You Got Duck You Call

By Kim Johnson

Somebody dumped some geese and a duck at the intersection of Highway 30 and Logie Trail.  It happens.  Someone was obviously overcome by the cuteness of small, fuzzy fowl and made an impulse buy.  Been there myself.  That same someone probably couldn’t imagine the amount of poop ducks and geese make. Thinking that Rainbow Lake would make a wonderful bucolic homestead for the birds they simply dropped them off, probably under the cover of night.

While a lake may seem a perfectly lovely environment for abandoned farm fowl, these particular birds didn’t seem to grasp that concept, preferring instead to stand in oncoming traffic.  The morning I discovered them, two weird looking geese with red heads and an Aflac commercial type duck, I immediately took their picture and posted it to Facebook.  Next, I honked my horn several times to indicate, in the international language of car horns, that they should move aside as they were blocking traffic. The fowl ignored me and I was forced to drive around them.

Throughout the day, several Facebook posts mentioned the homeless birds and suggested ways to help them.  It was also pointed out that the red headed geese were actually ducks, a large meat and egg breed called Muscovey.  Several friends posted that they too had to drive around the birds. Driving home in the afternoon I was surprised to find the ducks still in the road. Clearly something had to be done.

I took action, mostly in the form of chasing the ducks around until such time as I could pounce on them and shove them in the back of my Subaru Outback.  This worked out surprisingly well until I tried to shove the second duck into the car.  Clearly a hatch back was not designed with this activity in mind.  I drove home with only one duck. A week went by before concerned neighbors we able to net the second duck and bring it to my house.  Sadly, the Aflac duck had pressed his luck with the traffic and I ended up with the two red headed Muscoveys.

A week of duck ownership was all I needed to remind me why I don’t own ducks.  They took to sleeping in the barn.  Fastidious about this arrangement, my repeated attempts to encourage them to sleep elsewhere were met with a certain stubbornness that I suspected was inherent to the breed.

I decided to post the ducks on Craig’s List.  To my surprise I received an immediate response.  The email went like this: “You got duck you call.  You no got duck you no call.” It was signed, Love Michael followed by a phone number.  I called.  After a confusing conversation where the word duck was repeated several times Michael and I agreed that I had ducks and he wanted ducks.  I suggested that we meet in a public place such as the Fred Meyer parking lot.  Michael smartly suggested if I were to call him after I got the ducks in my car we might avoid a situation whereby we were at Fred Meyer with no ducks.

We arrived at Fred Meyer at roughly the same time, always the trickiest part about Craig’s List exchanges.  Michael turned out to be a very enthusiastic lover of ducks.  He had several Peking ducks that he was enamored with, his neighbors, not so much.  It appeared he was looking for a quieter breed.

I assured him that the Moscovys were quite and docile but warned him that they could fly and he might consider clipping their wings.  Our language barrier was quickly bridged by the use of some very creative hand gestures.  He made a hacking motion with his hand indicating a cleaver.  I used my fingers in such a fashion as to indicate scissors would be a better tool for the clipping of the wings. He nodded several times with enthusiasm.

I asked him what he planned to do with the ducks, concerned that the previous hacking motion suggested he was familiar with ducks in a culinary context.  “Yes, yes!” he replied becoming very animated.  “Eggs!” Eggs.  He proceeded to give me several recipes for the use of duck eggs.  The last recipe was a great delicacy in his homeland, a special occasion recipe if you will.  The recipe was lost on me, as I couldn’t get past the first ingredient, a partially fertilized duck egg.  He nodded enthusiastically, indicating perhaps that I shouldn’t nock it till I tried it.  I assured him that under very special circumstances I would consider his recipe. Were I ever in a post apocalyptic situation or under the constraints of communist rationing I would not rule out such a food.

I could have talked to Michael for hours.  I suspected that he probably had a fascinating life history and with the right combination of hand gestures and an interrupter I might have learned it.  As it was, we were both busy people and he was anxious to settle his new egg layers.  He pulled a small cat carrier from the trunk of his car and indicated that we should transfer the ducks.  I asked him if he planned to put both ducks in the carrier and he replied, “Yes, yes! Both fit!”  He used his hands to make a folding motion. He indicated that the second duck would perhaps be required to temporarily adopt some position of unnatural geometry for the ride home.  We both nodded with the understanding that sometimes, when you want duck and you got duck, you do what you gotta do. 

As the day light hours get longer, I suspect that Michael’s ducks will begin laying.  The Mucsovey is a prolific layer and I have no doubt that Michael will find a use for the eggs.  Having given him a male and a female he would even have all the makings for a special occasion recipe.  Don’t knock it till you tried it.

As the day light hours get longer, I suspect that Michael’s ducks will begin laying.  The Mucsovey is a prolific layer and I have no doubt that Michael will find a use for the eggs.  Having given him a male and a female he would even have all the makings for a special occasion recipe.  Don’t knock it till you tried it.

© Rain Barrel Acres LLC

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