This is not a happy story. I like knowing the ending of stories before I get into them, so I will just tell you that our ducks are no more, but it is not because of the incident you can see in the video below. Something around here eats ducks, probably many things eat them, but a while back whatever it was ate all of our landlord's ducks. So we penned ours up at night to keep them safe. We started with 4 ducks back in March. About 4 months ago, one didn't come up to the pen at dusk to be locked in with the other. We didn't find any pieces of him, so when he never came back, we said he went to Mexico. About 2 weeks ago, one of his friends joined him there.
At this point in the story, Gil, our sassy yellow duck, upped his obnoxiousness level. He started running up to Lucy and attacking her EVERYTIME we went outside. He would run from wherever he was on the property and start nipping at her. It didn't really hurt her, she thought he was just playing. But Lucy and Gil playing is not a very safe activity for Gil, even when Lucy is trying to be gentle. Here is a really bad video clip, without sound (which was A LOT of quacking) of what would happen whenever Lucy came outside. I promise that Gil was not harmed in this video, Lucy grabbed him very softly and not even a feather was injured, we examined him carefully. Even after many instances like this, Gil persisted in chasing her everytime she walked out the front door.
Video taken September 5, 2010
So we started taking her out only on a leash and really only to go to the bathroom. But it is really hard to get a 6-month old, 60ish lb Great Dane pup to go to the bathroom when all she wants to do is play with the duck running around under her. It made taking Lucy to the bathroom quite the workout. Andrew and I started playing rock, paper, scissors to see who had to take her. To make matters worse, Lucy liked playing with Gil so much that she start ringing the bells to tell us she had to go to the bathroom, even when she didn't, just to go see Gil. And Gil stood on the stairs of the deck and waited for her.
A week or so of this, in the pouring rain, was really starting to get to Andrew and I. And then our last two ducks disappeared at the same time. They figured out how to get out of the pen we made them, and one day they were just gone. They joined their comrades in Mexico without leaving a trace. We are sad to see them go. Gil was quite fun to pick up and throw and watch him fly across the yard. They were very sociable and made us laugh all the time. We called them the party patrol and enjoyed watching them while we gardened. They kept our slugs down. And they gave us eggs for free. But I am so glad to be able to let Lucy outside again without worrying about her stomping Gil on accident. Someday, we will get ducks again. We know now that they make great pets. But we will do it when we have our own space and the money to build a better pen where they won't be tempted to take extended vacations to Mexico. And where we can keep them separate from Lucy if we end up with a duck as sassy as Gil. Farewell party patrol, I hope that Mexico treats you well.