of his hatch to see whether he would survive over the next few days before we then would have to decide what we would do.
| Stumpy fed and drank the same as everyone else although didn't at first appear to be growing as rapidly as the rest of his hatch. At the age of 10 days we then decided that perhaps our local newspaper The Southern Daily Echo may be interested in running a feature on Stumpy. We did also email our local media and media in London but nobody seemed interested but perhaps they thought it was a hoax! A friend of ours Joanne who came to buy some eggs was introduced to Stumpy and as she works at The Southern Daily Echo she mentioned it the following morning - within half an hour Ushma Mistry was here representing the Daily Echo and that was when Stumpy's media career went into orbit! At this stage we had no idea what the next couple of days were going to bring. |
9.00 a.m., Southern Daily Echo First Edition came on sale, and by 10.00 a.m., the telephone had not stopped ringing and three press interviews were carried out that day one each for Associated Press, Solent News and MY News Agency. Within 5 hours of the Associated Press photos being published on the internet Stumpy went worldwide! 8.00 p.m., a telephone call was received from a journalist in Sweden asking all about our famous duckling.
Sunday 18 February Meridian Television and BBC South Today came to interview and film Stumpy and also The Community Magazine which is a local paper in Hampshire. The television interviews were broadcast that evening!
Monday and Tuesday were packed with telephone enquiries and lots of radio station interviews which in my absence were capably handled by Samantha my daughter. Stumpy was quite obviously now a worldwide phenomena.
Wednesday 21 February has included an interview with VisionNews (www.vision-news.tv) an internet news provider and this is now live so please use the link above to see this interview which really is excellent.
| Thursday 22 February - well what a day! The whole afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable. We would like to especially thank Rowan the Researcher at Cactus who found our story and who made Stumpy feel like a star. He even had his own dressing room with our name on the door and yes of course we had to take a photo!! After going on air we were then invited to the "Green Room" for drinks and very plush snacks and then managed to get autographs. Graham Norton, Richard and Judy were very friendly and welcoming and we would like to thank all of you at Cactus for making us feel so welcome. (Stumpy having a nap before going on set - that is between photos being taken by lots of people at Cactus).|
Friday 23 February has been spent making important decisions relating to the press coverage Stumpy will receive for womens' magazines worldwide. We have received offers from various magazines and agencies who wish to have the "exclusive story" and we have decided that we will not be taking up these offers. We feel very strongly that the only people who have exclusive rights as far as Stumpy is concerned are us and of course the Southern Daily Echo, and this is how it will remain - he will be there for all the world to see.
| Saturday and Sunday 24/25 February was spent receiving visitors and lots of petting which he really does enjoy. Every good duck has to have a powernap though and if there's nothing good on the tele then what else is there to do but "zzzzzzzz......."|
Tuesday 27 February - Andy from the BBC came again today to take some more film of Stumpy running around. It was a shame the clip on South Today was cut short through time as Stumpy did "perform" for him rather nicely. I think it was more showing off actually! We did the telephone interview today as well for Pick Me Up womens magazine so presumably this article will be in the next issue - so watch that space.
Thursday 1 March - three charming young people came today from Salisbury College who are in their first year of their HND in journalism/reporting. Again Stumpy took everything in his stride and posed where necessary and was very well behaved. Even the Large Black piglets got to have their minute of filming so at least Stumpy's fame is being spread around a bit.
Saturday 3 March - Anne and Bob came over today to take some photos of Stumpy. Anne is an artist who claims to be an amateur but believe me her work is amazing! Anne is hoping to paint or draw Stumpy from the photos she has taken and says that having seen him this will make all the difference because his true character will come to life in her work. He may end up on an Easter card or in an exhibition so we'll let you know what happens.
|I think you'll agree the photographs that Anne and Bob took are very good and show the little horror as he really is! Stumpy "must dash - early bird catches the worm" (3 March 2007 picture courtesy of Anne & Bob).|
Must also mention the email we have had from Charlotte and William in Australia this week. They are aged 7 and 9 and are following Stumpy's progress on a regular basis. Apparently they have grandparents who live quite local to us so when they come to visit next they will be coming to visit Stumpy too. (Charlotte and William do remember to go and see Nanny and Grandpa first though as I don't think it will go down very well if you come here first!!)
Tuesday 6 March - today I did the interview with Pick Me Up womens magazine which article will be in their issue which comes out on the 13 April so watch that space.
Monday 12 March - well it was an early start but to become a "Julian's Person" on BBC Radio Solent wasn't something that Stumpy was going to miss. He twittered his way through his interview with Julian Clegg and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Paul and I and Stumpy would like to thank the team at Radio Solent who were very welcoming and made us feel very comfortable in the strange surroundings (and that was just Paul and I!)
Tuesday 13 March - again another first. We had been invited by St Michaels and All Angels Primary School in Lyndhurst to take Stumpy in to show the children in assembly. The theme set by the school had been that even though Stumpy was born very different from his other siblings that this made him special and not a freak and how this should apply to our attitude towards other people that we meet in life. I would like to give full credit to all the staff at St Michaels and All Angels who have manged to use Stumpy to get a very good message across to the pupils and I know this was achieved with great success. The Southern Daily Echo covered this visit so watch the webpage and the Echo over the next few days. www.dailyecho.co.uk
Well as you can see from the photos he is now a white Cherry Valley drake and very handsome too.
Whilst writing this diary myself, Paul and Samantha would like to thank everybody who has emailed us since Stumpy was born. The emails are still coming thick and fast from all areas of the world and we cannot thank you all enough for your kind thoughts and wishes. I am very glad that we have been able to share this experience with the rest of the world as I'm sure you will agree it is truly amazing!
Links to various "Stumpy" sites