We have a small selection of waterfowl (the collective name for the families of birds that include things such as ducks, geese and swans) at the farm, some of whom are very loud and can often be heard across the farm! At the moment we have three different types of duck living together in our duck pond. All three of the domesticated duck breeds we have at the farm are descended from the mallard, looking at them side by side you can see the difference that selective breeding can make.
The smallest, but arguably loudest, residents in our duck pond are the Call Ducks. They are one of the smallest duck breeds and are often mistaken for the ducklings of the larger ducks. They can come in a variety of colours, but at the moment all of ours are white. For such a small duck, they have very loud voices!
The ducks with the long necks and very upright stance are Indian Runner Ducks. You might not be able to tell the difference between them in the water, but when they’re on land you can see where they get their names from. Rather than the typical duck waddle these guys can run around pretty fast! Our drake, Derek, takes his job of protecting his females very seriously.
The last breed of duck we keep is Magpie Ducks. As you might be able to guess, they’re the black and white ones. The Magpie duck is another one of our British rare breeds – they’re a lightweight breed of duck, good at laying eggs as well as for meat production.
As well as our ducks, we have two geese at the farm as well. You can tell them apart from the other ducks by their sheer size.
Our geese are two different breeds. Grace is the Toulouse Goose, she’s mostly grey and tends to be sat around in the sun. Gary is the large white Emden Goose, he’s definitely the boss of the pond. You can often hear him honking and if there’s ever anyone causing a ruckus in the pond and splashing water everywhere, it’s usually him!
Geese are often kept for their meat, but they can also make great guard animals. They’re defensive of their territory and being charged down by an angry flock of hissing geese would be very intimidating!
What to feed ducks?
Did you know that feeding bread to ducks is bad for them? Bread has very little nutritional value to ducks, so often they’ll fill themselves up on it and not have any space for beneficial food and they might not want to eat anything else. It can also swell up in their stomachs and cause issues, and food litter can encourage vermin such as rats and also cause issues with water quality.
Our ducks at the farm already have plenty of food and treats from our staff and volunteers, so they don’t need any extra snacks, but there are plenty of healthy things you can feed to wild ducks! Rather than bread, try taking down things like frozen peas, corn, oats or lettuce, all of which will definitely go down a treat!