I believe, dear reader, our duck drama finally climaxed yesterday, and we have reached a satisfactory and happy ending. Allow me to bring you abreast of the latest ongoings with all things duck related. My first mistake was assuming our lone crested white duck was a female whom I named Mildred. Second, I made another serious mistake thinking our black and white interloper duck, affectionately called Preach, was a sweet innocent semi-tame duck. Third, I mistakenly assumed Preach, and “Mildred” were a couple. Lastly, I assumed ducks are sweet, gentle, and non-rapey. This series of mistakes I will not make again.
I explained in an earlier post that Preach and “Mildred” were the duck equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde. I have now discovered that they were more like Frank and Jesse James. Bonnie and Clyde have now been changed to Benny and Clyde. Yes, dear reader, Mildred is a drake. This terrible tag-teaming duo is not only wicked but calculating as well. The two drakes would chase my little ducky hens to exhaustion, one would hold down the hen, and the other would have his way with her. This behavior left me angry and outraged. I was so angry one day that I asked my bib overall wearing wonder buns for the .22 to take care of both the feathered rapists…or at least Preach.
Eric talked me down off my murderous plot for justice and told me that it might take a while, but they would eventually all learn to get along. Sigh. I was highly skeptical. I continued to chase the two drakes away from my little hens using a yard rake or a shovel. I’m sure to anyone else; I looked like an insane woman chasing these two rapey little b!@#$%ds down to the pond multiple times a day. Finally, one evening I was able to herd the little ducks back into the portable electrical fencing around the little green coop. Not only were my little hens in the fencing, but so was Mildred, now called Milton. Preach was locked away from all the ducks, including his partner in crime.
Preach hung around for a week or so. He would camp out near the fence or lay under Eric’s shooting bench near the little green coop. He did not attempt to fly into the fence with the ducks. Finally, the insidious little b!@#$%d appeared to give up and disappear on his own accord. Perhaps he flew back to whatever pond he came from or migrated for the winter. Honestly, I don’t care, as long as he is gone. With the disappearance of Preach, a new sense of calm ensued. Although still a bit of an outcast, Milton seemed to bond with the hens and acted more as a leader than a rapist. This was a refreshing and positive change. I have kept them all locked in the fence together for several weeks. As time passes, they seem to have a strong bond and are all getting along well.
Monday, I took down the fence for the first time. My hope was that Milton would lead the little ducks to the pond. However, Milton reinforces that ducks are not the brightest creatures in the barnyard. Rather than waddle to the pond, they hung out in the hay field or the chicken coop. Sigh. In the evening, I put the fence back in place to keep the ditsy little quackers safe. Also, to date, all the ducks refuse to go into the coop at night. Sigh. Having made it safely through another night, I again took the fence down, hoping against hope that Milton would lead the ducks to the pond. However, I may as well have wished for a fairy to poof them to the pond with a magic wand.
Taking matters into my own hands, I got a long stick and attempted to herd the ducks down the driveway. I used the long stick to guide them in the direction I wanted them to go. I took my time and was patient with them. They tried my patience and agility, but finally, they made it down the driveway to the pond. Once near the water, Milton took the lead, dove under the electric fence, and headed to the pond. Three of the seven little ducks followed him without issue. After several shocks from the electric fence, the remaining four quacked in fear and protest but ducked under the fence (pun totally intended) and launched themselves onto the water like little feathered missiles.
Once again, dear reader, I wish I had had my phone with me to capture their first time on the water. They were so excited and happy. They dove, bobbed, swam, and preened. There was a loud chorus of quacking, wing flapping, and splashing. They took to the water like, well, ducks. There were a few anxious moments as one Harliquen duck dove underwater. She dove, disappeared from the surface, made no ripple, stayed under way longer than I thought a duck could, and suddenly bobbed to the surface several feet from where she dove. Initially, I thought, “Oh dear Lord, I have led them to their death!” Envisioning a massive water snake or enormous snapping turtle lurking in the murk to snatch my unsuspecting little ducks to the depths of the pond, I lamented over my choice to herd them to this pool of death. However, after watching them splash and splatter for a half hour or so, it was clear they were safe and happy.
My hope was that the little quacking dears would waddle back to the coop and fence when dusk appeared. Alas, they spent their first night on the pond out in the open. I have yet to walk down to do a head count. I am hopeful they are all there and safe. With the impending winter, I’m sorry to use that foul word; I hope they return to the coop when the excitement of the pond wears off and they become hungry. My next challenge is to train them to go inside the coop at night. This may be a challenge far past my skill or patience level. Little ducks are dumb.
Finally, all is well and peaceful with my duck dilemma. I hope Preach stays away and Milton and the girls live peacefully and harmoniously. It is an excellent ending to a long, drawn-out story. If you attend our Fall on the Farm event, you will see Milton and the quackies on the pond in person. It’s just one more enticement to come out, support locals, shop small, and put a face to the story. It’s a cute little face, although not very bright. I’m talking about the duck faces, not mine…I just thought I needed to clarify that. As always, stay safe, be smart, definitely more intelligent than a duck, and keep washing your hands…even the dumbest duck washes and preens…insert a wink.