I woke up way too early this morning after way too little sleep to thoughts of what to do with the ducks, the pros and cons:
Give them away. Not ready to give up yet, especially when they are so close to laying eggs…it’s what I’ve been waiting for.
Clip their wings. Absolutely necessary.
Create a pen for them. If I do this will they stay in it??? With less ground to forage on will they have enough food? Will the bugs take over my garden?
Fence off all the garden spots. Not practical. Like the fence on the north side, they’d just get in there and I’d have to fish them out. Also, I want to be able to move freely in the yard. Fencing it off would interfere with Path.
I went back and forth, a lot.
Oddly enough, the biggest deciding factor for me as far as keeping them is that because of the ducks I am much stronger. All that hauling water has made my arms stronger, much stronger than they were. My legs are stronger and leaner, too. When I was working upstairs, I did all the hauling of things by myself. I even reinserted the (small) air conditioning unit into the window by myself. When we took it out for winter, H had to do it, as it was way too heavy for me at the time.
Because of the ducks – and the garden – I spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours every morning walking, watering, weeding, feeding, etc… This is a big part of what I’m not willing to give up. To go back to being so sedentary is not an option.
So, this morning at 7:30 a.m., I headed out and began work. The wing clipping – which I had really dreaded – was quick and easy. I found this nifty diagram:
I left them their two pointer feathers. We’ll see if they can still fly or not.
Putting up the fence wasn’t too bad, but after two hours of it my body was really hurting, I was drenched head to toe in sweat with the sun bearing down on me. I wasn’t crying by the time I was done, but I sure felt like it. The result:
It doesn’t look like it, but that’s 50 feet of fencing! This yard is much bigger than I thought. When I finally came back in I kept running to the window to see if they had gotten out. So far, so good. They have been looking for a way out, but don’t seem able to find one.
I got confirmation on a duck forum that the ducks will destroy everything in your garden and the only option is a pen. I wasn’t sure what all they would go after, but this week I was struck with how quickly they could wipe something out. The garden is very important to me and has required a lot of work. Things are just now really starting to flourish, so I want to keep that going. I have loads of tomatoes on…I can’t wait!
I just love the contrast of these two zinnias…
I’m amazed at how happy the zinnias make me each year. I really am in love with them. I think these look healthier than last year’s, too. Not sure why…oh, yeah, it’s probably the duck water!
After my exertions, I hopped in the pool. The ducks were complaining about their new confines pretty much the whole time. I would love for them to have continued free range, but needs must, as they say.
When H bought the fencing yesterday he spoke with a guy working there who actually suggested 7-foot high deer fencing to keep the ducks out, along with netting over the top. I’m hoping that’s just a salesman’s overkill and that the 3-foot high fence plus wing clipping will contain them.
The salesman said that’s the thing about trying to do things the “old timey” way. Back in the day people used to have a lot of space for their critters to roam so as not to interfere with growing gardens. And any chickens, ducks or what have you that stubbornly refused to behave themselves ended up on the dinner table. That’s not really an option here, but I was close to considering it at times…just kidding.
I had a bit of unwanted entertainment while I was in the pool…
That’s Noodle. I got to watch her drape herself over the edge, on her belly, so she could reach the water. She walked all around the edge and stayed there for a long time. It was quite the balancing act. Later, she was under foot again and finally wrapped herself around my leg until I realized all the shenanigans were simply a plea for fish. Which she got.
The first sunflower…
And this ended up in our yard somehow…