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Well you know the weather in Michigan is brutal when I am already wishing for spring! There is not much happening in the barn with the horses as we just had 10 inches of snow, and the temps are very low.  I have already started wishing it were time for one of my favorite spring things. My annual trip to  the little farm store in Crump Michigan. Each year I pick out 2 or 3 new baby chicks and add them to my flock. I have a small flock of chickens that give us a few fresh eggs a week. Most of the chickens don’t lay any more as they are getting too old. We never kill our old girls as they are more pets than livestock. I tell people that I run a nursing home for old hens. LOL. A friend and I were talking the other day about a duck that we used to own named Percy. The thought of our little duck made us both laugh and I found myself wondering if maybe I need to get a couple baby ducks this spring. 

 In  order to tell you Percy’s story and how he came to be, I have to first tell you about the feed store where I bought him, and the farmer and his wife that own it. The first time I went to the little store to get my very first chicks I was amused to meet the farmer and his wife. He reminded me very much of my own grandfather who was a dairy farmer in the thumb, only a little less portly. This farmer wore well worn green farmers slacks and a shirt with the sleeves rolled up with a little of lunch left behind on the front. His shoes were well worn and had seen many long days of work. His hair was tousled and looked as if it had not seen a comb that day. He was very helpful but was very gruff. He had a way of speaking and looking at me as if I was a foolish city girl that had no idea of what I was doing, and would have no clue what to do with baby chicks. Of course he was right, but I was eager to learn. Have you ever met a slightly grumpy older person who somehow made you feel that you were 12 years old again and had straw for brains? That was exactly how I felt, but I did not let that stop me from asking to see the chickens and asking all kinds of stupid questions. Or so it would appear they were stupid, based on the wry looks the farmer gave me. Despite this I pressed on, I had him identify all the different colors and breeds although often, he really did not seem to know for sure what they all were, but in that case he would just make something up. I could tell when he was really pulling my leg by how many times his wife, standing behind him,  rolled her eyes or shook her head.  In the end I picked out 6 chicks of various breeds and colors, got some food and was ready to leave when I peeked into a box that was at the counter. It had baby ducks in it!  I could not resist picking out one little yellow duckling that would grow up to be a white Peking duck named Gonzo. But then I heard Dons voice in the back of my  head saying that we could not just have one duck, that they needed to be in pairs. So I looked for another one and to my pleasant surprise I saw an adorable all black duckling. I looked at the farmer (afraid to ask, only to confirm to him that I did indeed have straw for brains) but I asked anyway, “what kind of a duck is that”? He replied,” that is a Black Snow Mallard”. Wow, how neat is that? I had never heard of a Black Snow Mallard before! I of course had to have this little duck, but before I could say anything the sweet and obviously very long suffering farmer’s wife rolled her eyes and said,” it is not a Black Snow Mallard,  it is just a black duck”. Well, the farmer’s eyes got very wide as he looked at his wife and said in a very serious and knowledgeable voice,” no, it is a Black Snow Mallard”. Ok, well either way I had to have it and I would find out just what I had when it grew up and got his feathers.

 Needless to say the moment I got home, I put down the chicks and ducks and went right to the computer to google “Black Snow Mallard” Hmmm yep, you guessed it, there was no such thing! I still hoped that I had some exotic cross bred duck and was a little disappointed when our Percy ended up growing into a fine young regular old Mallard duck.

 Unfortunately Gonzo, the Peking duck was eaten by some creature the first summer and that left Percy all alone with the hens, and he grew up believing that he was indeed a chicken, just one of the girls. We even had a little pond in our yard and would try everything and anything to get him to go in and swim like a duck, but nope; the other chickens did not swim so he did not swim. One afternoon I even tried to arrange a “play date” for him. When two Mallard ducks landed in the pond I scooped up Percy and took him to the pond and gave him a good fling right into the middle of the pond. Bad idea!! As it turned out, the ducks were a matting pair and the male of the pair really did not think he needed a buddy at the moment and promptly flew over and knocked the stuffins out of poor Percy.  Percy literally ran on water to get out of the pond, flew back to the chicken coop to his girls, and never went in the pond again!   

One day we noticed that our hens were missing feathers on their bottoms! All six of them looked exactly the same. Their Fannies were just as bare as can be. It was like having 6 chickens with plumbers crack, or as if they had all gotten up and forgotten to put on their panties! We were a little concerned as we tried to research what might be causing this strange feather loss. Then one day the mystery was solved! We caught Percy in the act! When the hens would be out in the yard with their heads down “bugging” in the grass, Percy would come from behind and pluck the feathers from their bums!  Many people who came to visit would ask, “What kind of chickens are those” and we would say, they are just normal chickens, but they live with Percy the “Butt pluckin duck”!! That quickly became his new nick name. 


 


Comments

Bridgett Osborne
02/20/2013 2:49pm

I just had to say, the "but plucking duck" was way to funny not to leave a comment. I don't suppose you have any pics of them do u? I myself have 3 pet chickens. wanted the duck didn't have the room for a mini pond. now I have the pond in a new house and have yet to bring the girls. miss them great eggs and insect control. for i love my gardens. You can check them on my facebook. I'm in Ohio in case there's more than one.

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Sandy
02/20/2013 3:03pm

Thanks Bridgett, no, i tried to find pictures of our Percy but just could not. I do love my chickens and the wonderful fresh eggs they give us. And I miss having a duck. I just might have to get a couple this spring. :-)

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