>The big duck dilemna…

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My oldest son is obsessed with having ducks.  I think he saw a documentary or something and is fascinated by how the ducklings hatch and imprint on what they see.  I think he is intrigued by the idea of them thinking he is their mother.

The duck thing started last year, before we moved.  He was excited to move to a place that was actually big enough to have ducks.  It also was surrounded by neighbors who had farm animals.

For Christmas he received a book on raising ducks and he has read it many times.  He has spent hours on the Internet researching all the different types of ducks, their personalities and their egg laying abilities.  He wants to sell their eggs at the farmer’s market…

All this sounds great, right?  But ducks are messy.  They poop everywhere.  You have to give them clean water and clean bedding every day.  You have to build them a predator-proof pen.  Everything eats them.  Even hawks will fly down and if not snatch your duck, just grab a piece.  They don’t go to bed at night like chickens so you have to put them to bed…  If they survive all the predators they can live for 20-30 years!  They also can become emotionally attached and dependent upon people.

The last thing I need is a depressed duck because my son has lost interest (or grown up and gone to college)…  I tried to discourage this whole thing (really!).  I took him to meet someone who had grown ducks (really not so cute as ducklings).  We talked about the fact that some will die.  We talked about him having to clean up poop and deal with the stink and the flies.  We talked about having to hire a duck sitter to give them fresh food and water if we want to go away overnight…

He is undaunted.  Daddy says no! – he has too much to do, he can’t handle ducks and needs at least another year to get a pen ready.  We need him to dig a concrete foundation (so nothing can dig under there) and frame it up and cover it with two types of wire (to prevent racoons from sticking their hands in and grabbing them) and cover the top so hawks can’t swoop in and predators cannot climb over.  That stuff is beyond me….Jack is not happy. 

If you want to know where to find ducklings, they have them at Clem’s in Spencer around Easter.  Ducklings cost $5 each and they have different kinds.  If you want to build a duck pen there are plenty of youtube videos.  My favorite site for step by step with materials options is this one:  Build a Duck Pen.  If you want someone to talk you out of ever getting a duck – this is blog to read:  Want a Pet Duck?

And here is some light reading….
Enslaved by DucksStorey's Guide to Raising Ducks, 2nd EditionGiggle, Giggle, QuackKeeping Ducks & Geese

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