On April 1, 1998 I received 11 Magpie ducklings from Holderread’s Hatchery. I wanted them for slug control. Here are two photos of the original Magpie ducks:
Then on 8/12/99 I received white and fawn Runner, white golden hybrid and Pekin ducklings from Metzer’s Farms. Then on 12/10/01 I found 4 ducks- 3 Runners and 1 Cayuga. All of our future ducks came from these original ducks.
By 2002 when we moved to our farm we have 16 ducks. Several ducks had been killed by other ducks or neighborhood dogs. By 2004 we were down to 5 ducks. Several had been killed by eagles and by other ducks. By 2005 the eagle killings were so bad we moved the remaining ducks into a covered pen and that is where they have remained ever since. Here are the ducks in 2005 enjoying their new home.
On our new farm we tried to control the duck population, but our ducks were sneaky. Here are some unexpected ducklings from 2005
In 2008 our last original Magpie duck died.
Because of all the mixed breeding we obtained some unusual looking ducks. Here are a couple of them:
The ducks never seemed to mind the weather, enjoying rain and snow.
By 2012 we were down to 5 ducks:
By 2014 we were down to two:
In July of last year a mink killed the female of this pair. I tried to keep the last duck happy with chicken friends and treats. Last month we removed a piece of wire wrapped around one of his legs. The leg did not look bad after this, but his walking slowly became worse. Yesterday he was not able to walk at all, but he was able to scoot around for the treats I was giving him. I moved him into the smaller chicken pen on shavings with some feed and water, but he died this morning. He looked peaceful, like he had just curled his head under his wings and fell asleep (warning dead duck photo next):
Interestingly after I found him I looked out into our fields and saw a Mallard couple there. I do not remember seeing wild ducks in our field before today. Not sure what to make of it but they flew away when I tried to take their picture:
So that is our duck story. Although they loved to eat slugs, they did not get much of a chance as they were so susceptible to predators. But nonetheless I enjoyed having them with their funny behaviors and quacks. I liked their eggs too. So we will not have ducks again, but I did love having them.