Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Posts tagged ‘ducks’

Just Ducky

This spring and early summer, the duck population here at WTF Acres went  from 11 to 3. One by one my feathered friends met their demise. We’re fairly certain the guilty party was a hungry fox. My building skills are somewhat lacking, so my solution for stopping the carnage was running an electrical cord from the house and scavenging drop lights from the greenhouse.  Using the little boat by the pond as a rack, I plugged those lights in and scared every owl within a 10 mile radius out of their trees.

The duck population remained at 3. Sure, the electric bill has averaged $453 a month, but my ducks are safe!

The other day, while surfing Craig’s List for folks selling goats, I discovered a lady in Garfield who had 6 ducks and 1 goose for sale. They were so cheap there was no way I could pass up the opportunity. So, on Wednesday, Ma and I loaded Apun’s dog kennel in the back of her car and set out for the wilds of northern Arkansas. We laughed because we aren’t very efficient farmers. Sure, the ducks were cheap, but it was a three-hour round trip to get to them.  We decided since it was an adventure, the price didn’t matter.  It was worth the trip because instead of 6 ducks, we got 8!  Woohoo!

Two springs ago when we got chicks, we decided we would never purchase another animal without having the proper pen for it in advance. We’d forgotten that little promise.  My plan was to come home and put the ducks directly on the pond, but our journey took too long and it was dark when we arrived home. So, we decided to put our new friends in the chicken house–which is free of chickens at the moment.  Unloading ducks in the middle of the night with your 75 year old mother should be an Olympic sport. After tripping over the hose, hanging myself on an electrical wire, stubbing my toe on a rock and nearly severing my hand on the rusty hinge that secures our state-of-the-art chicken house, we tucked the ducks into their new home.

The next morning, my other brother Darryl called. He thought we should wait until he arrived on Saturday to put the ducks on the pond. He figured he’d get the barn and pen ready.  Sounded like a marvelous plan.  So, yesterday we made a nice, cozy coop (or whatever it’s called for ducks.) As a result, we now have a pond with 11 ducks and 1 goose and pastoral bliss.


Ducks and goose in the chicken house

New home–red barn turned duck house

My other brother Darryl and nephew Darryl Jr. built a duck run from the shed to the pond.

Ducks being transferred from the chicken house to their new home. Apun was not happy about the condition the ducks left her kennel.

My other brother Darryl and Darryl Jr. complete the duck transfer.


The ducks make a beeline (or would that be a deeline?) to the pond.



The ducks had been kept in a chicken yard with no pond or water. When they got to the pond’s edge, they had no idea what to do.

The expression on the first duck’s face when she hit the water was priceless. It looked like she was thinking: “Hey cool! When did I learn how to swim?”

The original 3 weren’t that thrilled with their new neighbors.

The newbies eventually convinced the originals to love them, but it took several laps around the pond before it happened.




Pond Perils

Nat/Natalie King/Queen Cole

OMG! I lost a duck. I was freaked out. Circumnavigated the pond–twice. Not a sign anywhere of cute little Nat. Not even a feather. I have 11 ducks and Nat is the odd duck out. I have 2 Rouen, 2 Cayugas, 4 Pekins, 2 weird ones from Feed and Seed (have no idea their breed, but they go together) and Nat–a Crested. We have no idea if Nat is male or female. Nat has a crown so I named him/her Nat King Cole–or Natalie–depending.

Anyway, Nat went missing. At first I suspected the dogs. I’m mad at them anyway, but I knew they didn’t do anything to Nat. They love Nat. We all do. Coyote? The dogs go bonkers when they hear one howling 3 miles away. There’s no way one could get close to the pond. Hawk or Eagle maybe? They can swoop down and fly away with small dogs. Maybe one got my duck. Or a snapping turtle. Before I put the ducks on the pond, I set traps to catch the turtles. I was going to relocate them, but never caught one. Hadn’t seen one in the pond for over a year, so I was hoping they’d found a more hospitable water dwelling in which to inhabit. Nevertheless, I just knew a snapping turtle had slithered into my pond and ate poor Nat.

I cried.

Of course, all of this happened before I was leaving for the weekend and I had to leave Ma in charge of the ducks. Skip forward to Friday night. I’m at a noisy restaurant trying to drink away my sorrows when I see that I have a voice message. All I could hear was….Duck…Pond…Drain pipe….your other brother, Darryl.

The wire-covered pipe in the foreground is a tube o'terror!

Freaked, I ran out of the restaurant (okay staggered) and called Ma. Poor little Nat hadn’t been pulled to a watery grave by a vicious reptile. He was stuck in the pond overflow pipe!

Using fishing line, a plastic bag and a container of water, my other brother, Darryl was able to lure Nat into the bag and pull him out of the pipe like a big game hunter bagging a lion with a drop net.

Concerned for poor Nat’s mental state, I was Googling to see if there was a good duck therapist in the region, when Ma informed me that Nat shook his/her tail feathers and joined the other 10 ducks as if nothing was wrong. 2 days in a drain pipe and no side effects?! Shoot, I needed therapy. The thought of my poor duck being without water, trapped in the cold, dark overflow pipe caused me to hyperventilate.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I took a deep breath and visualized Nat swimming happily with his/her little friends. Instead of drowning my sorrows, it was time to celebrate Nat’s safe return!

When I got home on Sunday, I rushed to the pond for a hug, but Nat wouldn’t comply. Maybe the dogs aren’t so bad after all. They are cuddly.

Bucolic Bliss

Every time I step out on the deck, the ducks yell at me to come down to the pond and give them some corn. Now, technically, they don’t need the corn since they have a pond full of tadpoles, baby fish and bugs in addition to the pond banks overflowing with grasses for them to munch upon. Not feeding them the corn would be like me going without peanut butter and that’s just not going to happen.

So, every evening around 6 or so, I mosey down to the pond. I’m using the computerized fish feeder to hold the duck feed. From what I can gather, the computerized part of the feeder died about ten years ago, but the sturdy metal container is perfect for holding grain. I open the lid, scoop up the chops with an old Cool Whip container and fling the corn along the edges of the pond banks. As soon as the corn hits the water, the ducks swarm. They eat the kernels floating on the surface, then they dive and eat the grains that are on the bottom near the shore.

It’s 923 degrees in the shade and as I watch the little wiggling duck butts, I think oh, that water looks so good! So far, I’ve been able to resist the urge to jump in and cool off, but it’s only June. By August, my brain might be melted enough to join them.

Synchronized Feeding

Looks so Inviting, doesn't it?