Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ping Joins the Big Ducks

The little duck that was purchased by someone who wasn't allowed to own poultry in their neighborhood has been living in solitary confinement in the brooder house where he quacks pathetically every time we go in to feed him.  I finally decided that he was big enough to try again to integrate him into the barnyard.  Tuesday I put him in there, but the other ducks attacked him.  So I shut him up alone in the chicken tractor/duck mobile where everyone could get to know each other through the chicken wire.

On Wednesday I saw Ping (as I very creatively named him!) touching bills with a female through the chicken wire, and he seemed very eager to get out, so I let him out.
Instantly the males converged on poor Ping, and they didn't seem to be saying "Welcome."
One pulled Ping's feathers.
They completely encircled him . . .
. . . and sort of nibbled all over him.  While it didn't seem tender, it didn't seem overly aggressive either, and I decided to let Ping figure things out on his own, if possible.
He did--by taking refuge in the pool!  For some reason, while the ducks gathered around him, they also left him alone.
Then one of the females chased him out.

Ping jumped out of the pool and ran away . . .
. . . but the ducks followed him again.
He went farther away, and this time the females followed him.
One of them ran after him and pulled out a beak-ful of his feathers.
Finally things settled down a bit.  Another circle of ducks gathered around Ping.
Several of them started nibbling at him, and he just stood very still and let them.
Then one (the one in the middle) pulled too hard on his feathers.  Ping gave a loud quacking squawk and ran away.  It seemed as if he and the big ducks had reached an understanding:  You can nibble on me and I'll stand still, but if you hurt me, I'll run away.  Detente!  At that point, pretty sure that the big ducks weren't going to eat Ping for dinner and that he could get away when he wanted to, I left them to it and headed into the house.

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