"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Ducked out

Last year we purchased what we were told were two female ducklings - to keep the two male ducks that had adopted us company.

It turned out the females were males...

Four male ducks is not a good combination.

Those little ducklings took some punishment from the old males - the back of their necks being the main site.  No bad punishment, but enough to make me feel guilty.

I just didn't know what to do with them.  The lady who sold them to us, had given us the last two of three ducklings - and the remaining one was also a male.

So - I vacillated.  For too long.

The two ducklings gobbled up their feed, spent their days trying to evade the older two, and when they were good and strong, they, obviously after some discussion, and weeks of discontent, took flight and departed for calmer waters.  Overnight.

Which left the two original males.  One of them developed a limp - we renamed him Hopalong - and although we gave him a good going over, we could find nothing wrong.

One night he, too, disappeared.  I reckon it was either the rooikat, or an otter.  But nary a trace did we find - no loose feathers, no scene of protesting capture.  Nada.

That left just the one.

He was a bit grumbly when he discovered he was all alone, but we made sure to spend time with him everyday - having a quacking good conversation together.  His appetite improved and all appeared good.

I have had adverts up on Gumtree - had written to duck owners in our area - all to no avail.  He remained our solitary duck.

And what pleasure he gave us with his antics.

After the recent good rains, our dam filled up overnight.  Finally, a duck discovered the pleasure of frolicking about in the dam water - spending each and every day - all day - paddling, ducking, digging for insects at the now soft soil at the waterline.

These are some pics I took of him in the early hours of the morning earlier last week...





Good boy - he's cleaning behind his ears... :)
At the end of every day I called him "Quaaaack.  Quaaaaaack" and he'd get out of the water, give himself a shake, take a few steps and then launch into flight.  After gracefully landing in the alpaca paddock - taking three running steps to come to a standstill - he'd duck under the gap at the bottom of the fence, and waddle to where I was standing with the bowl of duck food in my hand.
Heading towards the food bowl...
It's not easy to take a pic of a duck in flight

Unfortunately, his newly acquired skill in flying obviously spurred him on, and two days ago he, too, disappeared - flying off to greener pastures.  The last time I saw him was when I fed him, and he waddled to his water bowl to take a drink.  Maybe he found a wild duck he fancied...?

Sad - he brought us joy - and smiles.

14 comments:

  1. Sorry your "girls" weren't! If I had even a little pond here, I'd have ducks - they are so entertaining! But I always feel sorry for the ones in pens with only a little children's paddling pool to bob around in. When you see how happy they are in a "pond" like yours, you know that's what they are meant to have. Love your pictures :)

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    1. Quinn - I'm sorry they weren't too... I wanted to see happy little ducklings waddling all over the place - and keeping the alpacas on their toes.

      I did provide them with a waddling type pool because, although I had painstakingly bribed them with food to follow me to the dam in order to introduce them to it (it's a distance from the house) they didn't venture back there on their own. The last one was (finally) brave enough, and for his bravery, he had a wonderful time ;)

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  2. What's a rookat? I want one.

    Ducks are bad about just taking off and going somewhere else. When I worked at the state park one summer on the senior summer program, ducks were always going off so it didn't pay to have a "favorite." There are lots of lakes and ponds here, though.

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    1. harry - A rooikat is a caracal (wild cat).

      We have a sneaky feeling that he was fed up with being on his own, and has relocated himself next door and joined our neighbours geese. Perhaps he'll come back...

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  3. Dani - all of the ducks learned the hows and ways of life with your family and on your land and then decided to "earn their wings" and went off, after being so well raised, to live their lives! i am sorry that you don't have them but i am glad that they were raised proper - teehee.

    we have a bunch of ducks that use our bird-feeders as stop-overs i think - because there are so many rivers, swamps, marshes and ponds so near to us - these various ducks stop in, get a fast-food meal and then head off. i always pray that they will stay but i am just glad that they stop by.

    you raised your ducks properly and now they are off living a good life. sending much love to you and yours, as always. your friend,
    kymber

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    1. kymber - Lol - earned their wings - indeed!!

      I reckon we'll investigate getting some more in Spring - it feels very weird with none around. But this time we'll ensure we get a male, with plenty of female company...

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  4. Dani, don't be surprised if you see one or another someday. 2nd Family at our farm had some ducklings that they raised and they just up and left when they were grown. This year, three of them came back. Hung around for a week or two, and then disappeared again.

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    1. 1st Man - That would be great. I'll definitely keep my eyes open - and invest in some females once it is duckling time here again. I understand that ducks only bred twice a year...?!

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  5. You should have got the young ones in the freezer, we did three of our ducks last week end they were females I could have sent them to you but I dont think there sense of direction was good and there passpoerts were out of date, you can clip duck wings to stop them straying. :-)

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    1. Dawn - I read RMan your blog posting that day, and he said that is something that he could never do. Perhaps if we were starving he might change his mind, but he's a big softy. Yeah, have also had the conversation about "packaged meat in the supermarket" with him... :)

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  6. Oh dear! I'd just buy some girl ducks next time and clip the flight feathers on one wing of each. With some pretty ladies (who quack much louder than the boys) chatting around your place you may end up with one or more of your boys back there "courting", probably your water lover :).

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    1. Robyn - As soon as there are some ducklings available, I'm going to get some females. Wouldn't it be lovely if the boys, especially the pool guy, returns ;)

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  7. Aw, that's a sad story but at least we can hope for a happy future for him.

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    1. Leigh - Very sad - I miss him.

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