Compassion in World Farming

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

We really are completely quackers!

We really have been bitten by the duck bug! Since raising the Muscovy ducklings we have fallen more & more in love with these enchanting creatures. They always seem to be happy & it's impossible to spend time with them without that cheeriness rubbing off on you & a big, soppy smile appearing on your face.

Chalk & Cheese continue to do very well up in the field with Donald, Jemima & Puddles our Khaki Campbells & Daisy & Seymour our Aylesbury ducks. They have remained very tame & will still come running if you rattle a tub of meal worms & greedily gobble them out of your hands!
Chalk & Cheese taking shelter from the scorching weather under a bench
But I think we were all missing that close contact of having baby ducklings out in the garden. We were tidying the garage when hubby, spying the half used bag of duck & goose grower pellets, completely out of the blue said that I should get some more ducklings so that the feed wouldn't go to waste. I tried not to think too much of it, but later in the day, having spent a lot of time working up in the field repairing fence posts surrounded by our lovely ducks & hens he suggested that we go to the Domestic Fowl Trust the next day to see what ducklings they had available! I was over the moon at the prospect of having little fluffy ducklings to hand rear again & Sunday just couldn't have arrived fast enough for me.
Now as we arrived at the Trust we did have a vague game plan that what we were ideally looking for were 2 Aylesbury female ducklings. The reasoning behind this was that our Khaki Campbell drake Donald had taken a real shine to Daisy the Aylesbury since her arrival & as her mate Seymour didn't seem at all perturbed we were not sure if the affection of 2 drakes would have an adverse affect on her well being! So we could take some of the heat off her as it were by upping the female:male ratio. Did we stick to this game plan? Well, not exactly! Well, not at all if truth be told! Hubby made the fatal mistake of asking if I wanted to have a look in the main sales room before asking to see if they had any ducklings available for hand rearing. As soon as we walked into the room we were greeted by the loud quacks of 2 truly beautiful crested ducks in a pen. I looked at hubby & he looked at me, & I knew we had both fallen in love with them, but I kept myself in check (only just) & after a quick look at the hens on sale for the day we carried on out to find someone we could ask about ducklings. Crested ducks are a bit special to us because we had a very eccentric crested drake Elvis not so long ago, but very sadly lost him to a fox attack. Anyway, we tracked down an assistant, a really lovely girl who I recognised had actually sold us our Muscovies & Donald, & before I could even get a word out hubby declared that to start off we would like to buy the pair of crested ducks!! Was it my birthday I wondered, or other such special occasion that had slipped my mind? No, I was pretty sure today wasn't a special day. Perhaps we were due a lunar eclipse, or maybe the heat was getting to hubby? I looked at him with my mouth open, as it is his more level headedness that we rely on really to prevent our place from being totally over populated with creatures! He just smiled & proceeded to ask the girl about ducklings & off to the duckling room we went. There was a brooder full of little ducklings even smaller than Chalk & Cheese had been that were so sweet, but hubby did manage to be stricter at this point & explain that what we really wanted was slightly older ducklings that could go straight to an outside pen to finish being reared. It was at this point that we were introduced to our new babies 'Tom' & 'Cherry', a pair of Cherry Valley ducklings.

Introducing Tom & Cherry the Cherry Valley ducklings!

I had never heard of the breed & they were quite a bit bigger than Chalk & Cheese had been when we first had them, but it was love at first sight! So they were coming home with us too! Now I'm not quite sure just how this last bit happened, it had all become a bit of a blur & I was already in duck heaven, but someone mentioned that there were also Indian Runner youngsters going up for sale that day. Hubby instantly remembered me saying something about Runners & asked me if that was the breed that I had mentioned fancying keeping at some point. I nodded furiously & he said that we may as well go the whole hog & take a couple of them too! At this stage I was starting to feel the need for someone to pinch me very hard! But before I knew it the 6 ducks were boxed up & we were heading home. They really were all ours & they really were coming home with us! On the journey home I started to just slightly worry a bit if we were doing the right thing in taking on so many in one go, but as I went through a mental check list of everything they could need (housing - tick;water - tick; feed - tick; room to free range - tick) I realised we did have the means & the capability of taking care of them & giving them a high standard of welfare. So I relaxed & just went with feeling of overwhelming excitement & thanked hubby over & over again! So here are the first pics of the new arrivals:

Tom & Cherry find their feet

Louise our West of England goose inspects the new arrivals

Introducing Harold & Rosie the Crested ducks & Indian Runners Big Chief & Little Wing!

I'll leave their stories here for now, except to say they have all settled in really nicely, have been excepted by all the other birds & we don't regret our purchases one little bit.


  1. my little muscovy is doing fine with Blanche the you think he will be ok with my adolescent runner ducklings???
    some breeds dont mix well.....
    i would hate to get rid of him...

  2. Hi John! My muscovy youngsters are getting on just fine with the goats, geese, hens & ducks in the field, new young Runners included. However, there are times when they just seem to want to enjoy their own company & hiss away any bird that gets too close. But in saying that they have never shown any true aggression. I guess if he's used to being in with a hen it would be OK to try. Hope it goes well!

  3. Hi Sis, your right, your are completely quackers!!