Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Adventure with Ducks





We live on the lake so our family has come to love ducks. They often come up from the lake to our backyard & we throw them pieces of bread. A friend of ours told us that when he finds duck eggs he brings them home to hatch them. He then raises them untill they are able to fly. He said that otherwise baby ducks don't have a fighting chance to live due to the turtles. The turtles pull the baby ducks down under the water to drowned them & then they eat them. So he was helping the ducks be able to survive. We heard this and decided that we wanted to raise ducks also. We did so about 3 times in the past. This spring the girls wanted to do it again. So I found a man who had baby ducks that were 1 week old that he had hatched in an incubator. We bought 4 baby ducks, hubby built a cage, & bought feed for them. They were so cute. We would take them out of the cage & put them on our front lawn and they would follow us whereever we walked. They walked in a line like we were their momma duck. Anyway, they grew, developed wings and we decided after 4 months it was time to release them back to the lake. They loved swimming in the lake but they began to get water logged & were sinking a bit...so we rescued them out of the lake before they drowned. Guess they aren't ready yet. So we decided that they needed to not be caged during the day so that they could learn to forge for their own food & hopefully learn to go get in the lake & out of lake themselves. The idea was good but the ducks never ventured away from their cage area, so we had to catch them & put them in the lake everyday so that they could practice swimming. This was a comical scene! You see I could only take one at a time but by the time I would get one duck in the lake, & turn around to go get another to put in the lake the original duck would get out of the lake and start walking back up the hill towards the others. UGH! So we could only accomplish this task with 2 people minimum. We had a problem the ducks just didn't want to leave our property (we live in a residential subdivision) and it became pretty stinky. I thought we have got to get rid of these ducks because they will never leave us. Hubby & I put the ducks in a big cardboard box & took them on our party barge (pontoon boat) further up the lake from our house and released them. Guess what??? 30 minutes later...they were back to our house! UGH!!!! That night we decided to not cage them. We figured we couldn't make it so homey for them. Then about 2am hubby & I were in bed talking when we saw our security light come on...hubby jumped out of bed to look out the window. There was a red fox who was sneaking up on the sleeping ducks. Hubby shouted at the fox and the fox ran off. I said, don't let that fox get my ducks...get your gun...shoot that fox. So picture this...hubby is outside at 2am with his gun making sure that fox isn't coming back for dinner & ducks are running & squaking all around. He had to catch them & get them back in their cage in case the fox came back. This was a challenge in itself! A couple days later we decided that we had to take them on the boat again & let them go farther from our home. We still haven't seen them fly or even attempt to fly though their wings are big. We found a nice area with homes on the lake a couple coves away from our home with areas for the ducks to climb out of the water and we released them. We go back about once per week to check on the ducks & happy to say they are doing great! When they see us drive up on our pontoon boat they come swimming quickly to us & quacking the whole time. They eat bread out of our hands...it is so cute! I even got in the lake with them and they just swam around me. A man that lives in the area where the ducks are told us that they were the friendliest ducks he has ever seen. We then told him that we raised them & he said oh that explains why they aren't afraid of people & dogs and why they swim up to every pontoon boat they see. Oh, I thought they just recognized us and were doing that for us, but guess they do that for any pontoon boat they see. Still haven't seen them fly. Sure hope they learn how to soon so that they can fly south for the winter!

5 comments:

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Darlene, that's a very cute duck story. I love it that they are so friendly & hope that they will thrive there on the lake.

Lorie said...

What cute ducklings! And I love your new blog header!

pat@backporchmusings said...

Sweet post Darlene!

Susan (Moonlight and Magnolias on RMS) said...

Cute ducklings! :-) Darlene, I have an award for you at my blog...please stop by to pick it up. Susan
http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

What a charming story! I think it's wonderful that you helped the ducks, and glad that they are adapting well :)!

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The Family