Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Duck Wars

Other people's pets!

The next door neighbors decided to become poultry farmers this year. They have have a dozen chickens, and half a dozen ducks.

They put in a kiddie pool for the ducks. When the ducks got a little older, they started visiting our pond. My husband and I were concerned that they did not know that our pond is treated to keep the algae down, so we went over and talked to them.

The lady said that "we would NEVER eat our ducks, they are our pets!" and "We'd like to keep them at home, but what can we do?" (with a shrug of her shoulders, evidently a fence is too expensive) so I mentioned that they might become a problem if they leave a mess on our beach. She promised to come over and clean up any mess.

Last weekend we observed her husband actually MOWING A PATH to our property. Quite the opposite of "trying to keep them at home". However, there may be some benefits or possibly additional drawbacks. The ducks have started laying eggs. Some of the eggs are laid in our pond. I mean what I say - they are actually laying their eggs IN our pond. (Is this natural duck behavior or what?) If the eggs are any good after sitting in the sun, under water, for several hours, there could be some benefit to this arrangement -- but if the eggs are spoiled due to the high temperatures they are exposed to while we are at work, it is a chore to go out and wade into the pond and pick up the eggs and walk to the neighbors back acreage and throw the eggs into it...

I have never been a poultry-keeper before so it is a confusing situation to me. Whose ducks are they if they stay at our house? Who gets to keep or clean up the eggs and feathers, etc. (and by etc, I mean the droppings) Do I call her every day to come over and clean up the poop? I am disinclined to call in the authorities due to the Biblical injunction not to take your neighbor to court. I am considering the possibility of claiming ownership and butchering out her ducks -- since she's not protecting them from predators like coyotes, hawks, or foxes that are prevalent in our environment, why can't I become a "predator" too. In fact, during our conversation with her, we mentioned the possibility that her ducks could become victims to natural predators and she said "we're not planning to replace them if we lose any of them"... What in the heck does that mean?

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