So where did I leave you? Why yes, with a lovely family of ducks that roam around our farm but are not exactly pond friendly. Not a problem for a normal person, but that is a title I’ve never attempted to claim. The lack of swimming seemed to me a problem, my pond remaining empty and unused; desolate if you will, a shimmering pool of duck-free sadness.
Of course there is really only one thing to do about that…on a Sunday morning with no previous planning taking place. Ahem. To contextualize I’d had a bit of a glum morning and so turned, quite naturally, to the livestock for sale ads on kijiji. Everyone does that right?
I came, rather happily, upon an ad for rare breed ducks just south of us. Even more happily the lovely chap was willing to meet in the middle making our pick up even easier, what could be more auspiscious? So, after breaking the news to my beloved that I may have, sort of, a bit, kind of bought 8 ducks and we needed to go pick them up now, we zipped south to a Tim Horton’s car park and what I will now forever think of as the Great Duck Pick-up.
After a nice chat with the duck farmer chaps and a quick and easy duck transfer, we came home with 4 Welsh Harlequins (the only Welsh duck breed and an homage to my Welsh heritage) and 4 Magpies, a beautiful black and white bird that are among the top laying breeds. Each group consists of 3 females and a drake, hopefully making it possible to breed some pure breed ducklings come spring time.
Upon our return, Stephen used state of the art transportation methods (a wheel barrow) to move the ducks down to the pond. It was a hot day so we wanted to give them the chance to take a dip. We moved a house down to the edge of the pond for them, exactly the same as the one that was working so well for our Muscovy family. With great delight I opened the pet carrier, releasing our new ducks out onto the pond.
Without hesitation they emerged and headed straight for the water, plunging in they were immediately at home, ducking their heads into the water as they waited for their compadres to join them. Once they were all together they began swimming together, swimming and swimming and well, not to put too fine a point on it, swimming. Swimming to the opposite side of the pond, about as far away from us as they could get and it became quickly evident that far away from us was where they intended to stay.
We quickly realized that these ducks, unlike the Muscovies, were unused to people and fled whenever we came near. Fled into the middle of the pond. The 15 foot deep pond. And it suddenly occurred to me that if a duck doesn’t want to be caught, there’s no catching it.
I’ll admit to being disappointed. My lovely laying ducks wouldn’t come within a ponds width of the house we’d set up for them, they were basically living wild on our pond. Luckily my lovely chap has a bit more patience than me and so began a programme of rehabilitation. Though it’s taking time the ducks will now come and feed next to us, they are becoming used to where they are fed and coming onto shore regularly. They are currently in moult and so they are not laying, we have a few weeks to gently train them to the safety of a night time house and, hopefully, the snuggly joys of a hay filled nesting box.
Oh and those non-swimming Muscovy ducks? They are happy, growing well and, as you may expect, are now totally swimming on the pond.