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I Have Ducks

January 16, 2015

IMAG0857_1I have ducks!  I bought two Indian Runner Ducks for my backyard, one white and one fawn, I wanted to be able to tell them apart easily. I have not named them and am not yet sure I will. Giving them names wouldn’t be useful anyway since they don’t particularly come when called. They are both girls but are still too young to lay just yet but probably will once they’ve finished moulting, I have duck feathers flying all over the yard at the moment!

They have been with us now for only 3-4 days but I have learned a lot about ducks in that time. There is no such thing as ducks and clean water, they will muddy any fresh water in two seconds flat deliberately by picking up dirt and then swishing it in the water. They don’t really quack a whole lot, I’m more likely to hear them lightly honk (kind of like geese) and even whistle when they’ve found a new source of yummy food. They are eating barley, wheat, rye, chicken pellets, slugs, flies, kale, lettuce, weeds, grass, earwigs, brown rice, stones, mosquito larvae, and plenty of leaf litter from through holes in the fence that I’d rather they didn’t eat! The other side of the fence belongs to a motel and they have a huge flax bush in that corner, so a lot of leaf litter has piled up behind it over the years and they’re picking at it.

These ducks are highly strung, apparently it’s part of the breed for Indian Runner Ducks, but they have already become used to me coming up to them and going about changing their food and water. They won’t let me come closer than about a metre though before they get up and walk away making lots of noise. I haven’t actually touched any of my ducks yet! At some point I may decide to forcibly pick them up regularly just to keep them used to it and do health checks but I do hear they can scratch and cut when cornered. They have sharp claws at the ends of their webbed toes, and their wings aren’t exactly the softest thing either.

I am very excited about them and also very obsessed.  On the first day I kept them confined to the little house my husband helped me make. On the second day we let them leave the kennel and go into a small pen we fenced off for them.  The third day I extended the fencing so they could get to the kiddie pool to swim.  Today I opened up the fencing to allow them to forage in my back yard, but they’d rather just stay between the pool and their house! I tried to chase them out and they just made a big circle back to the pool and then to the house again. This is good, if they’ve decided here is home. We live right next to a river so we don’t want them getting any ideas.

They’re gorgeous to look at have turned out to be good garden ornaments as well as interesting pets. I like that they don’t need a huge amount of affection or attention from me but will tolerate me watching them for hours. I’m finding they suit me quite well overall and in fact I would probably right now choose more ducks over getting any more domestic animals like cats, rats, or dogs. We’ll see how I feel during winter time!

From → Personal

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