Bank staff’s investment in kindness pays big dividends for ducks

Published Jul 10, 2018 at 4:00pm

While several are animal groups host programs where community members volunteer to foster cats and dogs in need of temporary homes, Community Bank on Turin Road might be the first area organization to become foster parents for a new family of ducks.

Branch Manager Wendy Berg said a female duck showed up on the bank property near the customer entrance and decided to make it a comfortable spot to lay her eggs. The duck had a bush for shelter, but little to protect her from the summer heat, Berg said.

Last week the Rome area experienced some sweltering temperatures, with the heat index reaching above 100 degrees on multiple days. Nice beach weather, perhaps, but no picnic for a duck trying to hatch a brood of babies.

With empathy and compassion, several bank staff, including Deniece Zeller, who became known as the “ducky grandma,” brought the mother food and water.

“We sort of adopted this duck family,” Berg said. “Deniece would bring her cracked corn and water,” and before the Fourth of July holiday, “brought a red and white antique basin with water so that the mother duck could cool herself off. She even brought in a doggie sprinkler to help keep her cool, and a fowl block” for treats “from the Tractor Supply” store.

“Deniece and her husband would come check on the ducks at least three times a day, even over last weekend,” she said.

Berg said she and staff estimated that the ducklings would hatch around July 11 or 12, but the chicks came sooner than expected. Nine babies came out of their shells early Thursday morning. By the afternoon, the mother and her chicks had already left their temporary shelter, Berg said.

“Deniece brought a smaller red basin as well and the babies started swimming in that,” the branch manager said. “We think that once they could swim on their own, the mother decided to leave the spot. We’re kind of sad that she and the babies are gone, but hopefully she’ll pick this spot again to come lay her eggs.”