Today was the day for "re-ducking" the pond by our house. We bought a dozen flight-ready mallards from the local game farm. Brought them home, clipped their flight feathers and then turned them loose. Only thing different this year over past ones is that we bought a much higher ratio of hens. We got 2 drakes, 8 hens and two pure white mallards.
Here's grandson Jay and his great-grammie Jean handing me the ducks one at a time for wing clipping.
Remi & Cappy have an interest in the ducks by instinct alone but are conditioned to "LEAVE IT" here at home. In fact, the ducks that have been with us for 3-4 years are often out in the drive near the garage door when I open it each morning. They need fine gravel in order to gring and digest the corn we feed them so they get it from our white rock driveway. The two dawgs are no more than 20 feet away and they just stare but make no move towards them. When we go through the training routine in the early morning it's not unsual for the ducks to walk by the dawgs on the grass as they are returning to my side with a training bumper.
Lord help any of those mallards if they were within eyesight of either dawg where we do our hunting, 5 miles from here. Both Cappy and Remi are excellent trackers and a duck can't hide from their superior scenting skills.
The 7-8 flight feathers are the longest and furthest feathers out towards the tip of each wing. We cut off the end 3" or so with a scissors. It is painless to the duck. Without them they become flightless. They can still run, swim and maybe get a foot or two off the ground for 15-20 yards to escape predators. Flight feathers will grow back in in six months or less. Clipping them now prevents them from flying off until they become "imprinted" on our pond and get used to us and the easy "groceries" here. All ducks and geese "molt" at least once a year meaning they loose and then replace all of their feathers over a six week period during which time they become flightless.
The owner of the game farm really wanted me to take the two white mallards. Not farm ducks or albinos .... pure white mallards that he says occurs in approximately 1 in every 5,000 ducklings. If they mate the result will be white ducklings. If they mate with regular mallards the statistical odds goes way down against white off-spring. Kinda interesting stuff. By the way ... I have a white pheasant from years ago ...
Cappy, thanks for the info! It is great to know the pups won't go after or hurt the birds in your pond. Also interesting to know that they can escape predators & that they grow the flight feather backs in about 6 months.