The Puddle Ducks: An Update

July 18, 2018

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?

Hahahaha.

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 …

… nothing.

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.

7 Comments

  • The Belmont Rooster

    July 18, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Great post! My grandparents always had ducks and I did when I lived here on the farm before. I always wanted some Fawn and White Indian Runners, so in 1981 I bought some ducklings. Quite a different breed for sure and always entertaining. One year I hatched eggs with a broody hen and all was well until one day… It had rained a lot and they found several puddles of water which led to the pond. They tried one puddle after another and then they discovered the BIG ONE! They stood straight up looking at it then forgot all about mom and the little puddles. Mother hen was frantic! Fond memories for sure and you will make plenty. 🙂

    1. lacey

      July 19, 2018 at 2:52 am

      Ha! Poor mother hen! We have a chicken who lives with the ducks, and she just looks at them like they’re insane when they’re swimming 😛

      1. The Belmont Rooster

        July 19, 2018 at 4:36 am

        🙂

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    July 19, 2018 at 1:38 am

    What a great post. A perfect description of ducks and their attitudes. We had a lot of memorable ducks growing up, but one in particular that fits this article. We had a gander who was more of a pet than anything (talk about imprinting… he did not believe he was a bird). We got him a duck to keep him company out in the coop. The duck was an early riser and would wander out of the coop and then be mad that no one (human or goose) was up with her. She would stand in the run and quack as loud as she could. The goose would just ignore her, but she made it impossible for me to sleep, and many times I yelled out my window, “Buster! Go back to bed! Be quiet!” I love ducks and can’t wait to add them to our farm. It’s great to see how much you’re enjoying your flock.

    1. lacey

      July 19, 2018 at 2:51 am

      Ha! That’s so cute! They are pretty great 🙂

  • The EcoFeminist

    July 24, 2018 at 2:38 am

    So funny…read this out loud to my husband 🙂 Our gals are struggling with the concept of using the new coop, just hoping when the wind starts blowing they will realize its value! We let them start free-ranging this week, and while they didn’t have any problem walking out the door, they only went around the near vicinity of the run and then after about 10 minutes turned around and went back in 😆

    1. lacey

      July 24, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      I never realized that ducks would be so nervous and adverse to change! I’m honestly surprised by how fearful they are – so much more so than chickens. Luckily for them though, they’re a lot cuter 😛

      Can’t wait to see more about how the new place is coming along!

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