Remember when I wanted ducks because I wanted to listen to their quiet little burblings as I worked in the garden and they roamed the fields?
Yeah, I remember that, too.
It turns out that ducks are not quiet little burblers. They are a pure cacophony of sound: gossip, complaints, laughter and arguments. They talk – loudly – from morning until night. Sometimes they even talk in their sleep. They have opinions on everything: from the time we wake up in the morning (not early enough), the food we give them (not enough, give more), hugs (no, go away), to their thoughts on the existence of cats (not good, get rid of those things).
And I love it. I love them.
Ducks are hilarious.
The Puddle Ducks turned three months old at the beginning of July, and we decided it was high time for them to start free-ranging. The garden is growing big and tall and can withstand their foraging, and Rowan is out on patrol so we’re pretty confident nothing can forage them. And so, with great pomp and excitement, we opened the door to their pen and …
I can’t exactly understand duck, but there was a lot of loud, outraged mumbling among them (no, not good, don’t want).
It turns out that ducks, as well as being super opinionated, are incredibly fearful creatures.
It took them a few days of quacking angrily and nervously at the open gate before they finally ventured through it. It took them a few more days of exploring right by the door before they started waddling farther afield.
It’s been two weeks now, and they waddle from their pen around to the other side of our house (approximately 50 feet) and then back again. They spend a good deal of time quacking their disapproval of just about everything, and rooting about in the straw we put down to keep the mud at bay last winter.
Thankfully, they haven’t been destructive to our yard at all. I have had to block off two new blueberry plants so that they couldn’t munch on the leaves, but other than that they haven”t eaten anything we didn’t want them to or destroyed anything either.
So far, so good.
Having ducks hasn’t turned out quite like I envisioned it, though.
I tried my best to get them to imprint on me when they were wee little ducklings, and even though they still follow me around, they very much like their space. And they very much do not like me to get in it (no, too close, go away).
I find that I don’t mind that very much, however. They live their lives – squabbles, friendships, fears and aspirations – and I get to watch them and listen to them as I go about my own life.
In the fall when all the plants are done, I hope the ducks will be brave enough to venture into the garden and root around and get any bugs or larvae left in the soil. Earn their keep, so to speak.
(no, not think so)
Well, we shall see.