A few years ago my husband and I decided we would get some ducks to raise for meat. We like duck, and we're not averse to eating things we have raised. Honestly, I think that there is no better way to understand animal rights and the importance of responsible husbandry than to be involved in raising your own meat animals. I have a great respect and love for animals. My respect and love for them is only deepened in knowing that they make the ultimate sacrifice for us. Because they make this sacrifice, I am committed to making their lives as happy as possible. But, I digress....
We bought a breed of duck called "Blue Swedish". It's a duck bred for meat and egg production. A wholly domestic dusk. They can't fly at all. Actually, most domestic ducks and chickens can't fly. Partly because they are bred to have a lot of meat and partly for practical reasons. It's kind of hard to keep an animal around if it can up and fly away anytime.
Our Blue Swedish ducks were great! They were fun to have around, they were very tasty and, all in all, it was a great experience. So, last year I decided to get more ducks. We had a farm, we had a coop, our chickens were doing great..... I felt we were ready to get some more ducks. So, I started cruising Craigslist.
I bought three. I thought I'd made the deal of a lifetime! Still thinking I was pretty savvy, I asked the seller if the ducks could fly. She said they could fly about as well as a chicken. No problem! My chickens are good fliers, as far as chickens go, but they can only get a few feet off the ground and can't fly very far. I've certainly never had a problem with them flying away. I brought my new ducks home and put them in the coop.
That evening, I headed out to check on my ducks. I opened the coop door, and the ducks darted out. I started to herd them back in. They took off in flight. Remember how the seller said they could fly as well as a chicken? Ha! They took off in a flight that would make an eagle proud. As I watched them fly away over the roof of my two story house, I heard my husband call out "Hey, were those your ducks?". Yes, those were my ducks.
But, ducks like to have duck friends. I wanted her to stick around. Since she can fly, I didn't want her to fly away looking for a man come spring. I needed more ducks.
|Lonely Lucky Duck|
OK, maybe he does look a bit like a dinosaur. Male Muscovy ducks have fleshy growths on their faces, sort of like a tom turkey's waddle. But look at his lovely plumage. It doesn't show up as well on camera, but in the sun, all those black feathers turn green and purple!
My new little female is adorable, too. She seems to be a perfect little lady. A definite contrast to my brazen Lucky duck.
|Lucky showing her new friend the feed room|
She's still a little shy, but I think she'll warm up in time.