Duck report

I forgot to note yesterday that when I was feeding Frank his afternoon tea, he suddenly looked at the pond and flattened himself on the grass with his neck stretched out toward the water. Then he ran to the pond and jumped in.

There in the water was another mallard drake, but one with the characteristic brown bib of a wild duck. I thought Frank was going to drive him out of the pond, but he simply swam up to the interloper, said “hi,” and then they paddled around the pond together like old friends. I doubt Frank would have been so kind had Honey been there!  At any rate, Interloper Duck wasn’t there today.

In the meanwhile, Anna is already on the job feeding the boy while I sit at O’Hare (I didn’t get groped). Her report:

Frank says: ‘Why’re did you bring me peas? Yuck!’

He carefully ate around them…

If anyone has suggestions for other food for Frank, put them in the comments below, especially if you have duck-tending experience. I haven’t tried anything but corn, peas, and mealworms (he eschews the last two comestibles).

And another: “Just say no. . . . to peas”:


  1. alexandra Moffat
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Local Feed stores have Duck Pellets. And Amazon has several choices….but your ducks might spurn the man-made stuff for your worms and corn. I read something about diving ducks eating somewhat differently from others…but what duck doesn’t dive? That’s almost what “duck” means!!
    I wish Honey knew how many were fretting about her!

    • Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Mallards are dabbling ducks — they tip without going all the way under water. I think the diving ducks, which actually do dive, tend to be more carnivorous (if you consider worms, aquatic insects and such meat). But mallards eat all sorts of small organisms too, but in shallow water.

  2. kategladstone
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    See if he likes buckwheat. I’ve seen ducks enjoy it.

  3. Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Try feeding him chicken laying mash, rolled oats, or generic bird seed?

  4. GBJames
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Wild rice?

  5. Christopher
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Dried shrimp, maybe?

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Bolded might explain Frank’s behaviour towards the other drake – he’s forming a coalition with another drake in the hopes that another hen without a clutch becomes available:-

    Mallards usually form pairs (in October and November in the Northern Hemisphere) until the female lays eggs at the start of the nesting season, which is around the beginning of spring. At this time she is left by the male who joins up with other males to await the moulting period, which begins in June (in the Northern Hemisphere). During the brief time before this, however, the males are still sexually potent and some of them either remain on standby to sire replacement clutches (for female mallards that have lost or abandoned their previous clutch) or forcibly mate with females that appear to be isolated or unattached regardless of their species and whether or not they have a brood of ducklings


  7. Posted May 6, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Anna, I saw duck pellets in Home Depot when I went there in Santa Fe. If you’re near one it might be worth looking.

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I suggest diced frozen carrots for the carotene.

  9. Posted May 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I get a kilo of porridge oats for less than a pound at the local supermarket and the ducks seem to like it.

  10. Posted May 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the duck pellets. Try bags of duckweed too from the aquarium and pond suppliers. They’ll multiply like crazy in the heat and sun of summer, and will be a ready source of food if ever the hoomans can’t get down to Botany Pond.

  11. Roo
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    He seems like a carb lover after my own heart. I agree with rice and oats! If bread is duck candy then those are probably the closest healthy substitutes, taste-wise.

  12. Mark Ayling
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    According to a sign at a local duck pond:

    “Half cut seedless grapes, cooked rice, birdseed (any type of mix), peas, corn, chopped lettuce, oats”.

  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Canned mixed veg including diced carrots. Lets see what he chews and eschews.

  14. Doug
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Tell him to give peas a chance.

  15. Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I am much obliged for these updates, and, of course, your travelogues, which are always entertaining, even if the photos of those scrumptious noms induce salivation and tummy rumbles only a few hours after I’ve digested my evening meal.

    Maybe I should read your posts before dinner.

    Anyway, safe travels, and I hope Honey visits soon.

  16. BJ
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    *Frank swims over to interloper, whispers in ear*

    “Frankie says relax.”

    Frank’s one cool customer.

    As for food suggestions, I have no experience in feeding ducks, but my favorite foods are sushi, pizza, and anything with a Michelin rating. Try any of those.

  17. Posted May 8, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Am I mistaken in thinking that ducks sometimes eat leaves of waterplants?

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