Inmate housing options narrow Opiate addiction strains Municipal Court Lillian E Cowdrey Catherine A Houk Warriors win Jim Neu XC Invite Week 2 football roundup Broncos unbeaten at 4-0 Lady Broncos compete in Bob Schul XC Invite Ronnie L Day Nettie F Lightner Wallace sentenced to life in prison Court filing links Anderson and Sawyers Man killed in Fatal Crash on US 52 Henry E Fields Anleah W Stamper Maxine M Garrett U.S. 68 reopens Drought ends for Lady Rockets G-Men rise to 3-1 with back-to-back victories Rockets cruise to 4-0 win over Jays Lady Broncos start off SBAAC American Division play with 3-2 win over Goshen Week one football roundup Fair board president Orville Whalen passes away Wallace guilty, faces life in prison Zoning ordinance approved for Village of Sardinia Felicity man killed in boat crash Evelyn E Smith Peggy A Wiederhold Thomas P Neary Warriors kick off SHAC play Lady Broncos stand at 2-1 Late Devil goals lead to Lady Warrior loss David R Carrington Sr Crum arraigned on murder charge Sawyers faces new charge Aberdeen’s fiscal officer resigns 12th Annual Golf Tournament by Veterans Home Aug. 26 Betty G Schatzman Robert L McAfee Paul V Tolle Herbert D Smith Helen R Little Eugene M Press Lady Broncos out to defend league title SHAC holds volleyball preview Lady Warriors packed with experience, talent for 2017 fall soccer campaign Georgetown’s Sininger off to excellent start for 2017 golf season New response team for overdoses Drugged driving becoming a bigger problem Danny F Dickson Eva J Smith Michael R Stewart Sr Charles McRoberts III Marsha B Thigpen Michael L Chinn William A Coyne Jr Woman found dead in Ripley A girl’s life on the gridiron Rockets face G-Men in preseason scrimmage 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk draws a crowd William C Latham Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5

Herding ducks – the real story

I thought it best to keep the ducks secure in their enclosure, for a while. I wanted them to understand that this was their new home before I let them out to free range, but after three days I noticed that they seemed quite relaxed. I would sit by their gazebo and toss in scratch grains and they would happily waddle out of their house and scoop up the grains in their wide duck bills. So I decided that yes, it was time to open their front gate and let them out to explore our creek valley world.

Well, no sooner did I open the gate than they made a fast duck waddle past the goat yard, down to the end of the bee hives, across the orchard, and straight for the far end of the upper field. They did not pause once, the two slightly smaller ducks following in a straight line behind the larger, crested headed duck. It looked to me as though they thought that they were making their get-away to return over three miles up the road, through creek coyote country, to the neighbors who had given them to us.

Thankfully I had thought to put the dogs in their pens before I let them out, so when I headed out across the orchard in hot duck pursuit, the dogs did not chase them farther away. I circled down to the lower end of the field to head the escapees off, and marched straight towards them, arms out stretched, cooing “Good duck, duck. Good duck, duck. Let’s head back home now. Let’s head back home.”

The lead duck saw me and came to an abrupt halt. He waggled his tail in what I have learned is perfect duck fashion, made a quick about face, and headed back up through the orchard, past the bee hives and the goat yard, to the gazebo enclosure. His two slightly smaller companions followed dutifully in a line behind him. As I herded them, still gently cooing for them to return home, it occurred to me that the phrase “Keep your ducks in a row” made perfect sense. Here I was, guiding my little line of ducks back home.

I sighed as I closed the gate safely behind them and tossed some scratch grains inside. I sat down on the ground beside them as they ate, still cooing that they were good ducks to have returned home.

So I waited a few more days before I let them out again. This time I stayed close by their side and we made a purposeful single file march around the upper field. They were amazingly easy to steer. I simply veered slightly to the left and they would head to the right. When I veered to the right, they would head left, and at the end of our walk, of course I rewarded them with scratch grain as I sat on the ground beside them. I smiled as I realized that I had kept my ducks in a perfect row!

We made a few such excursions over the next several days. I noticed that they were no longer heading off in such haste, and were beginning to pause and nibble at the ground here and there. The slightly bigger, crested headed duck was always in the lead.

And then today I opened their gate and simply stood back. Rather than dash out they seemed to leisurely step out into our creek valley world. They circled the windmill tower and paused by the pigeons, nibbling at what goodies the pigeons had thrown from their coop. They even went right up to the wire, as if to say “look at us out here,” and then they headed up, still in single file, to rabbit row.

Ahh, there were good things to explore and eat under rabbit row, and they stayed there for quite a while, but when a rabbit jumped inside her cage, they dashed back out into the field, the crested headed duck once again leading the way.

My ducks had done well. I cooed that it was time to return home and gently corralled them back into their duck enclosure and scattered their scratch grains. We shall get the hang of this, my ducks and I. Someday I imagine that they will free range all day and have a solar powered door to close them safely inside at dusk, but for now I am enjoying my duck walks. I wouldn’t say that it is anything like a cake walk, but it is still quite enjoyable indeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 News Democrat