The last duck post

I’m sure the ducks at Botany Pond will have flown south when I return at the end of November, so here are the last photos and videos I took of this year’s crop.

Before I left, our beloved waterfowl were coming and going every day, as is their wont before the Big Migration. The lowest number was about ten, the highest (imparted to me last night by our Secret Duck Farmers) was 23. I’m not sure how many of the adult mallards were this year’s babies returning, but the fully greenheaded drakes were surely not this year’s crop. (I am proud that we fledged 27 ducks this year, only one fewer than were hatched. That’s only a 3% mortality rate.)

Here’s the daily feeding on land (more efficient in ensuring that all ducks get noms). First a photo, then a video:

A video with quacking, mostly the muted quacking that drakes make. You can see the frenetic competition for duck pellets, and the mean drakes chasing others and even pulling feathers from the females’ breasts.

What we were faced with in the pond. These adults eat a lot: I went through four quarts of duck food at each feeding (3 per day), as well as mealworms and corn on the side. It’s a good thing I ordered another fifty-pound bag to have for our Duck Farmers to use in my absence

Below: courtship, as drakes and hens suss each other out and start to pair up (pairing begins before the migration south). The drakes often race each other, which could be chasing (though there’s no fighting) but could also be evolutionarily homologous to drag races by young boys, the technological equivalent of genital-size competitions:

 

11 Comments

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    The drakes often race each other, which could be chasing (though there’s no fighting) but could also be evolutionarily homologous to drag races by young boys, the technological equivalent of genital-size competitions …

    So it’s the drake version of the “chicken run” in Rebel Without a Cause?:

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 23, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Ah,rebel without a clue.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I quite like the realism in the crash. In recent movies, the car would have exploded in a massive fireball with a window shattering boom. Once I happened on a traffic accident where a young man was briefly trapped in his car. I helped pull the door open. He was quite panicked and said he thought the gas tank would explode. Too many movies, I thought.

  2. neilmdunn
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    ” It’s a good thing I ordered another fifty-pound bag”
    I am just curious where all this duck food is stored during the feeding season. Office? Shed nearby?

  3. Nicholas K.
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The duck reports are one of the highlights of my spring and summer. Farewell, ducks!

  4. Muffy Ferro
    Posted October 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could see the drake races!

    Curious, given the duck count at what I presume is a small-ish Botany Pond, if it’s steadily risen in the years Jerry and other duck staff have been providing food.

  5. Posted October 23, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Have you considered using a fertilizer spreader (new one) that would make short work of feeding the brood? The instantaneous widespread scattering might mitigate the fighting. There are small handheld models as well as wheeled models, the latter having the added advantage of wheeling the heavy bag of feed down to the pond.

  6. Posted October 23, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    There is no LAST duck post. Only until next spring.

  7. Posted October 24, 2019 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    I do apologise but, when I read
    “duck farmer”, in my head I visualise somebody growing ducks and then harvesting them for food.


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