The Duck Redemption Book

We are proud to present you a new Duck Redemption related project: a nicely printed 76-pages book that collects all the posts and most of the pictures from this blog. The book has been designed as a semester project at the FH Aachen and presented to the public in the exhibition at the end of the semester together with some funny moments with our beloved duckies captured on video. Its success was incredible and sure it was the cutest project in the whole exhibition!

To see more pictures of the book please check out this page and share if you appreciate!

The first flight

After the ducks returned home, something really exciting happened: Daffy took off in his first flight (which, by the way, happened in the small living room in our house - not exactly the proper place where to fly around). We already knew that the ducks from our race can fly very good, although they prefer not to do it. Until their second month of life we were wondering how this was possible, considering their extremely small wings. But then, in just a few weeks, their wings grew exponentially and proved to be excellent for flying. Moreover, through the incessant flapping of their wings, all three ducks somehow showed the will to take off in flight, but - after a short training on the mattress on how to land properly - only Daffy actually ended up to do it.

Given the fact that this first flight was the definitive signal of a longing for open spaces, we took the duckies to a park. There Daffy flew again and landed on the lake. Touching the cold surface of the water provoked a shock in him, which made us guess that he didn’t really want to land into the water - he just could not control his route very well. But after the first seconds, he decided that after all it was not so bad, and continued swimming for the next few minutes.

Needles to say, Fluffy and Puffy didn’t plunge not even a single feather into the water, nor they tried to take off in flight (except when we tried to throw them in the air, without any notable improvement). They are still the Lazy Team, after all.

Something else happened in the park: we met a very polite lady who offered to keep the ducks in her fenced garden until we find the Ultimate Place where they can really be 100% free. Due to the high amount of work we have to do lately - which only takes away hours that we would normally spend with our three cuties - we could not deny her offer. The duckies are therefore now wandering around a nice garden together with two chickens, followed by some caring people who ensure that they get everything they need to spend a joyful time in their new temporary home.

Christmas holidays

It’s been a long time since we last updated the blog, but due to Christmas holidays and preparation of exams we always have been very busy. Nevertheless, there are many news worth talking about, first of which is the fact that, in this very moment, the duckies are not at home with us anymore.

In the last month it has been very hard to deal with the fact of having still at home completely grown up ducks. Not just because the space in the house was not so much and caring about them required more and more time each day, but especially because we could clearly see that they themselves asked for something more than what they had: that is, the possibility of being free.

Since we both had to go in our respective homes for Christmas and could not bring along the ducks, we had to find a place where to leave them just for a few days. Of course we could not give them the promised freedom yet, since they have to get used to it a bit at a time - and leaving the most eaten kind of duck in a park during Christmas time is not the best idea, as it is well known that the most consumed Christmas meal in Germany is exactly duck’s meat.

The best place for them ended up to be an aviary not so far away from home, where the duckies shared food and shelter together with other chickens. This was for them not only a good opportunity to approach for the first time different kind of animals, but also to learn what it means to live more freely, without having to depend too much on us, on our time and on our commitments.

Aachener Zeitung

Today we have been featured on the local newspaper, the Aachener Zeitung!

A few weeks ago we discovered that a photojournalist found out about the duckies at the Christmas Market and wanted to publish a picture of us. We arranged a meeting and prepared the duckies for their first official photoshooting. 

For those of you not acquainted with german, here is a translation of the caption:

They are a heart-quintet: Irene Sgarro, Tom Vermont with the three ducks Puffy, Daffy and Fluffy. Both students of Communication Design, they bought the duck eggs from a slaughterhouse and rescued them by doing this. For a quick shooting, the cute poultry’s “parents” took along their fosterlings at the Christmas Market, where they currently work to increase their student salary.

Christmas Market

Today the Christmas Market started here in Aachen. In the late afternoon the duckies paid us a visit at the wooden hut in which we work, where they seemed to enjoy the wintry atmosphere and watched all the people passing by. Spotting them in between the products was not easy, but the surprise was guaranteed once one was able to see them. Needless to say, in just one hour they managed to attract more customers than we have been able to do throughout the whole day.

Changes and growth

So, we’ve been going through a couple of important changes lately. One of these is the exponential growth of the ducks, which have - at the age of one month and one week - reached the size of the mallard (the duck more likely to be found in every single park - female completely brown striped, male half covered with turquoise green shiny feathers). Fluffy is actually even bigger - but it was easy predictable, considering his obsessive love for food combined with a complete unwillingness of doing more physical exercise than the bare minimum. In the latest times he has been joined in the idleness by Puffy, forming together the so-called “Lazy Team” - or, the couple that during our walks stops every ten seconds to sit down and recover from the hard effort (you can imagine how far we can go in these conditions). On the contrary, Daffy is like the best dog you would ever hope for - always first in line, always loyally running after you, sometimes even faster than you, never stopping, never complaining. Definitely a faithful duck.

