I thought it was about time that I introduced the other team members of LNP, besides Tweed and I. The ones with the feathers.
I have kept ducks since August 2014. I had wanted to keep them for years growing up, and as a reward for doing well at my GCSE’s my parents treated me to a duck house and large pen, so that I could bring 3 ducklings home; Dora, Daisy & Dizzy – 3 Campbell Ducks who were khaki, white and apricot.
From spending hours using a hairdryer to dry out the large cardboard box the ducklings were living in for the first few weeks of their life as they splashed their drinking water EVERYWHERE, to a disastrous first swimming lesson where there was more flapping than swimming – I had become besotted with them and knew that I would always have ducks in my life from that moment forward.
And so… almost 9 years on, I now keep 7 ducks… Dizzy, Evie, Dilly, Dally, Darcey, Dorothy & Delilah (5 Campbells, 1 Cayuga and 1 Runner).
Let’s introduce the flock…
From my first ever mini flock (we sadly lost Dora & Daisy), Dizzy will be 9 this year! She is an Apricot Campbell and earned her name by going round and round in circles when she came to live with us – taking in all the new sights and sounds. She was our most reliable egg layer, laying almost all year around – although she has slowed down in her old age and is enjoying her retirement. She is the loudest of the flock, and can hear me from 1/2 an acre away and will start quacking.
Evie will be 7 later this year, a Campbell she was originally all black in colour, however as they get older darker coloured Campbell’s start to lose the pigment in their feathers with each moult, meaning eventually she could be all white. Evie hates water, and instead opts for what I call ‘land baths’; she runs around the pen dipping and diving (as if she was in the water), before flapping her wings and beginning to preen – funny little thing. Very very occasionally she may jump in the water, but blink and you’ll miss it!
Dilly & Dally are the newest editions to the flock, and came to join us last spring. Dilly is a an American Fawn & White Indian Runner. Campbells are excellent layers however can often struggle with becoming egg bound as a result. Therefore I wanted to start introducing other breeds into my flock, to see and understand breed differences. I love Dilly’s colouring, and she is a firm favourite with my friends.
Dally is a Cayuga – a native heavy breed. Her plumage is beautiful; black feathers that when the light hits them show as a rich shade of green. White feathers have started to appear on Dally, this is very common in black ducks and is known as feather bleaching. It occurs because with each moult they lose pigment – resulting in white feathers rather than black (the same as Evie). Dally hates bedtime and is always the last into the duck house at night.
Darcey takes everything in her stride (I mean waddle) and sprinkles a bit of sparkle on top. I believe she is a Dark Campbell, however we were unsure when we collected her from the breeder if she may have Blue Swedish or Black Swedish in her too. If you hold out a handful of peas she will always be the first to dive in, although she is not too keen on being picked up or stroked. The only way to keep her still as a duckling was to pop her into a shoe…
Dorothy is a Khaki Campbell. As a duckling, if there was chaos in the pen you could pretty much guarantee that it was Dorothy who started it. Food tipped over… it was Dorothy. Pen flooded with drinking water… it was Dorothy. She is such a happy and confident duck, and as a duckling during the pandemic featured in many of my family’s work zoom calls.
Last, but by no means least, we have Delilah a white Campbell. She is 3 years old and loves people. She is great in new situations and was invited into our old house quite a lot. I have quite a soft spot for White Campbells, so although I don’t have favourites… she is quite high up there. She is such a sweet little thing.