My friends and I have been feeding a family of ducks at UniLodge at Kurrajong Village for almost a year!
Spring was approaching and we all knew what that meant. Ducklings! Little did we know one Sunday morning, Mumma came along with 7 little babies waddling right behind her. It was the best surprise ever! None of us assumed that she’d trust us enough to bring food to her babies but there she was. We gave them some oats and a bowl of fresh water and watched from afar as we didn’t want to scare them away. By day 3 of feeding them, the ducklings were comfortably gobbling food right out of my hands and our bond was forged.
Every morning my roommate would feed them oats and I would follow up with bird seed in the afternoon. Feeding them at specific times meant that they would spend less time wandering out in the open looking for food where they were exposed to magpies, crows and other territorial ducks. Now that they’re bigger, this didn’t seem like a problem anymore.
They can EAT
It was like clockwork. At 1pm sharp we would hear quacking and they would be standing right outside the flat door for a meal. Mumma would just sit there and supervise while her younglings would rapidly eat as much food as they can get. Once that was done, they would peck at our hands asking for seconds, thirds and fourths. Sometimes, they would get so exhausted, they’d all take a nap right beside the flat. The bigger they grew, the quicker we had to replenish the bird seed.
They LOVE water
That sounds pretty understandable considering that they are after all ducks. Setting out one water bowl is not enough. After taking a drink, the ducklings would then jump in the tiny bowl and splash around.
They are MESSY
Don't let this cute facade fool you the way it did us. Ducklings are messy and boy do we know. Tipping the water bowl and flicking wet, soggy oats on themselves and on us isn’t something ideal. However, that’s not the worst of it. Ducklings POOP everywhere. It’s a never-ending mess! Once the flat door was left momentarily open and within that gap, the ducklings had sneakily wandered in in search of more food. Once we realised we quickly escorted them out, we turned around to find a long trail of poop. Not the finest moment.
They stick together
Ducks are fascinating animals to watch, especially when they are growing up. Always seeing them closely huddled behind Mumma when going anywhere is adorable to witness. Day by day, as they started to grow older and develop increased autonomy, it was easier to observe their individual personalities shine through.
Watching these ducks grow has been the best thing that has happened this year. Even with Covid-19, I could always count on seeing these little fellas to lift my spirits. This experience has been magical and hopefully we get to do this all again when they return to KV next spring, each with their own brood of younglings!