Ducks, geese, goats and dogs

Cindy ArpOur Town Outdoors

Dan and I recently visited our nephew, John, his wife, Dee, and their sons, Hank and Luke. They live on a 900-acre farm that sustains a beef cattle herd, soybean crops, a gaggle of geese and ducks, two cats, five dogs and a prize goat herd which 12-year-old Luke shows at 4-H contests. Theirs is a busy life; filled with family, farm work and two full-time jobs.

Coming home from work the other day, Dee stopped at Rural King and bought five fluffy baby ducks. She made a home for the ducks in the garage and told the family NOT TO OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR. The next day after Dee left for work, John was at the barn repairing some farm equipment when Luke charged over to him. The garage door was open! The ducks were gone! Mom would be mad! Let’s wait until she’s home to tell her! “Nope,” said John, “we’ll call her now and let her get over being mad before she gets home.” The conversation went something like this:

John, “Well, the garage door was open, and the ducks are gone.”

Dee, “Which dog ate the ducks?”

John, “Well, there’s five dogs and five ducks. I guess each dog got a duck.” Probably not the best answer, John said later.

Dee got home from work late that night, stopping again at Rural King to buy eight baby ducks and two geese.

John: “You think this is cheaper than dog food?” Definitely not the best remark.

The ducks and geese were put in the garage, this time put in a container held up by sawhorses. The next morning when John left for work, he called Dee: “Hi, honey. As I was leaving for work just now, I saw one of the dogs coming around the corner of the garage. He was dragging a ladder.”

Soon the ducks and geese needed to be moved to a large pen next to the goat herd. With John and Hank away at a tractor show, it was Dee and Luke vs. 2 geese and 8 ducks. As Dee and Luke began moving the flock, the dogs’ ears perked up – snacks on the move! Before he could be stopped, one dog snapped up a duck. Dee immediately took the duck away, but it was too late. Hot and frustrated, Dee threw the corpse out of the way of the dogs and into the bed of John’s nearby truck, a reminder that help with flock herding would have been appreciated. Finally, down one duck, the flock was safely inside the pen.

John recently reported that the flock is happy in their new home and the goats seem to like their new duck and geese neighbors as well. In fact, the goats like the flock so much that they recently paid them a visit, gaining access through a hole they’d managed to make in the cage. The goats report that the duck/geese feed is superb. John has repaired the cage.

I asked the players in this saga for comments. The dogs tried to look busy, the goats reported that they are sad that the flock’s delicious feed is now inaccessible, and the flock couldn’t hear me because of the noise they were making. The house cats said to call them if a statement is needed. They saw it all from the kitchen window.

Cindy Arp, teacher/librarian, retired from Knox County Schools. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell. 


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