Cuttings: Quack troops

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The Independent Online
'DUCKS are vandals of the first order,' writes Charlotte Muse of London SE7 (Independent, 26 February). 'They swing on my roses and eat or try to eat just about everything (cranesbills and geraniums are safe). However, I would not be without them. Leadbelly (my Campbell drake) and Sennapod (his Aylesbury/Peking mate) give us hours of entertainment. Leadbelly pursues me round the garden nibbling at my ankles.' Ms Muse, who encloses a photograph of her ducks taking weeds out of a bucket as she puts them in, has to shut them in a run if she is not in the garden: foxes have already killed two.

Another duck fancier, Janet Sinclair of Alfrick Pound in Worcestershire, also sounds a warning note. 'A robin following the spade for worms is one thing; four large, friendly and supremely self-confident Khaki Campbells actually inside the hole one is digging is quite another.' Her ducks have been gated since spring shoots began going down rather than up. 'You'd be surprised how far a Khaki Campbell stretches, bill to web. I'd never before thought that ducks could stand on tiptoe, but these do.'

Anne Hope Jacobson of the British Waterfowl Association says that, if readers want to be sure of getting good stock, they should buy from a reputable breeder. The BWA annual directory of breeders' names and addresses is available from Pikes Peak, Finchampstead, Berkshire RG11 4RD (0734 733435).

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