I thought my wife, Marianne, and I raised our female ducks to conduct themselves with propriety and decorum, but all that went out the window when a green-headed, smooth quacking, velvet-billed devil showed up. Now we have a sort of “Farmer’s Daughter” situation going on at the farm.
For those of you unfamiliar with the old “Famer’s Daughter” jokes, they all center around a travelling salesman who shows up at a farm and winds up staying the night in the barn – only he somehow manages to leave the barn under the cover of darkness and winds up in close quarters with the farmer’s daughter. To keep this article rated PG, I’ll spare you the details beyond that.
Our travelling salesmen is a mallard drake that visits us on a daily basis. Our young female ducks are the farmer’s daughters.
We call him “Casanova.”
Casanova flies in around mid-morning every day. Most ducks are up and at ’em before sunrise, but not this character. He probably wakes up late – bleary eyed and hung over from a night of drunken debauchery.
We have plenty of duck visitors throughout the year. They spend their days on the pond. They don’t come anywhere near our yard or where the resident animals stay. Casanova is different. He flies right past the pond, because he knows our young female ducks spend most their days in the large, open-air run next to our backyard. He takes a few swings around our farm so they can witness his majesty in flight, then he plops down in the run right amongst them.
“Hello, ladies,” he says to them, strutting around like he owns the place.
First thing he does is help himself to some feed. You’d think he never saw food before judging by the way he scarfs it down. You can tell he’s not paying for it. We have a kiddie pool full of water and he helps himself to that, too. But mostly what he helps himself to is the girls.
He’s a big talker, this guy – quacking his sweet nothings to them. Sometimes he exchanges crude comments with the other male ducks. But mostly he talks to the ladies.
Our big Peking duck, Walter, has a three-girl harem. Casanova knows better than to approach them. Walter ain’t having it. Casanova also knows not to try his nonsense with the older females, either. They’ve heard it all before, those gals. He doesn’t impress them at all.
Who he does impress is the younger girls – the ones wet behind the ears (or lack thereof). Naïve and impressionable, they fall for his sweet talk. They talk back to him, too, and they talk about him with each other. They are absolutely beside themselves with excitement when Casanova is the topic of discussion.
What gets me is he doesn’t even bother to run from Marianne or me when we get close to him. He could care less. Marianne tries to shoo him off, but as soon as she is gone, he’s back again.
Eventually, he tries his move on one of the girls. Sure, she runs from him – that’s what ducks do. But you can tell she isn’t running as fast as she can and she doesn’t even bother to dodge and weave.
“You’re not fooling me, Jezebel!” I holler at her, but, typical teenager, she ignores me.
After he’s pursued two or three of the ladies, he makes some flimsy excuse then off he flies – probably back to the wife and kids. He shows up again, sometimes later that evening; sometimes the next day, and, despite my counseling, the girls fall for it again.
All I can say is, “So be it.” They’ll find out the hard way when he flies off for good one day and leaves them with a bunch of eggs to care for.
What is a duck parent to do?