We had only been on our property for a couple of weeks before a fellow offered us some ducks…
“Oh,” I thought, “how lovely it will be to see them swimming on our dam!”
Ducks, swimming, water… all synonymous don’t you agree? Do ducks swim? We all know the answer to that… don’t we?
Well, I’m not so sure.
He gave us 5 ducks in a cardboard carton. We carried it gently down to the dam, opened the top and tried to take one carefully out. That’s when “all hell broke loose” and suddenly there were ducks coming out everywhere. All we could do was stand back and let it happen.
The all flew low across the water, in fact their feet virtually walked across the dam to the other side. Making a huge fuss, they all disappeared over the back of the dam and as far away from us as they could get.
One of the ducks flew over the fence (only a low farm fence) and spent the next couple of days quacking mournfully until one of the guys finally managed to encourage it back over the fence to the other ducks.
There didn’t appear to be anything we could do that would settle them. They didn’t want to know me and I was getting to the stage I didn’t want to know them!
But I made a decision. I would gain their trust no matter how long it took me. So the long vigil began.
I noticed they’d not go near the water of the dam at all. I’d sprinkle some seed right down to the water’s edge where they’d gobble it up until they were a few inches from the dam and then leave the rest. I couldn’t make sense of it. How to get inside a duck’s head??
Ducks Swimming Pond
Next I thought… if they won’t go near the water, what on earth are they drinking? So I brought down a little dish and filled it with dam water. It didn’t take them long to discover it, in fact, they’d even take turns jumping in for a swim.
I then read that if you feed ducks by throwing the seed into the water, you don’t have trouble with the crows eating it. Hmm… this could be good… I’ll try this.
So from then on I’d throw the seed into the dish and watched as they had a lovely time, heads down under the water and happily eating all they could find. In fact, usually one duck would hop right into the dish (usually Mrs Brown) and it made it hard for the rest of them to feed.
Time to go to Bunnings! From there I brought home a child’s sand pit which I took down and placed beside the dam. It took a bit of effort to fill it as I had to use a bucket to bring over the dam water, but finally it was full to the brim.
The ducks wouldn’t go near it as it was something different I’d placed on the landscape but once I rattled the seed they knew what that meant. I started by spreading a bit of seed around the little pond and then made sure they saw me sprinkling it in the water. Gradually they became game enough to walk up the little dirt ramps I made and next thing I knew all 5 of them were in swimming and feeding.
Some of these accomplishments made me feel like planting a flag. Wow… so far I’d gained their trust sufficiently to come to me for their dinner, and I’d supplied a pond for them to swim in. We are moving ahead!
But each day, I’d have to go and empty that pond and refill it with water… not an easy task. For 5-6 weeks I did this because they still would NOT go near the dam. I was beginning to think there must be something in there they were afraid of. Ugh… what? Scary thought!
Then one day I was saying goodbye to Selwyn (husband) out on our back deck. I just happened to look down towards the dam. Guess what? I could hardly believe my eyes! There they were all swimming on the dam. Eureka!
I rushed on down there to check them out. There they were all looking at me with a cheeky look on their faces… “Look what we can do!”
I answered right back and said “I always knew you could do that… what took you sooooo long?”
From that day to this they love that dam. It’s the place they run or fly to if they feel threatened in any way. They swim and play. Chase one another and have sex. Yep, it all happens… down on the dam.
I’ve since added another 3 ducks as it turned out that out of the original 5, 2 of them were drakes. Not good… 2 drakes and 2 hens (ducks). Oh, and we’ve bred one here so all up there are 9.
They are the most delightful of creatures and not one bit of trouble (now). They are so clean and there’s no smell whatsoever… except a bit where we pen them at night. They roam the entire 3 1/2 acres and never go away. Love them, yes I do. 🙂
So do ducks swim? Yes of-course they do! In fact, I have wondered if my original ducks had ever known more water than a dish. They seemed so at home with the dish that I’m guessing that’s all they had where they come from. Thank heavens I no longer needed the little pond as they have a lovely big dam to enjoy.