This morning we had quite an adventure.
You may remember that after cute little Cuddles and Peeper grew up, we learned that drakes (male ducks) are really terrible sex maniacs. We’ve read that they need 3-5 females to satisfy them. If they don’t have them, they will go after the female chickens. They can seriously hurt or even kill them. Not good. Not acceptable. So we divided our pen into two sides, one for the chickens and one for the ducks. Since the chicken side is bigger than the duck pen, we decided to let the ducks free-range. They are enjoying their freedom. However, they often pace outside the chicken pen and if a chicken gets close to the fence, Cuddles reaches in and grabs her.
We contemplated sending Cuddles to “freezer camp,” which is an euphemism for killing him, sticking him in the freezer, and eating him. But we really didn’t want to kill poor Cuddles, so we considered getting him more females. We have been checking Craigslist, and this morning I found someone in our area selling Rouen Ducks. Cuddles and Peeper are Pekin–I wanted a variety of ducks. I texted the seller and learned that she did, indeed, have females. So we arranged to buy her Mama duck and two babies. We weren’t sure how little the babies would be so we took along a cat carrier (we couldn’t find a box) in case they were really little. It turns out that they are more the size of teenagers, which is better because we actually wanted older ducks for Cuddles.
I gave JJ the address in case the person was a serial killer or something and we set off. The woman’s driveway was a two-track, which means it’s very rough–like a path. Her place was pretty junky, but the woman seemed nice enough and she said her animals were all like her pets. She had lots of dogs, some goats, a few pigs, and many free-ranging turkeys, chickens, and ducks.
We had to catch the ducks. At first the woman tried to lure them to her with food. All the other chickens, turkeys, and ducks came up to her EXCEPT the ones we were buying. They didn’t want to be caught. The woman called her son (maybe 12-14 years old) to help and we were all running around the property trying to catch three of the ducks. The ducks ran under the tree, through the mud puddles, all over the place. We finally managed to herd them into the chicken coop, which was like a shed, and the woman went inside and caught two of them. EJ took one and I took the other and we carried them to the Suburban and put them in the back.
But the Mama Duck was not in the shed. She had disappeared. We all wandered the property looking for her and never did find her. Finally we said that we’d take a third teenager duck. The woman went back in the coop, caught another one, and Eric took the duck back to the Sub with the others.
So we drove home with three young ducks in the back of the Sub. Once EJ took off from an intersection kind of fast and they tumbled a bit. You should have heard them complain. EJ kept saying, “I’m sorry! Stop complaining! I said I was SORRY.” After a bit they quieted down.
We got them home and then we had to get them out of the Sub and into the duck pen. JJ and I each stood at one of the back doors and we kept trying to shoo them toward EJ who was in the way back. They were flapping all around staying just out of reach. Finally one went into the cat carrier. EJ grabbed the carrier and took the duck into the inside duck pen. I had closed the pen off so that Cuddles and Peeper couldn’t get into the garage. It will give the ducks a chance to get to know each other before we shut them in all together tonight. EJ returned to the Sub with the cat carrier and we shooed and shooed the remaining two ducks until they both went into the carrier and then EJ put the ducks with the other. He had a terrible time getting the ducks out of the cat carrier because they didn’t want to come out. JJ and I watched and laughed and laughed.
The chickens–especially the roosters–get really upset with any sort of change, no matter how small. The new ducks were quacking and the roosters were upset. It sounded like bedlam! I yelled over the racket, “IT SOUNDS LIKE A BARNYARD IN HERE!” Then I laughed.
But finally everyone calmed down. Cuddles is all gaa-gaa over his new females. He has stayed near the gate all afternoon looking longingly at his new “friends.” After some discussion, we decided to name the new ducks after flowers: Daisy, Lily, and Rose.
I hope Cuddles is satisfied now. We now have ten chickens and five ducks. Next Spring we would like to get a couple of geese.
As we drove home with the new ducks, I told EJ that two years ago I never could have imagined having the life we live now. I love it!