Keeping ducks on dry land

Grazing ducks

Ducks love water so much
that their humans may feel inclined to leave them around a pond far
longer than the pasture can bear, as I’ve discovered to my dismay. 
Last week, I moved our waterfowl flock away from their sky pond
at long last, figuring a simple bucket of water for head-dunking will
keep the birds happier than a vastly overgrazed bit of grassy lawn
around a body of water that’s turning smelly.  Yes, my rule on the
farm is — if you can smell manure, you’re doing something wrong.

Ducks in a forest pasture

Even though they missed
being able to swim, I could tell the ducks were glad to move on. 
The area around their pond was mowed lawn, and it turns out that ducks
are even less keen than chickens are on that kind of low grass. 
Giving the waterfowl a pasture in the forest garden, full of high weeds
and deep mulch, got them grazing rather than lying around and dreaming
of greener pastures.  Hopefully they’ll also fertilize and
partially weed the beds where we cut rye cover crops in preparation for
some fall broccoli.

Foraging ducks

I’m looking forward to
merging the ducks into our pullet flock once we retire the extra
roosters this week.  Then I’ll let you know how waterfowl do in a rotational pasture situation,
which is how I hope to eventually keep them.  In the meantime,
I’ll keep moving their temporary paddock around the yard, making sure
the ducks have plenty of waterfowl-friendly habitat to keep them
happy.  And hopefully they won’t pout too much at being dragged
away from their pond.

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