Since this is duckling season, I thought I’d put up a video demonstrating how to herd ducks. Before I got our ducks, that was one of my biggest worries. After all, I live in suburbia. I had visions of quacking, flapping ducks going everywhere except into their pen, including the neighbors’ yards. Luckily, duck herding turned out to be a breeze. M was very nice about demonstrating on video.
The most important aspect of duck herding is getting the speed right. M (age 5) does a good job in this video of getting it pretty much right. If you are too fast, they can panic, stumble, or run right past whatever door or area you are trying to get them into. If you are too slow, they realize that you are not serious and kind of wander away, stop walking, or separate the flock. If one of them gets separated from the rest of the flock, all hell tends to ensue. The poor one that is left on its’ own gets anxious and doesn’t know where to go, and the rest of the flock tries to break through the fence to get to the lone duck. Although cute, these animals are not too smart. If they are around a corner of fence, they just don’t know how to figure out how to walk around to get to a door. They require you to guide them there. I suppose they would eventually find it, but it can take a while and be a matter of trial and error.
Probably the second most important aspect of duck herding is keeping your hands out to the sides, like an airplane. Those ducks have great peripheral vision, and they use the sight of your hands behind them to tell them where to go. I’ve read about various cultures that use long sticks held parallel to the ground to do the same thing, but the arms work fine for me with my small flock.I’ve also experimented with using the words, “go home,” when I want the ducks to go back to their house, but I’m not convinced that they’ve learned English jet. I wonder – if I spoke in Jivvanese (10 points to the first reader who gets the reference) would the ducks learn faster?