At the end of 2009, I acquired six Pekin ducks (three boys and three girls) with the intention of serving crispy five-spice roast duck for Christmas dinner that year. But they were so darn cute that I immediately fell in love with them and couldn’t let a carving knife anywhere near them.
Last spring, they started laying eggs. We’d come home to find a duck egg sitting in the middle of the driveway, or in a flower bed, or under a fruit tree. Then the dog started eating the eggs as fast as they could lay them, so the ducks scarpered to the neighbour’s lifestyle block and parked themselves up on their lawn. We didn’t see them again for three months.
Having started with six ducks, by January, when they returned home, we were down to three. (The boys have abandoned their womenfolk; only the girls remain.) Every day they waddle up through the paddock from the swamp to wait patiently by the chicken run (I chuck them a few handfuls of grain while I’m feeding the chooks). If they’re not there, I only have to yell “quackers” from the house and they come running.
I think Pekin ducks are the most adorable birds. They’re such gossips – all day they yabber away to each other – and they’re best of mates. They’re also kitted out in such lovely white feathers that it seems a shame not to include them in the wedding ceremony somehow.
So, for the past week, I’ve been bird whispering… luring them slowly away from the chicken run to hang out on the lawn, where they can look cute in our photos. And – success! – this morning when I got up, they were already waiting for me under the floral bunting (Mum has sewed several hundred metres of these gorgeous green and white flags for me, bless her) on the deck outside our front door.
I may yet regret my decision to invite the ducks. They are notoriously pongy poopers. Here’s hoping I don’t end up dragging my veil through a ducky deposit or two…