Thursday, June 8, 2017

Addition and Attrition

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the solution to a problem
becomes, itself, another problem?

If you've been following our duck tales over the years,
you might remember that we have had a continuing saga of
"addition and attrition".

A few weeks ago we added Stella, the Swedish crested duck...

and the other three Khaki Campbell ducks, Ella, Bella, and Della...
who promptly flew the pond after illicit advances were made by our
three resident drakes.
And just in case you are new to the world of duck sex... it's relatively ugly.
The males climb on the female's back and practically drown her,
holding her by the back of the head, pushing her under water.

For the past few weeks, Stella has gotten relatively good at avoiding any
feminine behaviors that might attract advances from the drakes.
And yet, with only one thing on their minds, it's impossible to avoid all contact.

What to do?  What to do....
Relocating the drakes to the wild would be cruel, 
as they are domesticated and rely upon us for feed.
Like roosters, no one really wants more drakes... unless they want ducklings.
It seemed our only course of action was to procure more females...
and they had to be ones who might not fly away.

We drove to the nearest livestock auction this week and found 2 sets of three female ducks.
Three are muscovy ducks (black and white).

And three are Indian Runners (off-white and tan).

Hubbs freed the muscovy ducks by the side of the pond.
The drakes were curious but kept their distance.
So far, so good.

Next we freed the Runners, 

who immediately ran into the pond...
bobbing and swimming with glee...


those nasty drakes headed straight into the pond and onto the backs of the Runners.
The next five minutes were ugly and ended up with three runner ducks fleeing from the pond 
in search of a hiding place.

Hubbs and I quickly snatched three frightened and soaking wet ducks
 out of the brambles in the woods and drove them to the barn.
These three girls will be living in the barn for the coming weeks
until they identify that as home.
Eventually they will be our garden ducks... spending days outside and nights in the safety of the barn.

Indian Runner ducks are flightless ducks who do not need a pond.  
They are a tall and upright breed who don't waddle, but, instead, run...
hence the name, Runners.
(We did, however, buy them a wading pool in case they want to splash a little this summer.)
They prefer to graze on insects in a meadow type environment.
I am hoping they will leave my garden plants alone
and become the "Bug Patrol" for the garden.
More on this as time passes....


Peter said...

Muscovys can fly, probably better than most other domestic ducks. However they will probably be large enough to hold their own against the drakes. Good luck!

Colleen said...

Very interesting read thanks.

The JR said...

wonder what a big goose would do to those bad boys....... do ducks and goose becomes pals? Curious if it would keep those boys beat off Stella.

Deb said...

I learn so much here. :) They are all 'lucky ducks' to be on your farm.

Carine said...

can't these boys be neutered?

Karen Ann said...

I know this isn't what you want to do, but me personally? I'd find the males another home. I don't have roos because I can't stand what they do to the hens.

Missy George said...

It's always a juggling act..You have become very good at it!! Hope everyone finds their happy place.. Enjoy this beautiful day..xxoo

deodar said...

My neighbor has runner ducks, they free range her yard unless it has rained. Then she has to lock them in as they figured out rain meant worms on the pavement and they'd march down the middle of the road looking for lunch! They enjoy a pool but they need a water source to dip their bills in to cleanse them.


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