Saturday, July 11, 2015

fun playing duck herder

the ducks have pretty much outgrown the brooder and i've been working on getting them used to being outdoors.  i've also been working on getting them used to being walked/herded out to the gardens to work.  runners were developed by breeding ducks selected for an ability to move easily and quickly over fairly long distances on land.  their legs are actually a bit farther back on the body than other ducks which allows for the upright posture and decreases the amount of waddle in their gait.  rice farmers in southeast asia have used them for centuries to eat pests and manure the rice paddies.  each morning the ducks would be walked from the villages to the fields where they would spend the day foraging and then be walked back in the evening.  in addition to moving well on land runners also tend to stick together, like sheep do, when being moved which makes getting everyone where you want them pretty easy.
this morning i walked the ducks out to the orchard garden with me so they could manure and clean the bugs out of some beds i'm preparing for fall planting.  

they're getting more comfortable with being moved around but are still a bit hesitant about going through doorways and gates.  they did pretty well with the greenhouse doors today.  sometimes i walk behind them and steer them a little and sometimes i can get them to just follow me.

here's a short video of them following me from the orchard garden on our way back to the kitchen garden: