The ladies have a gentleman caller. Here’s how it went down.
Remember when I said that I had made a clandestine back-alley swap so that I could break Tractor Supply rules and not risk getting two male ducks? My friend Sharon also bought ducks that same day, but she wasn’t a scoff-law, so she bought two ducklings like she was supposed to. This is what happens when you take your granddaughter to Tractor Supply during chick days: Despite the 11 birds already in your urban yard, you come home with two more.
So last spring as our respective Pekin ducklings were growing, Sharon and I began comparing notes about their development, and Sharon was noticing things I wasn’t. Like that her ducks had bumps forming on their heads. Was I just not observant, I wondered? Or that her ducks seemed to be growing gargantuan: Were hers actually Jumbo Pekins? Then she said her ducks seemed to be getting curls in their tails, a definitely male trait. I’m still relatively new to this duck business and wasn’t sure how she defined “curl.” So I did what anyone would: I asked her to email me a picture of her ducks’ butts. And sure enough, Lulu and Lala’s tails were curli-cued, not just a little swoopy like my Joe’s tail.
If it pleases the court, here is Joe’s tail:
And here is Lulu’s tail (with Dixie’s butt in the background, as she wouldn’t leave Lulu’s side for me to take a picture):
So after comparing duck butts, we determined that I had a female, and she’d brought home two boys. Which, as her fellas grew to adolescents, was going to be no good for her four girls. The two males were already starting to get a bit competitive with each other, and it wouldn’t be long before they got inappropriately arduous with the ladies, vying for their attention and affections.
Now when we’d lost three of our ducks last year, Sharon did me a solid by taking in Diamond. Diamond is now part of Sharon’s herd, living the high life. When Sharon said she’d have to find a home for one of her males, I felt like it was only right that one of them come here. As a result, a of couple of weeks ago, Lulu joined our gang.
Sharon drove Lulu to our house, and she, Sylvia, her granddaughter, and I watched as we let Lulu out. Within no time, the group of six was a group of seven. The girls love Lulu, who we’re now calling Barry. Funny thing is, they seem a little less uppity and jumpy now. It’s like a winged version of The Bachelor — each lady keeping her squawking a bit more in check, at least while the cameras are rolling. Each one is also trying to get some pool time with Barry.
The upside is that our eggs will be fertilized, which means they’ll conceivably last longer. And, if we’re feeling sciency, we can try to hatch some next spring, assuming we have a home at the ready for the ducklings, as we’re completely at duck capacity on the Kitchel homestead.
But stay tuned. I’m sure next week we’ll soon be adding a couple of goats and a cow to our tiny suburban backyard.