Sunday, February 10, 2013

Duck Dealings

I have to say, I really like my ducks a whole lot. They lay a lot of eggs, are great mothers but mostly they are the most entertaining animals on the farm.If you want to see real joy, you only have to give them half a watermelon and stand back. But, when you grow ducks, you can't keep all of the offspring. There would be problems not only with in-breeding but also if there is more than one drake around, the fighting is ruthless. We have our drake, Charles, and he is here to stay and last years ducklings probably have a few drakes in the mix so they have to be sold or as we have done in the past dispatched in other ways. We have given them away before but to then see the receiver post them  on Freecycle because they were over the bother of looking after them, I am trying to be more selective in where they go.

Today I had a young buyer drop in and he chose two of my chocolate brown ducks and seems very keen. He didn't want drakes, just two ducks which meant we had to work out their genders. When the drakes are old enough, the telltale curl in the tail will give a drake away but not when they are so young.And not as it happens when they have just finished moulting. Charles the head drake, has lost his curly tale for the time being too. Anyway, the easiest way to tell the ducks from the drakes is when they have that tail curl but you can also with some experience check the vent area for a penis which is just about as unglamourous an activity as it sounds. Then there is the quack. The ducks have a definite quack and to me the drakes sound is hard to describe. Kind of like a ducky mumble. You can even hear some different quacks here which probably makes more sense.

Not an exacting science but hopefully we got it right this time. The rest of last years ducklings are heading out next Sunday.

I have had a few people ask me if ducks are really messy. The answer for me is no but... my ducks have an acre to roam in and they spread their mess far and wide so it isn't noticeable. In a backyard situation it might be a different story. They are messy with their water though. They will dirty any water they find. It isn't the drinking, it's the bill washing and the splashing/swimming.Every water dish ends up with a layer of mud at the bottom after a short while. And lastly, they eat quite a lot. Indian Runner ducks may look slim and sleek but they just shovel the food in. Don't let that put you off though, I wouldn't be without my ducks.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I love ducks, I remember when we were younger going to my Pop's in the country and he had ducks and chickens...we had so much fun feeding them. If I had a bigger backyard I would buy some off you.