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July 13, 2011

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Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day
Name: Daffy, Jemima
Age: Six years old
Gender: Male, Female
Kind: Khaki Campbells Ducks
Home: Lancashire, UK
   Hi, I'd like to introduce my two ducks, Jemima and Daffy. They are six-year-old Khaki Campbells and I bought them at a local pet shop. At the time I didn't know whether they were male or female as they hadn't been sexed but it soon turned out I had a boy and a girl. They have completely bonded with each other which makes for fun in the garden because you can't separate them with a huge fuss. They live in my garden and have a pond and quite happily share the garden with my four dogs and three rabbits. They love trying to come into my kitchen but they make such a mess everywhere that I have resorted to putting a barricade up across the door way. Khaki Campbells are supposed to make good egg layers and bad mothers but unbeknown to me they wanted a have ducklings and they did succeed in producing five ducklings after several attempts. What a shock that was when I saw them, even helped two come out of their egg shells.

    Amongst the pictures is one showing Daffy fighting with his reflection because he thought another male duck was after his female (that was so funny), another shows Jemima and her week old ducklings (four females and one male). We even took the ducklings into my son's primary school to show them off to his class mates for pet day. They were the highlight of the afternoon, as I stayed to keep an eye on them.

    Jemima is a bossy girl. Before Jemima and Daffy I had a female Mallard called Donald who I had from four days old until she died of old age at fourteen years old. I thought she was bossy ,but it would seem that female ducks are just naturally inquisitive, bossy and are constantly looking for food. They are friendly to people in that if they see me with a spade they'll both coming running (lead by Jemima) because they know I'll be digging for worms which they love. When I'm digging they pester the living daylights out of me getting on every spadeful and it's a real art trying not to catch them accidentally with a spade. If I shout their names, they'll also come running to me and if they can they are in my kitchen at every opportunity. They have, on the other hand, bonded with each other so well that they are not as friendly as Donald, who lived on her own and thought me and my dog were her mum.

    These two are very much food oriented and Jemima is definitely the boss of the two. It would appear that Daffy is more like a body guard, standing on duty all the time watching for anyone trying to steal his mate. If he feels I'm being a pest he will try to jump up and nip me or get my ankle and even without teeth they can hurt. Jemima is a lousy egg layer she seems to do it as and when she feels like it. My old duck laid every day for about four years and then stopped. Jemima on the other hand, who is supposed to be a prolific egg layer, only lays throughout the breeding season (about March to September) and then gives up until the following year, and even during this time she may not lay every day. I wonder if that is because she lives with a male. As I've already said she was supposed to be a good layer and bad mother but she has been the complete opposite! Both her and Daffy where very attentive to the eggs and obviously determined to have ducklings. I knew she was laying and she had amounted quite a few in one of her nests but I believed that if I removed some for say a week and put them back and remove the others that the eggs would no longer be fertile. She had laid eighteen eggs and I left her with five eventually but I really though she was safe to sit on them. It turns out now that they can be left for about a fortnight without being sat on and still be fertile. Well, I've never made the mistake since and they've never been so determined to have more ducklings since.

    Jemima is the brains of the outfit, she's clever, she works things out and as long as food is being offered she's up for the challenge. Daffy on the other hand is a follower, his brain is on constant "Go slow" mode. He can't function without Jemima and goes into panic mode. If you shout Jemima they both come running, but if you shout Daffy he won't react on his own.

    They live in Lancashire, UK in our garden, they have the run of the garden, a pond at the top and they have access to shelter via a cat flap which they can use without problem. They tend to prefer being out in the garden though, and will happily stay there through most types of weather, although they will shelter in the bushes. I will bring them in when it's been snowing, but I have to catch them first!! They are not clipped in any way, they are too heavy to get any height and the highest they done is about three feet. We did have two wild Mallards who tried to make our garden a safe haven for breeding for the last two springs, but Jemima and Daffy would not share and would chase the female out of the garden.

    In one picture is Daffy and Jemima up near pond whilst the wild female mallard and her mate (who's out of sight) try to take over their patch. In the spring Daffy has the most wonderful feathers, his head turns green and his feathers brighten up and he gets a curl on his tail feathers, by August each year they both moult. Daffy and Kemima are very special ducks.

Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day
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Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day
Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day
Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day
Daffy, Jemima, the Pet of the Day

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