Last spring my husband and I came to a compromise – he could build a pond if I could get ducks. So, we got five little Pekin ducklings with a couple of turkeys and raised them together. They were all cute and fuzzy and loud- and they were all white. The pond took 3 days to build, but has yet to see any ducks.
baby ducklings and turkeys about a week old
Unfortunately, at about 8 weeks old, we had a farm tragedy. I came home to all of the ducks laying in the pasture dead – except one. He was still as if he was dead but when I approached him, he jumped up, staggered along as if he was drunk and recovered. The rest of the ducks weren’t bloody or missing feathers and there was no indication of a predator attack, but they were neatly laying together as if they got scared and huddled together and died of fear… that is my theory anyways. To this day I’ve ruled out everything including poisoning and dehydration and think they were probably approached by some kind of predator but it was scared off by the other animals.
So fast forward, and the remaining male duck turned towards the turkeys – after all, they were also white and they all grew up together. Birds of a feather flock together – isn’t that the saying? For the next 6 months or so, the duck lived with them, acted like them and refuses to swim in the pond. Every night I would carry him from the turkey barn to the other barn and “put him to bed”. Well… then Thanksgiving came, and the turkeys disappeared, which left him pretty damn confused, but he got over it quickly and started hanging out with the chickens.
We planned to get more ducks and turkeys in the spring, but an opportunity arose via the internet within a couple of days. A female call duck needed a home. She was at PAWS and was picked up on the side of a road on a day that was 20 degrees, not moving with a leg band cutting off her circulation. We jumped on it and adopted her right away! She is adorable and tiny like a bantam mallard with a little stubby beak – and her “calls” sound like some kind of twisted laugh you’d hear on a cartoon. The funniest thing about her is she has a Napoleon complex and quite a personality. She actually chased Mr. Duck the first time they met and he ran away quacking… get this crazy little bird away from me!
Time will tell if the ducks will be friends and hopefully swim in the pond someday! Birds have interesting social lives and in our poultry house the rooster is afraid of the duck, the big duck is afraid of the little duck and the hens are all over the place, some laid back and watch the drama unfold while others want to get in on what ever action is going on. So far so good, it has been one day since she has moved in with the other birds and everyone seems to be getting along.
We're not sure if she knows how to forage - if not, the chickens will be sure to teach her!