Duck!

Ain’t they cute?  Meet Mallory, and brood.  Mallory came to us from some friends who’s dog ‘found her’, as a duckling.  We had baby ducks that year (none this year, as was our plan) and she bonded well enough with them.  She is full blood mallard, but didn’t fly off that winter.  That was at least three years ago.  She hangs about, going to visit her kind in the creek, and living as kind of a detached flock member.  She seems to like it, as she is the only one who can fly.  And she does.  She loves doing laps around the alders in our chicken yard, about 15′ off the ground.  She also seems to like coming in fast and low, when she’s been ‘off farm’ for a spell.  The geese and chickens have a bit of a heart attack as something come zipping into the yard fast and low, right at them.  It takes them a minute to realize that it’s just Mallory.  She lands and seems to wiggle her tail with a little more delight than normal.  She’s really friendly, even letting us get within a few feet of her before waddling off a little bit.  And she’s fat.  I think she knows what side her bread is buttered on…

If you been following us on FB you know that she’s down to 3 babies now.  Not sure what happened to #4, but with some things on the farm, you have to let nature take it’s course.  She had built her nest under part of our kids play set and although we talked about trying to protect her, we finally decided that if she wants to try to have her family outside the safety of the chicken yard, she was on her own.  We could have tried to catch the four wild duck babies, pen them up, and raise them, but as we already have made an impulse purchase of frizzle and bantam chicks (I am assured that any rooster will go via craigslist) our pipeline is full.  And she is doing a great job with them.  Last year she tried this with a nest in a much worse spot (right by our power pole) and lost all the babies in just a few days.  At this point the ducklings are about two weeks old and do a great job of staying with mom.  She runs them to the pond, and back to the tall grass around the play structure.  She’s spent several nights in the chicken yard, as well, so we figure she know’s where she’s safe.

The one subject that we have not broached yet, ‘what if these babies stick around’?  We have tried duck, and I liked it, but I am not sure that I want to go banging around our property with a shotgun.  Clean ‘kill and butchering’ of our meat birds is OK for our kids, but I don’t know that daddy running around trying to shoot ‘Malouley’ out of the air would not come back up in counseling in future years…  I have enough issues to try to keep from passing down to my kids without adding new ones.

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2 thoughts on “Duck!

  1. Ginger

    Always fun to read your posts, Adam.
    Thanks for introducing us to Mallory. Do I sometimes eat her eggs? It’s always nice to know a bit about the individuals who are producing your food!
    Ginger

    Reply
  2. Adam Stevens

    Ginger- Probably not, she doesn’t seem to set on a nest except for in the spring, and we never find it till she’s been on it for a few days. Her eggs are also much smaller (smaller even, than our chicken eggs). She’s one of those fun little additions that we would probably not be able to tolerate if we were a ‘for profit’ farm… By the way, we had duck eggs for you yesterday, but forgot to mention them. Let me know if you want any this week!

    Reply

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