Monday, December 8

Does Woy Woy really need ten more ducks?

The scene: Woy Woy, not too long after dawn. Cars fly along North Burge Road and Brick Wharf Road, near the waterfront. The commuters know there's no time to be lost – for every few minutes' delay, they'll have to park all that much further from the railway station.

Then suddenly, everything freezes. Brake lights go on and off as drivers try to creep forward, but there's little point. Ducks are wandering along the road, many with a string of ducklings scurrying to keep up.

If you blow your horn, the ducks just stop and look at you.

Woy Woy has no shortage of ducks. Even a busy local magazine and web publishing company calls itself Ducks Crossing.

So how does your grumpy old blogger explain the ten little ducklings running round and round the mulberry tree, thwarting his best efforts to take a reasonable photo. Well, we'd had this Khaki Campbell drake for a while to keep the snails down and Merry thought he looked lonely.

Off to a poultry auction somewhere in the backblocks of Wyee, and we came home with the bird you see above – it's a Muscovy, albeit with a lot of black feathers with a greenish sheen.

After a while, she was sitting on eggs in a nest tucked behind a sheet of corrugated iron. For five weeks she sat, until the other day she emerged with ten little ducklings.

She a great little mother, wonderfully protective, is our Momma Duck. But alas, she can never be Nanna Duck from this brood.

She may look like a duck and act like a duck – indeed, she may think she's a duck – but she's really a goose. So our little ducklings are "mules", unable to have progency themselves, as this NSW Dept of Primary Industry advice makes clear.

Still, they beat painted concrete gnomes as a garden ornament. Just separate them from newly planted seedlings.

But ten of them! They'd look delightful on a hobby farm dam. Any offers?


  1. Anonymous11:41 am

    Argh that advice on muscovies has some real howlers. They are NOT related to geese. Closest relative may be the wood duck of North America. Also, they came to Europe on Columbus' first return voyage. Read R. A. Donkin's book.

  2. Real howlers? Not "related to geese"? Mr (or is it Ms?) Anonymous does not say whether he/she bothered to click on the link provided in my post, but I expect he/she was too eager to jeer. Perhaps he/she would also jeer at the authors of this: "Technically, the Muscovy is a member of the goose family". Hit the link given in the main post, and those words will pop up on your screen as it opens in the NSW Dept of Primary Industries website.
    I'm not sure what other "howlers" Mr/Ms Anonymous perceives, since he/she doesn't list them. The Primary Industries advice does support my statement that the progency of a Khaki Campbell and a Muscovy will be not be fertile and are known as "mules".
    I did try to follow the instruction "Read R.A. Donkin's book." Not exactly helpful advice. From, I found the book must be "Muscovy Ducks Origin Dispersal", published 1988. It appears to be almost impossible to obtain. Amazon can't supply, and there's not one listing from the many thousands of booksellers aroud the world who list on Advanced Book Exchange.