The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Indian Runner ducks have gone

Freddie, Tipex and Eric BossFreddie, Tipex and Eric Boss had a final breakfast of French beans, emptied the fresh water fountain and moved to their new and permanent home on Sunday morning.

S and Rollo arrived with a sturdy wooden crate in the boot of the Golf.
“We’ll catch one each,” S explained as he set up the crate for our return.
Secretly, I was a bit concerned. I’d never picked up the ducks or even touched them. They’d pecked gently at my green gardening gloved fingers hoping that they were edible.

S is an expert domestic fowl catcher so I decided to watch his strategy. But he moved so fast that I missed his technique in the whirl of wings and quacks.

To my relief, Rollo passed me the first duck to hold. It was Tipex, the duck that turned out to be a drake. He felt relaxed, solid and warm in my arms. I had one hand under his body and the other supporting his neck. The Chicken Lady told me months ago that fowl like to be held close, it makes them feel safe. Tipex didn’t struggle using this method nor did Cloud on the dreadful day that she escaped and flew into the garden next door.

Freddie and Eric were caught quickly and all three of us walked serenely through the kitchen as the Min Pins bayed for blood, confined in the room beyond. Great Aunt Daisy Beatyl slept throughout the entire episode.

The garden and hen run were eerily quiet for the rest of the day. And introduction or removal always disturbs the status quo. But when I started to rake the run and clean the Emerald Castle the guineas joined me to scratch in the freshly turned gravel.

Last night The Chicken Lady emailed with news of the ducks. They had settled in well, been accepted by the other ducks and taken the evening air in the paddock. They have moved to a beautiful spot where they will be able to range free without the horror and torment of being bullied by Thunder (Guinea fowl Alpha male with massive red wattles and large helmet). TCL and S plan to find wives for Tipex and Freddie as the flock is a bit drake heavy. Meanwhile Eric(a) already has several suitors.

This morning there were no quacks when I opened the back door. Ducks are hugely interactive, although filling the water fountains was accomplished in seconds, I missed them.

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  1. Nick Mann

    Thought you might be amused by my latest Blog on our Runners… how we haven’t lost them yet goodness only knows – lovely but neurotic, and they make the sheep look brainy! We persevere…

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Ella

    My foray with Indian Runner Ducks was brief so I’m no expert.

    IRD start laying at around six months. I do know that the quacks are much louder from the female ducks and they start quacking much earlier.

    Might be worth a visit to a good poultry forum.

  3. Hi all, we have 6 assorted Runner Ducks, now about 12 weeks old. this is our first brood which arrived at 3 weeks old. When will they start to lay? and how do we know if we have a drake in the house or even 2?? Is ‘head bobbing a drake thing? one of the dark chocolate ones is sort of bowing to one of the ones who bobs it’s head and making a really sweet noise.
    We have 2 choclate coloured ones , a trout colour, 2 sort of silvery and one that we think is fawn.
    They live in a big paddock with the chickens and are really such great characters.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Leah

    Good to hearthat you have got chickens – they are a joy.

    Our run is thirty feet by six feet. It is enclosed with netting over the roof so the birds can fly with the run.

    At the moment we have a guinea fowl couple, a Maran (big hen) and four bantams (very small hens).

    We are thinking of making a new run for the guinea fowl as Thunder is bullying the chickens. He is very sweet withhis wife, though. They maight be happier in a run with more height as they like to fly up to roost.

  5. Hello,

    I love reading about your chickens and other fowl. I’ve just begun with some chickens of my own. After a couple of false starts with bantam mille fleur d’uccles, I now have three bantam English game hens.

    I’m wondering how big your run is, and how many animals share it.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Wendy

    Although the duck were messy and a bit smelly, I hated seeing them go and still miss their gentleness.

    So looking forward to the hatching of the bantam chicks.

    Hi Pamela

    I know exactly what you mean. There’s always a mellow touch of sadness when someone leaves even if you have been willing them to go!.

    Hi Sara

    I loved the flap and slap of their feet in the mud. I had always imagined that duck feet were stiff and flat and was amazed to see that the toes were just like our toes – they can curl and grip!

    They have the perfect new home. They were always detined to return as we were just raising them for The Chicken Lady.

  7. farmingfriends

    Your ducks look lovely. They are such jolly birds. I love hearing the sound of the quack and the patter of their feet. I am sorry to hear that your ducks have left but I’m sure they will enjoy themselves at their new home.
    Kind regards
    Sara from farmingfriends

  8. How sad that they have gone but they will be happy and you can still visit. The departure of any temporary residents always leaves a noticeable hole. Max the dog comes to stay when my Mum goes on holiday and I miss him like crazy when he goes home. Occasionally my entire family come to visit and although initially it makes me feel very edgy having so many people around, when they leave I find the quiet quite overwhelming.

  9. So they are safely settled in their new home – I’ve really enjoyed reading about Mrs. Boss and her varied babies. I’ve always thought that ‘Thunder’ was well named!
    On to a baby bantam family now then – good luck. x

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