I’ve wanted a flock of laying ducks for YEARS. Supposedly, they are gentler on a yard and garden area — chickens tend to really disturb their free range areas since they dig for bugs and dirt-bathe on a regular basis — but I’ve also read that ducks lay larger and creamier eggs than chickens do. How delicious does that sound? We have a great duck habitat here at the farm with a really beautiful, deep pond that’s crowned with an enormous weeping willow (which we call Grandmother Willow). I can’t wait to watch them waddle and paddle about our property. They’re going to thrive here.
What stopped me from having laying ducks in Pocatello was a crazy and omnipotent next door neighbor who may have had a screw or two loose with special regards to animal care habits. She made it her day job to monitor how everyone on the street was tending to their pets and animals and reported everyone in the neighborhood to the police at some time or another for “animal cruelty and animal abuse” — it was never warranted. She also trespassed in our yards to tend to our animals while we were away from our properties (on trips to the grocery store or jaunts to different states or countries). She poisoned plants in my yard that she didn’t like. She threw loaves of bread over the fence between our properties because she didn’t think I was feeding my dogs enough food. The list of weirdness goes on and on and to be frank, one of the reasons we sold our property in Pocatello was simply to get away from her. As some of you know, we were very fortunate to privately sell that property to good friends of ours and they’re now having to deal with the same neighbor issues.
This neighbor also had the habit of buying chicks every spring, or new chihuahua-mix puppies, or kittens, or button quail and she’d have them for a while and then they would mysteriously disappear and be replaced with some new baby critter. I don’t know what she was doing with them, maybe she was drowning them in her bathtub or simply putting them in her dumpster? She’d also come over and ask Robert to dispatch the animals she was through with, even if they weren’t sick or injured or suffering. She’d simply get tired of tending them and want someone to kill them for her. She once asked Robert to take her sick, blind chihuahua somewhere and shoot it because she didn’t want to pay the vet to euthanize it! I was horrified on a regular basis.
This is all to say, I was afraid to get a batch of laying ducks while living in Pocatello because I knew this neighbor would find them adorable and get some for herself and then ask Robert to kill them in the fall once they were full grown and she no longer liked them or had the patience to care for them. I loved our little Pocatello farm house with its incredibly prolific yard and its immediate access to the City Creek trail system but I tell you what, I felt a sort of spiritual oppression while we lived there and it was all because of this crazy neighbor.
Anyway, what I’ve noticed so far about ducklings is they are very active, taking only short sleeps every now and again, they consume a shocking amount of water and I’d describe them (no matter the breed) as eccentric! They’re hilarious! Our flock now has 3 runners, 1 Swedish black, 1 pekin and 1 khaki campbell — a beautiful assortment. The pekin and the khaki campbell are straight run (unsexed) so I’m hoping that one of them is a drake. We’ll be able to tell as their feathers come in. Keep your fingers crossed for me that one of those quackers has curly tail feathers!
I have to go to Colorado for work this weekend and I’m excited to go but I’ll be so sad to miss a few days with our baby critters. They’re already such a part of me.