My good intentions this week to update progress on the barn renovations fell fowl. Pun intended. A couple of weeks ago our electrician invited us to his home for drinks. An ice breaker so to speak. Accepted. Lots of fun and resulted in an invitation to join his wife’s sewing circle in a small village just south. Sat nav stated 34 kms, but by my navigation as the crow flies bumping through the farmers lanes…just 9 kms – that’s doable once a week.I head off at midday and stop by a pretty lake to grab a sandwich. Then its a short ride into Reterre village. For the next few hours we work on individual projects and get help with seams, zips and patterns. I am making cusions for my Citroen 2CV (sorry I havent introduced you yet to Amelie) and wanted something retro. I am going through a mid life 1950’s crisis. But what about the duck?Chatting about our various minageries of animals I learn that Amanda has a Pekin duck called Heff, ( yes that is after the Playboy guy. My friend said I had spelt the breed wrong..Peking not Pekin. No its Pekin. If he was cooked in a chinese resturant he would be the former. In Heffs case he was to be a pet and not intended to be crispy!) But Heff has a problem. After loosing his two female friends recently and saving himself by hiding, (not a brave boy, but I would say smart) he was introduced to two new girls..but typical of a male Pekin, got over excited, and overly amorous. The girls couldn’t cope and poor Huff was moved out into a separate pen. Time to be rehomed.I will have him. With twelve chickens, a cockerel and three geese, what’s a duck extra? Deal done. Heff arrives on Sunday and we frantically put up temporary fencing, buy a small pond and build a duck house.After a lot of running around in the grass flapping, Heff seemed to have settled in straight away. But where’s the water in the pond?Announcing his impatience with a lot of loud quacking, said pond took over ten minutes to fill, so in the end he got in and slowly rose to the top. We then had a leak and Heff went down again! Mmm not a good start.Ah a small hole. This was fixed and we try again. This time, happy duck.Not wanting Heff to be lonely, our next plan was to find him some girls. I mean he can’t be that rough with them? I am willing to try and maybe it’s just a springtime thing.Next stop the local poultry market. We would find six Pekin girls for Huff and slowly introduce them. Any rough hanky panky and meetings would be chaparoned.So Heff settled in. We felt sad leaving him alone in his pen, but happy to give him a home. Our resident naked neck cockerel wasn’t too sure about him and did his little sideways marching dance just to show he was boss.A happy little duck, Heff spent the rest of the week bobbing around in his pond, oiling his feathers by preening, snoozing, drilling his beak in the grass to make mud patches and snorkling..blowing water through his nostrils or nairs, to clear his airways. The pond was pooped in, and after three days had to be cleaned. Ducks are messy, messy, messy. But adorable too.Market day arrived. What should have been simple turned into an unexpected stress.To be continued…..
Pekins are actually a meat duck, quite heavy. Originating from China they were brought to the USA in the 19th century and quickly introduced into Europe. Feet are orange and bills yellow. The males are quite territorial and can be aggressive to females. In Heffs case we shall see how it goes. His previous owner had just two females. It is not enough for a hormone crazed duck in Springtime. He would need a minimum of five girls and maybe some time apart if he gets over excited. It has been known for a few males to drown a female in their fervour to mate. Time to have a plan. Market day looms.