Just like any garden, homesteading life never stays the same. There is always some new challenge, right when you thought you were finally getting the hang of things. Change was inevitable for our backyard ducks. Right before the raccoon attack, I realized we had a drake among us.
Drake is what you call a male duck. They are not illegal in the city, since they don’t crow like roosters, but their value in an urban setting is still up for debate. After all, you are working in a limited space to produce food. A duck eating feed but not providing eggs is not really the most efficient use of urban homestead space. Drakes often have a weaker voice than their female counterparts and their tail feathers curl.
Perhaps the clearest sign was watching little Millie try to mount our other girls. At first I saw it happen and just thought, “Oh, she’s trying to dominate them. How cute.” Then I realized HE was trying to make babies. So our little Millie is actually Milt.
With the loss of Bertie to a raccoon, that means we have two females to one male. Not great odds. Milt isn’t exactly going to be earning his keep by producing eggs. And I worry he might hurt the girls if his “love” is spread among just two of them.
Are we eating him? Not sure. Are we re-homing him? Not sure. We are considering adding a couple new girls to the flock and possibly saying goodbye to Milt. Introducing two will spread the bullying out a bit, so not just one gets the brunt of it. After combing online classifieds, it looks like raising ducklings might be our only option.
If this life were predictable, it probably wouldn’t be as exciting, right?