One of my very first pets was a little white duckling that I named Skipper. Looking back at it now I’m not really sure what my parents were thinking when they gave me a duck. It is certainly not the typical pet and comes with a very different set of difficulties than a puppy or kitten. When I was little hardware/farm stores still carried ducklings and chicks in the spring and I guess my parents were swayed by the adorableness of the miniature fowl. [smile]
Skipper only lived with us for a season. When he grew too old to enjoy swimming in the paddling pool in our backyard, we took him to a local duck pond where I hope he lived a long and happy life. I have such fond memories of that little duck waddling around behind me and am reminded of them every time I see other waterfowl.
This week at Lake Junaluska we have been dodging the ducks and geese right and left. Well not so much dodging them, but dodging their droppings. [smile] They have all set in for their summer vacation at the lake. I observed them basking in the sun, fluffing their feathers, floating around the lake, and diving in for a good dip in the hot afternoon. Their presence and the memory of my duck Skipper reminded me of an article I read online a while back. It was a defense for choosing ducks over chickens as backyard egg laying fowl. Tina Elliot for Mother Earth News writes:
Yes, ducks are messier, they require water in which to swim and clear their beaks and that water becomes filthy and needs to be changed frequently, and even the best egg laying breeds don’t lay as often as their chicken counterparts. In my opinion, however, those things are far outweighed by the disposition and personality of ducks as compared to chickens. Duck eggs are better for baking, too, and many people who cannot tolerate chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. And there is nothing in this world that is more adorable than a duckling.
She concludes that “happy go lucky ducks” are the way to go. [smile] She’s convinced me of the same!
Now that we are going to have a back yard Caleb and I have been dreaming about the gardening we can do and seeing the ducks at Lake J makes me think that we should also consider raising a few ducks too. I can just imagine walking around the backyard with a gaggle of ducks following me around. We are a long way from figuring out all the logistics but maybe one day I’ll have another pet duck or two. In honor of Skipper, I’m think we should name them Maryann, Ginger, and Gilligan. [smile]