Muscovy ducks. We have too many, considering that we weren’t even planning to have them in the first place. But they seem to find us. Shulman was our first rescue, and Boris and Katya, the white muscovies, were brought in to keep Shulman company. We also kept 2 of Katya’s daughters, Ella and Bella. Then we have the rescue ducklings, Boaz, Nemo and Dory. 8 muscovy ducks. Ok, well, fine.
The problem is that early this spring, Bella decided that she had to hatch a clutch of eggs, too. Normally, we take away the muscovies’ eggs, but… She was so protective of her nest, and I felt really bad robbing it! So I asked around and found someone who wanted a group of muscovy ducks. Great! So I let her hatch the eggs, with the understanding that the resulting ducks would go to the Food Forest as soon as they were old enough.
Six adorable, yellow little ducklings hatched. Lovely! We enjoyed them, Bella got to exercise her mothering abilities (she was a natural) and the ducklings thrived and grew up quickly. When the time came to rehome them though, Food Forest let us know that couldn’t take the ducks, because their pond had dried up. Oh. Darn. Well, then, we had another interested party.
They were a lovely young couple with a baby and a lot of space around their house. They loved animals, kept rescue chickens and were really excited about the ducks. Great! They just had to prepare a good place for them to live, and then they would come and get them, they promised. So we waited. For weeks. We asked them again if they were still interested, which they assured us they were. He sent us pictures of the space he was making for them and asked us questions about building a pond. More time passed. I went on holiday for 3 weeks. When I came back, I looked at the many large adult muscovy ducks we had running around, and realized that our flock had outgrown us.
I contacted the nice couple again. Yes, they still wanted the ducks – but maybe, six was a bit too many. They preferred to have only two. Argh. Biting back annoyance, I agreed to give them one pair. The next day, he came back to me and told me that his wife felt uncomfortable with having a pair – could they have two females? At the end of my patience, I told him no, they couldn’t. There were exactly 3 males and 3 females. If I gave away two of the females, the third one would end up having to fend off the aggressive attentions of three drakes each twice her size. And where would I find someone who would be willing to take single male muscovies?
Sheepily, he told me he would ask his neighbour if he wanted the ducks. Snippily, I told him not to bother, and goodbye.
So, at the age of almost six months, those white muscovies are still here. What did I learn from this experience, I asked myself? Well – that we don’t reserve animals. Not for anyone, no matter how nice they are. They can easily change their minds when the time comes, never mind that you spent months waiting for them. And that we shouldn’t hatch any more muscovies. Ever. Quite depressing! I’m not looking forward to having to wrestle Katya, Ella and Bella daily for their eggs next spring.
But I don’t want to find myself in this position again. The position of having to advertise ducks for adoption and having to assess people for suitability. I found one nice person who has a good-sized, beautiful yard with water and who wants a pair. Check! But I also got messages from people whose space looks like this:
This person got a very swift negative answer, on the grounds that his space looks like a junkyard, practically has free acccess to the road and is overcrowded already. What on earth does he need more ducks for? Also, it is roof-meltingly hot and there is not a drop of water in sight. The guy was offended. He thinks his space is perfectly fine and anyway, they’re only poultry, what more could they ask for?! Ack. Are we dealing with a hoarder here? Possibly, but more likely just a trader. Someone who wants to make money off my free ducks. No, thanks.
Fortunately, there are also many decent people around who take good care of their animals. You just have to find them. So the search continues.