One of my favorite Bill Mollison quips is “you don’t have a slug problem, you have a duck deficiency”. Although we never see many slugs, we thought to try ducks on our little pond for all their other habits like laying big eggs, eating aquatic vegetation, insects and land grasses. We got our six muscovite babies at the feed store along with a batch of “white chicks” and kept them with the chickens for three weeks. Transporting them to the pond in a dog crate, we put them in the shade by the pond with their feeder outside. Most of the day they cowered together in the crate, finally exiting, eating a little, then cowering together on the shore. It was late the next day before they tried the water and were slow to separate from the cluster duck (one six headed duck). After three days they were all over the pond and environs busily eating aquatic and land grasses. They still do everything together, but don’t feel the need to touch each other so much. We put up two electric poultry fences around the pond and grounds without the charger. The four farm dogs, having become accustomed to chickens, are not much interested in the ducks, but do keep the predators engaged. We hope that will be enough security until we get a proper fence built around the entire expanded “waterfowl and aquatic species complex”. Stay tuned.
By Philip "Felipe" Hancock