Friday, August 21, 2015

Think Like a Duck

We are in the fourth month of duck keeping here at the homestead.   There are new routines to refine.

For instance, the business of moving the ducks from here to there.  Sometimes it's hard to get them to move where you want them to, so in hopes of greater success, I'm attempting to think like a duck. 

See the grass in the background?  That square of dead grass in particular.  This is what is motivating the movement.  The movement of the duck enclosure, that is.

Even though the ducks leave the enclosure during the day to hunt bugs and whatnot, the enclosure grass gets throdden down with big duck feet and the grass under the duck house turns yellow rather quickly.  Thus, we move the duck enclosure and duck house frequently.

At the end of a day of marching around the grounds, the ducks must return to the safety of their house.  You'd think the ducks wouldn't be too fazed when their house is moved a few yards across the yard, right?


Still.  They must be moved.  So.  We notice that ducks have what you might call Space Issues- you walk towards them and they move.  So surely, you can control their movement.   It sounds so easy!  You simply Lead From Behind and they'll waddle right back into their enclosure.  What could possibly go wrong?!

You guessed it.  Plenty.  They don't move in an orderly way.  They dart about in random directions. There is no leader.  Not even you, the mover!  It turns out that thinking like a duck is a bit daunting. 

Good thing I've got helpers.

Like this Sheepdog for instance?  Nope.  Not interested.  She has declared herself retired.  

How about this Pomeranian?  Well.  He's certainly eager to apply his innate reindeer herding skills to duck husbandry.  Trouble is, when his ancestors were bred down to lap size the herding skills appear to have been replaced with a sort of vacuous enthusiasm.

One of these young gals?  Maybe.  Someday.  After they've mastered coming when they're called and can focus on a task for more than 15 seconds.

How about this helper?

Yes!  The husband.  The Handsome One.  (I've got a really good picture of him in overalls brandishing a power drill.  He has forbidden me to post it.  Every now and then I obey to keep the franchise.  So we'll have to settle for this "artist" rendering.)

Anyway.  THO and I descend upon the ducks from opposite directions and eventually they enter the enclosure and we lock them up.

In short.  It beats me how a duck thinks.  I'll have to think about that some more.  Here's one thought though.

 If the ducks knew what really lurks out there in the dark, might they think differently?

To be continued...  You know, the thinking.


  1. What a darling post today !
    I wonder how they do it in China when they "herd" a hundreds of ducks down the road ?
    Love all your helpers. One of them should have been a corgi or border collie.
    Your ducks are so cute.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks! I've read about ducks being herded into the rice patches in China...maybe I'll add rice to my garden next season....

  2. It's hard work, but someone has to do it!

    You could do the carrot and stick thing with the dogs- reward them for helping you with treats!

    1. I used to use carrots. Now I've got THO.

  3. You are so lucky to have so many critters around, Lynn!

  4. We don't like you, Henry!
    -the puppies

    1. Sure. Sibling relationships can be challenging. Don't worry your mushy heads about it, youngsters. Just do what I tell you and you'll do fine.