I’ve always loved ducks ever since, as a small child, I was taken to Greenwich Park to feed them. Raising chicken is OK but they are liable to catch many more diseases than ducks and are not so much fun to watch. I was ecstatic then when, in 2008, I bought my first ducklings from an agraria: Quack and Quock. What a wonder to see them grow (so fast!). They were Muscovy ducks, which some naturalists say are not proper ducks at all since they have talons on their webbed feet. Direct descendants from the dinosaurs, this species originated in the rivers of Guatemala’s rain forests where they are still to be observed in their wild state.
Regrettably, my first two ducks fell victims to Mr. Fox but not before they had sired around twenty ducklings. Flip and Flop (so called because they make a flip-flop sound when they manage to get into the living room in search of the cats’ biscuits – they are otherwise not at all noisy like other duck species but make soft, endearing whistling whispers) are my two current ducks and their eggs (with more yolk and less white than hen eggs) provide excellent breakfasts.
Their meat is also first-rate – almost like veal – but to eat my ducks would virtually amount to cannibalism for me. Within their small heads there is a considerable intelligence and much affection. Unlike some of my previous examples Flip and Flop are not at all aggressive, and will not start pecking and biting at your feet or chasing you around the garden as some of the previous ones did. They have a residence (to which they punctually retire at sundown) complete with swimming pool and also keep they lawn in trim through their grazing. The cats and the rabbits get along with them fine and the whole menagerie admirably accommodate each other’s different life-styles.
Here are some photos of Flip and Flop during last month’s snow. They don’t seem perturbed at all and enjoy the icy dip!