Travelling with Ducks: People Who've Done It
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:::: Jen Jenner
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Jen Jenner's Journey

Getting those ducks out on the open road 

In Jen's Own Words

So far, I've had ducks in a variety of vehicles, Honda Civic Hatchback, Toyota Pick-up, Chevy Pick-up, GMC Pick-up, Honda Accord, Mexican bus, Mexican trains, and have gone literally thousands of miles traveling with ducks.

My ducks, well, the original six, even got out and played on Elvis Presley's yard in Tupelo, Mississippi, one fine spring day several years ago.

Long Distance Ducks

Dear Lori, We made it to Maine from Louisiana, June 11th to June 16th, 2004.

Here are some traveling tips for driving a very long distance with ducks in a very short time. Don't do it unless you absolutely have to get there in a hurry.

Traveling fast takes all the fun out of it. You don't have time to get them out and visit a stream or pond or ocean to let them play. You have to keep going when a nap in the shade would be better for everyone.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

But if you must, here is some how-to advice. To stay cool, ducks must have water that they can sit in once in a while, and it should be clean cold water, not hot yucky water.

If it's really hot put ice in the water for them. I use a plastic tub that's about a foot tall and two feet long. They cost less than $5 in the household goods department. Rubbermaid is the most durable brand. Change the water often!

I also sprayed them down with a hose several times a day going through Alabama and other hotter than hell places like say Mississippi, Virginia, Tennessee...

Feed them fun foods once in a while, like celery broken into bite sized chunks, or watermelon.

They have water and hoses at gas stations and truck stops.

You can also wash away their mess with a hose, depending on how you set up your duck pen. Feed pellets or scratch as usual. And make sure everyone gets a drink of water often. Sometimes they don't want to leave their "spot" to get to the water container.

Check on them often and hand water them if necessary.

On this trip I used large window screens that I had reinforced with plastic mesh, half inch wide holes. This made up the sides, the front and the back of the pen. For the roof I used the plastic netting that people use to wrap up their trees to keep the birds from eating the ripe fruit. Since the window screens had brackets on them already, it made it easy to keep the netting attached and to get it loose when I wanted to climb in the pen to change their water or feed bowls. Then I used a rope which had I tied to the sides of the long wide bed of my old Chevy pick-up truck to keep the back door of the pen closed.

The real trick to keeping the ducks happy is to give them different levels to climb on, and little caverns to hide in. Sometimes they like to surf the wind and sometimes they want a little privacy out of the wind.

To do this, I used straw, loose and in a bale, and they also could climb on my plastic storage tubs.

Day Tripping

My ducks love to go to fresh running water. Who doesn't? These pictures are from downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico, and that's the Agua Fria River, about 2 blocks from my house in the old historic Guadaloupe neighborhood.

Agua Fria River, Santa Fe, New Mexico   Agua Fria River, Santa Fe, New Mexico

A couple of times a week, I'd take my dog and ducks down to the water. We could have just walked it, but the streets are narrow and the drivers in Santa Fe are oblivious, so it was safer to just take the car.

Where do the ducks sit in the car? Anywhere they want to, except under the brake pedal. I put down old towels or sheets, of course, but the trick to keep from getting duck doodoo all over the place is to #1, not feed or water them for an hour or so before you get in the car and #2, give them some time after they get out of the water to hang out and fluff their feathers, and chat among themselves. Then #3, let them walk a ways before they get back in the car.

On short trips this really works. These little journeys were usually pretty quick...We'd go after I got off work, and return home before dark. Half an hour or so, longer if I felt like listening to NPR on the radio or brought a book, but it's cold out there in the winter--note the ice on the water.

Happy travels to you all, Jen

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