With winter in full swing, our runner ducks are happy in the gurgling stream which runs directly through their enclosure and makes me the the laziest (and happiest) of water fowl owners.
My minor obsession with goats has gone full boer (that's a goat joke) and I may or may not be researching electric fencing and secretly hoarding building materials.
The chickens are pecking their way through a variety of the 55+ pumpkins that exploded from the garden over the summer.
So, all's well on the farmette.
Spoiled, Rotten Ducks
My property is only two acres in size, but it has a very unique topography.
It is slightly sloped and has several tiny springs that flow freely in the fall and winter, but dry up in the summer.
This spot, Dirt Lovers, is where I built a home for quite possibly, the world's most spoiled rotten Runner Ducks.
During the summer, the ladies float in an antique pedestal tub (below right) that drains into the pond on the left. They are fully enclosed most of the time, but when I'm gardening the little buggers are allowed to roam freely in the yard to collect slugs and search for watering holes.
They wont run away because they know where they live and where their own watering hole is. If a predator were to chase them, they would scatter. They are very fast, but not faster than a bobcat.
My advice to future Runner Duck owners is to have natural water on your property. This animal is not for the average back yard farm due to the vast amount of water they need and how much water it takes to keep their space clean.
Ducks grab dirt and shake their bills out in the water to capture delicious bugs and greens. The dirt ends up in their water, along with their poop. Dirty animals.
More duck care tips:
So, why have ducks? They're funny!! They quack at us when they're running low on food. They quack at me, and make direct eye contact when their favorite spot is dirty. They're very bossy.
They lay delicious eggs.
And no, I don't eat my ducks.
A Case for Pygmy Goats
Being a blindly optimistic, yet practical person, I've done the goat math to determine that yes, ownership could be possible... barring the fact that farm animals are super not okay in my neighborhood (incessantly barking dogs are welcome, however).
Goat math went a lot like this. If 60 goats can eat through 10 acres in one month, than 10 goats can eat through 1 acre in a year. So, I could, technically get 10. I want 3-4... or maybe three and a Babydoll sheep, or maybe a Juliana Pig.
I did some research and found that the President of the National Pygmy Goat Association is right in my backyard! (Ok, one county over, but close enough.) I went to see her.
I found her house, off a country road. I didn't see any goats. I didn't hear any goats. Was I even in the right place?
She greeted me and we talked. She thinks sheep are dumb. She had dogs, but no chickens or farmy animals. Where were the goats?
The stranger I met on the internet led me to a large barn and slowly slid the door open. Then, I saw heaven.
I tried to play it cool, but I probably failed. I scratched their heads and chins and said hello for as long as I could.
That was almost a year ago and still I don't have goats because I don't have:
So, while I certainly have the space, lots of delicious Himalayan blackberries, supportive neighbors (seriously, I asked them), goats just aren't meant to be... yet.
Chickens. Because, why not?