When Danny’s boss first went to work for their employer some forty-two years ago in purchasing, one of the very first tasks he was assigned, was to procure ducks for the pond on the property. The first batch of ducks he ordered came in by railcar…and all of those babies were DOA. His second batch, I believe, arrived at the post office, and weren’t in much better shape. I’ve forgotten exactly how the duck tale goes from there, but he fought tooth and nail to accomplish his first goal of stocking the pond with ducks.
Forty-two years later he is no longer a young man in purchasing – but is now the General Manager at said employer. And one item high on his list of priorities is that there is always DUCKS ON THE POND. They search high and low for baby ducks; it tickles me the lengths they go to have ducks on their pond, just because they LIKE them – it’s TRADITION.
However, they run a really high attrition rate on ducks. And due to changes in the law they can no longer purchase baby mallards...so the saw-mill gets the responsiblity for HATCHING twenty-five to thirty duck eggs each summer (wouldn't you like to have that job?). Once they eggs hatch they hand raise the babies in a coop and when they are big enough, they are put out on the pond. You would think the hard part would be over, but this is where the problems begin.
Big turtles live in the pond…and baby ducks are a delicacy to them. If the ducks aren’t big enough when they put them out, the turtles devour them. The other main predator for the ducks is the grain trucks that start rolling in at 5:00 P.M. each afternoon. The ducks refuse to move (Hey, look there’s corn in the road!)…and the truck drivers don’t slow down. I guess it’s a matter of duck and truck playing chicken…and the ducks always lose.
Earlier this week we went to “look around” Danny’s employment and got to see their current crop of ducks. Twenty –nine hens and one VERY happy drake.
Sadly by spring most of them will be history and the duck cycle will start all over again!