As time went by, we slowly had to face up to the fact that this little flock of ducks looked NOTHING like the runner ducks in Wikipedia. Hmmm. By then, though we were totally entranced with the whole "duck" thing. Amazing little creatures. Corky thought so too.... After years of acting like the Tasmanian Devil on the front of my kayak whenever we came across ducks in the river, she now had her very own ones!....and in her house no less. I think that she really made this connection when the ducklings got to swim in our spare bathtub for the first time... when they started splashing around and darting under the water for the length of the tub, Corky became so excited, she fell off of her little stool into the tub! It was hilarious---her whole being oozed embarrassment as she stood there in the water, totally drenched!
As these four little ducklings started to grow up, two stood out: One was very bossy (Missy, the matriarch) and one was dominant and protective (Bullsnake). It was interesting watching Bullsnake embracing the Attitude of "Boss of Everyone and Everything". He was #1....except for when Missy told him what to do. By now the ducklings were juveniles and ready to go outside....We had first hand knowledge now of how messy ducks can be---even though they were intriguing. Their new home was in a large 15' diameter, penned area in our backyard---complete with raccoon barrier of 1 foot high sheet metal inserted into the ground around the perimeter, a little duck house and hawk netting over the top of the entire pen. You might say that WE were over the top!...but we were in the process of an ongoing learning seminar about what makes "Duck".
At first, I wasn't sure what Bullsnake was doing---very strange--but in retrospect it was/is a dominance exhibition. There's that Attitude again. Corky could have bit his neck in half....but she didn't respond aggressively---her face was just a canvas for a huge question mark. Her lack of aggressive response gave Bullsnake more power in his eyes. He started to become a very FEISTY duck---all under the guise of protecting his flock. Life continued on in this way for about 6 months...The ducks living in their idyllic little yard.... until the move up here where the ducks were housed in the back of one of our Penske trucks in their little duckhouse and original dog pen.
Since this duck beginning, I've incubated a few clutches of their eggs...striving to perpetrate their line. As a result, this little flock has slowly grown....only to be downsized by predator death, or the culling of extra males. At this point, Bullsnake is the last of the original four ducks.....because of this, I decided to let his harem try sitting on their own eggs. Runner ducks are notoriously worthless brood ducks. They drop their eggs everywhere....including in their swimming pools! Mallards are closer to wild...and since these ducks are a cross between the two types of ducks, I thought that maybe they might hatch out their own eggs. So when they started laying eggs in their duck house (instead of in the bushes), I let them keep all of their eggs and waited.
It will be interesting to see, if at the end of a period of recuperation, Bullsnake still has any of his old fierce Attitude left. He doesn't right now.
On the day of his accident, I collected all 35 of the eggs from in his duck house and started in incubating them....even though most of the eggs were probably too old to incubate, I would dearly love to be able to hatch out Bullsnake II. In about 20 days, I'll know if the Old Strawberry Farm Hybrids are a soon-to-be extinct line of ducks , or whether Bullsnake's will have a new brood of ducklings to protect.