So when I found and acquired a wonderful, old, 8 foot in diameter, galvanized stock pond on good old Craigslist a while back I was ecstatic. Much better for the size of our flock! …but because the sides are 2 feet high and ducks and ramps don’t get along too well, it hadn’t been put to use effectively yet. We recently had come up with the idea of digging the ground down a little, so that the walls would be only 1-1/2 feet high and then using the sod and dirt that we removed to make a more natural feeling ramp for the waterfowl (aha…there’s that word, “water” again!) to get into the old swimming hole on one side.
Armed with a tractor and shovels, Bob and I set off to the far end of the orchard. After working out there for a good part of the morning, Bob and I were busy patting ourselves on the back while we watched the tank being slooooowwwwly filled with water (it takes about a day to fill it!)
With great anticipation, we went back out the next day with the flock of ducks and the gander to lure them into the water. It’s an understatement to say that they don’t take to new things very easily. At the end of the day before, after the tank had finally filled up, I had moved their food up to the top of the pool ramp to lure them into the water—but they weren’t hungry enough to hazard the “climb”. Not so this day! They immediately ran up the little ramp and ****WOW**** water!!! They were hilarious: diving, swimming underwater…peeking over the sides from outside the tank. Bob and I took photos of them and then left them to their play and went about the other farmwork. At about 4pm the ducks had put themselves to bed in their duckhouse….ready for their doors to be shut and secured. Good day….they were all busy talking about it. Kind of like a chicken cackle, duck style.
Next day. I open the side door of the duck house and the ducks and geese literally explode out the door and off into the orchard–George at the tail end, flapping his wings and honking. Then quiet. I went out to the orchard to see what was up—they were standing in a ring all around the pond. Just standing there. When I reached the pond, I saw what they were looking at. Three ducks. Drowned from yesterday’s party. Two of our eight females… and a male.
All of this time, we were so happy that we hadn’t lost one duck to predators–from day old ducklings to adults…..and now three die from drowning???!!!! Good grief. I keep telling myself (and Bob) that we just culled the flock….