It's funny how different breeds of ducks have totally different personalities. Chalk & Cheese, our Muscovy ducklings, were pondering & inquisitive creatures who just absorbed every little thing about the world around them with a rise & fall of their crest feathers. Tom & Cherry, our new Cherry Valley ducklings, are a different kettle of fish altogether. They are very animated, talkative & cheeky little characters. For the first couple of days they appeared quite nervous & I wondered if I would have as close a relationship with them as I had with my lovely Muscovies. But with patience, a lot of time spent quietly talking to them & with a bit of bribery with titbits such as the trusted old meal worms I have quickly gained their trust. Now they seem to love my company, come trotting over to see me whenever I appear & will happily eat from my hands.
We kept them in the old rabbit hutch with a ramp down to a caged off patch of garden to begin with, so that when they felt confident enough they could venture out in safety. They have had a shallow trough of water to paddle & splash about in from day one as it's been so hot. (I don't think this would be so advisable normally as they still have a fair amount of baby down left, which in cooler weather may have got soaked & led to them getting chilled.) Then yesterday I let them out of the run for the first time. Here are their first few tentative steps - you can hear the way they constantly 'chat' to one another:
A few minutes later you would have thought they owned the garden space! They grubbed about excitedly in the longer grass, fought over a feather they found & then discovered the wild bird seed on the ground table & pilfered it. They had a peck at the toes peeping out of my sandals & decided they didn't taste so good, then they came & tugged on my t-shirt as much to say come & play too mum! They reminded me of toddlers - tearing around & having to poke their beaks in to anything they found. It was lovely to see the transformation in them. Of course I am totally crazy about them, but whereas it was relaxing to spend time in the garden with Chalk & Cheese it is quite exhausting watching the two of them!
Tom & Cherry pilfering wild bird seed
Grubbing about in the longer grass (a good excuse for hubby not to mow it !)
They are amazing little ducks!