A Day in the Life of a Duck Mama

My days start at 6:15 AM. If I’m out the door a minute after 6:30, it’s chaos.. all 30+ ducks march (or, I guess, technically waddle) into the warehouse to let us all know that they’re hungry, and it’s time for breakfast. They all waddle in, maybe take a nice drink from the cat’s water bowl after they’ve stuck their entire face in mud, usually poop a lot in the pathways (perfect for a nice bare foot to step in!) You’ve gotta shoo them out of there, but Opal (one of their leaders) will usually just lead her army back in.

I fill a bucket with grains and fix it up how they like it- soggy and seasoned in diatomaceous earth! Oh, and they’re still yelling at me during all of this. I’m definitely yelling back though. Everyone’s running to catch up to me, but if I slow down, I’ll get caught in the crowd and step on someone’s foot. I fill all of the dishes, birds-a-flyin all over the place. I make sure everyone’s present and in good spirits… sometimes we get a straggler who runs in quacking after I’ve started filling dishes. I lock all of the chickens and ducks in the pen and head to the outside meeting table just in time for work at 7:00 AM.

At 1:00 PM, it’s time to feed the ducks again. At this point, there’s a few who have escaped the fenced pen to let me know everyone’s hungry again. Afternoon meals are a little more classy- mushy papaya, starfruit, ulu, or whatever other rotting fruit we have laying around, grain, and a nice, healthy sprinkle of diatomaceous earth! Same routine, except this time, all of the water bowls and buckets of sorts are refilled with fresh hose water. I might have learned a new tune to sing to them during the day, so usually I’ll sing it amidst the occasionally yelling at them to get out from under my feet or to get them to stop fussing with each other. While the ducks and chickens are scraping the bucket of leftover papaya and grain mush, I check the chicken coop for eggs (I usually collect 2-4 eggs a day) (sometimes they’re even nice and toasty from a warm chicken butt sittin’ on em all day long) and start filling water tubs. The ducks love sticking their mouths in mud and then in the fresh water, so it gets dirty pretty fast. The girls are usually the first to jump in and start bathing (especially Opal). I love when there are 6+ ducks in the giant water tub and a boy gets in and wreaks havoc on the girl party. Now the gates are open, and the flock is let loose to hunt all of the slugs around the farm (they do a pretty good job at controlling the population- I’m so proud of them) until tomorrow morning when I do it all over again. Getting to feed/water/care for the ducks and chickens is a pretty big responsibility, but it’s a wholesome and fun one that I’m lucky to get to do everyday. I like to pretend I’m the boss of them, but I think that’s far from the truth, and I guess I’m okay with that. 

-Leigha Henson