I hate to admit it, but our duck experiment was a dismal failure. We chose Ancona ducks because they came highly recommended by Carol Deppe, but either the breed or the species seems to be a poor fit for our homestead. When the ducklings were small enough to dabble in our sky pond, I loved the way they foraged for their own food, but keeping them on dry land
has been much more of a hassle. The requisite open bucket of
water turns into mud within hours, and the ducks then proceed to turn
the entire area around the bucket into mud too.
I could probably deal with the mud problem, though, if our ducks weren't
so darn lazy. At first, I thought maybe the waterfowl were spending their
entire day hanging out in one spot because they were in a hillside
pasture, and hills were too hard for their webbed feet. However, I
moved the flock into a flat pasture full of low weeds and clover (and
even took away their open water bucket) and the waterfowl still lay about all
For the sake of
comparison, here's what the tractored hens were doing on the same hot
afternoon that I took the second photo in this post. Despite being
confined to a small space, these Red Stars were busy working up the ground where I plan to set out fall broccoli next week, hunting for worms in the process.
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