Dabbling Ducks

Last year, Parky’s Farm acquired two Welsh Harlequin ducks: a drake (male) and a hen (female). The Welsh Harlequin is a domestic breed that was developed in Wales in 1949 and is different from the Harlequin sea duck, which is a wild animal.

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After making friends with the resident Peking duck, both ducks were very content swimming in the baby pool and hanging out with the chickens. One day, they discovered they could go under fences and out into the wetland, which is full of baby insects and water-plant growth that they love to eat! Here, you can see just make out their rear ends, which they put up in the air and out of the water in a behavior called “dabbling.”

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When unable to get to the wetland, they like to hang out with their new turkey friends.
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Next time you’re at Parky’s Farm, be sure to stop and tell them “hi!”

Ellen Meehan, InReach Teacher, Parky’s Farm

The Farm in Fall: The Mysterious PFamboozle

Working on Parky’s Farm in November, you’d probably think I’d write all about turkeys! However, the month of November doesn’t mean turkey time for the staff at Parky’s Farm. Instead, it’s all about a mysterious creature called a PFamboozle.

This creature has been leaving all sorts of evidence around the farm: footprints, scat and piles of sticks, which Parky’s Farm experts believe that the PFamboozle is using to communicate. There are only a few eye-witness accounts of this creature dating as far back as October of last year. The staff at Parky’s Farm is so stumped as to what this creature is that they have requested help from third graders in Hamilton County. All month, third graders will spend the day at Parky’s Farm attending three different training sessions – honing their skills in classification, adaptations and soil composition in hopes to hunt and catch the PFamboozle during a hike in the woods.

To this day, the PFamboozle has found a way to sneak out of every trick laid to trap it Anyone can try their luck at hunting and catching this mysterious creature by attending the training sessions held on Monday, November 11, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. or 12:30–2:30 p.m. Lots of people are looking or the PFamboozle, so online pre-registration by November 7 is required to participate.

Meanwhile, keep an eye open… the PFamboozle is among us!

Sara Schneider, Teacher, Parky’s Farm

My Life as a Chew Toy

I’m pretty sure that if I understood goat speak, I would hear Clove, Mace, Basil, Nutmeg and Ginger (this year’s baby goats at Parky’s Farm) say something like this as I entered their pen: “Okay guys. Let’s try the shoe laces first. How about now we nibble some tasty keys. No, no I prefer pockets. Oh man everybody else got the pockets first, so I’ll try out the hair… You know this stuff looked delicious, but it’s really not all that great. Hey, did you notice she brought us some hay? Oh wow this stuff tastes really good.”

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Goats are known for their ability to eat just about anything, but in actuality they can only process products that come from plants. So can goats eat hay, leaves, grass and paper? Yes they can. Can they actually eat a tin can and all the clothes off the line? No. They might be able to get the clothes chewed up and swallowed, but they won’t get any nutrition out of them.

So why do they insist on chewing on everything that I and everyone else who encounters them is wearing or carrying? It’s just plain old curiosity. We like to touch things to see how they feel. Since goats don’t have fingers to feel with, they “feel” or learn about things with their mouths. My guess is they are also secretly hoping that someday my shoe laces will magically turn into tasty leaves.

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Ellen Meehan, Inreach Teacher, Parky’s Farm