One shiny suburban afternoon, a giant tractor trailer huffs and squeals down our cul-de-sac heading to those crazy people at the top of the street. Oh right, that’s us! The family who got five ducks mail-order because they wanted their fertilizer local, really local. Well, it looks like their coop finally arrived. That’s an awful big vehicle. Boy, how big is that thang?
Big enough, I think. I hope. I pray. Those ducks have got to get out of the garage now. (Yesterday!) I’m a writer not a farmer, Jim. My back can’t take this shovel duty no more. Pamela, Pamela, I shout to my daughter when I pick her up at school. The coop is here, the coop is here! “It’s a Yolk,” she corrects me. The Egg Yolk, to be even more precise. What the ducks is that?
First week of April, 2012. Two weeks until D-Day. Almost didn’t read the latest issue of Backyard Poultry because I didn’t see anything about ducks on the cover. Pressed for time, even pre-duckling, I had a stack of unread magazines but for some reason flipped through this one anyway. Hey, what’s that? A new coop design? I ran to the computer and looked up the website. Hmm, verrrrry interesting. Made for chickens but just get a look at that run. With optional add-on, you get ten feet total plus the coop. Custom-fit canvas awning, marine-quality parts, easy to clean polymer, welded wire cage, made in the US of A? Sold!
But wait. Before I plunk down the digital plastic, shouldn’t I make sure about a few duck-related things? Having done tons of research, I could tell at a glance that this coop/pen probably did line up best with my dream coop’s features. Still, it was made for chickens. And, at this point, I had no actual experience with ducks so it was one big fat guess. Plus, with the upgrades and the shipping, we’re talking a lot of money, especially if the birds refused to use the coop. The price, $1852.00, is probably mid-range in its category—reasonable but not exactly chicken feed. (!)
I called the super-helpful Yolk folks and we mulled over this whole duck vs. chicken usage quandary, discussed ideas for hardening the perimeter against raccoon incursions, how to handle egg-laying, feeding and watering differences, etc. In the end, I rolled the dice. I liked the overall design of the Yolk; after all, I’d have to look at this thing every time I glanced up from the kitchen sink. But I also appreciated the heavy-duty, low-key wonkiness of a synthetic coop (bug resistant + hygienic = easier). I took a deep breath and plugged in the Amex number.
I guess if the ducks won’t go up the ramp, we can always try chickens next year.
Copyright 2012, Lori Fontanes