But I stray. When I placed these Pekin ducklings in the Hybrid's house, Bullsnake took ownership of them. Which means that whenever I go in to say "hi" to the ducklings and change out their water, bedding, or add feed, he's there. Watching. Waiting....and when I least suspect it, he goes for my feet with a vengeance. Good thing he's so personable, because those nips actually hurt on sandaled feet! When there aren't any ducklings and egglaying is on a hiatus, he's the only duck that actually enjoys being picked up--he rides around on your shoulder, surveying his domain! One cool duck. He and his mate Missy are the only remaining ducks from the four that we raised in a dog pen in our kitchen back in California before we made our move up here. If I had only known then......
The question here though is HOW he got out---There are NO openings to the outside from the brooder. And when the brooder door is open, all of the ducklings go running to the farthest wall. The sheer size of standing people is intimidating to them. (If you sit down on the floor, they run all over you...very cute). I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall in that duck house, so that I would know how this one got out!...
So, 140 ducks. Most of them Grimaud Pekins--which is what we are raising to be sold to restaurants and individuals at the Farmers Markets ("Duck of the Month Club": one fresh duck, that month's recipe and the spices and fruit from our orchard or vegetable garden to create it). Currently, we have about (there's that word again!!) 20 to-be breeding stock who are still young adults, 30 scheduled for a car ride this Wednesday to the poultry processor, 30 very young ducks and 40 ducklings. That's a TON of white feathers floating around! And can we talk attitude? The Pekins are NOISY ducks. Remember the TV commercial with the "Aflac" duck? That is a Pekin. They see you coming and start voicing their demands in no uncertain terms.... and keep voicing them. But they have their moments. Like when you set up the sprinkler for them. They absolutely adore it---they've made a competitive sport out of catching the water droplets. Funny as hell.
The most recently acquired group of ducks are our Muscovys. On the Strawberry Farm scale of duck intelligence, I rate them #1. I really resisted getting any of these ducks, even with repeated requests from customers for muscovy duck meat---simply because they're ugly. They have wrinkly, pink skin all around their bills and they have a strange elongated unduck-like shape:
They grow on you.
We've had our seven for about 2 weeks now. They're also the ONLY duck that doesn't trace its ancestry to a mallard; these guys originated in South America...where they roost in trees. At least the females do. The males pack on too much weight for their wing capacity! Sort of a way to limit the drake population naturally..... predators being what they are.
One of our little females, Bella (who is a younger version of this duck) has just started to fly and roost on the duck houses, fences etc. She really thinks that she's something and looks down at me from her perches all fluffed up and coos at me. That's another thing. They don't "quack". They gurgle/coo like a large dove and also emit this pretty little string of chirps/peeps. Very endearing.
Like I said originally, we're the duck farmers of the valley. Who would have known that breed traits and personalities of ducks would be so different?....or that a person could be so consumed by these idiosyncrasies. Hmmm.... I think that I've been on the farm too long!!