The second important thing they’ve been going through is the complete changing of their coat. Which means that they’re slowly losing their fluffiness to get a different kind of softness, typical of adult ducks. As expected, the hair is not only being replaced by strong feathers, but these have also very different colours than the original coat. Daffy, for example, is now a redhead, while Puffy has replaced his yellow hair for white feathers (which by the way make him look extremely large and stocky). On the other hand, on Fluffy are growing mixed black and white feathers where once yellow parts were. He is in fact radically changing his appearance - the only thing we hope for him is not to lose the beautiful four yellow points on the back that make him look like a huge ladybug. By the way, we guessed right with the name: despite the feathers, Fluffy is really fluffy.

Walk the duck

In the last weeks we collected a huge amount of videos with ducks that needed absolutely to be gathered into a compilation. So here it is, enjoy!

First Month

Today the ducks are exactly one month old. They grew from half hand sized fluffy balls to huge sized meat balls (always hungry, of course). We discovered that their paws are even bigger than the ones from the grown up ducks at the park. It’s worthwhile saying that we own one of the the biggest existing duck races. Its official name is ‘muscovy duck’ and it is gladly welcomed in the slaughterhouses for its huge meat stuffed body.

Apart from this, they start to get nice colored feathers on different parts of their bodies. It’s almost sure that Puffy (the one that hatched last) is a girl. She has the most beautiful feathers, a petite face and the smallest body. It’s also interesting to say that before they even hatched we predicted that Puffy (egg #3) will be a little girl, since the development of the egg was the slowest of the three - besides the other curious fact that they hatched in the exact sequence of numbers we wrote on the eggs.

Swan Lake

The duckies are still too small to swim freely into the lake (they still don’t have enough feathers to properly keep afloat), plus they seem to nourish an extreme hate for water. They exclusively enter in it if they can touch with their feet, so swimming is completely out of their thoughts. Nevertheless, we still wanted them to experience the joy of fluctuating on the water without the risk of drowning, so we rented a paddle boat and went for a ride on the lake. As you can see from the pictures, Fluffy seemed to enjoy immensely the sun shining on his coat.

2,5 Weeks

The duckies are growing like weed, each morning we are amazed of their new size. Their bodies are slowly transforming from a cute ball form to a classic duck form. Each day we take them out and go to the park where they follow us bravely. Sometimes they stop and sit down when other people pass too closely: since they had an imprinting with the human form in general rather than specifically with us, they have a hard time recognising the mother when there are too many people in range. Normally they recognise the mother amongst all the other ducks from the voice. We try to imitate duck sounds so that they can recognise us better, but we still have to train more since it has no great effect on them.

12 Days 

So here we are again: two human beings, one cat - Poncho - and three duckies - Daffy, Fluffy and Puffy.

In the past few days the duckies kept us so busy that even finding the time to update the blog has been quite a challenge. After discovering the pleasures of going for a walk along the park, every day now comes the time when the duckies start to be rowdy because they want to get out of their little house. The rest of their time they are very likely cheeping for food or attention. Staying still is obviously not part of their daily schedule - except when we push them under their heating roof and close the light to make them sleep.

This is what we discovered so far about the life of our ducks:

  • They love boiled eggs - which is pretty curious (or disturbing) from an animal that came out of an egg himself.
  • Ducks raised by humans do actually follow humans when walking, but with a little peculiarity: they don’t follow just “mommy and daddy”, but every moving object that resemble even just a bit a human being. This means that every time anybody else crosses our path during our walks at the park, the duckies start to spread in different directions not knowing anymore who to follow. We usually have to chase them after running men or people on bicycles and catch them before they are lost forever.
  • People seem to be quite interested in the fact that, while everybody else in the world walk their dog, we walk three ducks. On the other side, park operators are quite suspicious about the fact that we might have stolen the babies from some poor duck mum. Is it really so hard to believe that we are the ones that raise them?
  • Our duckies don’t like bathing so much. We still don’t know how this can be possible - I mean, they are ducks, they have to like bathing.
  • Fluffy loves lying on his back and being cuddled on the belly. Take a careful look at the photo showing it, because it’s probably the cutest thing you’ll ever see in your whole life.
  • Our little cat Poncho would follow even his own tail for hours, so it’s easy to imagine the killer spirit that rouses inside him when he sees three furry creatures walking around the house. But in just a week the duckies have developed a good technique to keep their hunter away - they start pecking at him in very unpleasant places (eyes and ears mostly) and running around like mad to leave him behind.
  • In a clever attempt at freedom, they managed to destroy their carton box house, which is the reason why we had to replace it with a wooden one, made with some old drawers that we found on the street. All the Ikea furniture I assembled in my life so far definitely helped in the endeavour.
  • And a cool random fact to end the post with dignity: their legs clearly descend from dinosaurs. So we have three little dinosaurs in our home. Wow.

The First Day

All three ducklings hatched healthy. Two on the 34th and one on the 35th day. Right now all three are walking over the keyboard and want my attention so no more text for now.

Poncho The Tiger Cat

Plenty of news in this blog post! We are at T -2 days and the first signals of life are starting to appear… but let’s proceed chronologically.

First of all we would like to welcome to our little zoo-home Poncho, an approximately two months old tiger cat. Poncho joined us about three weeks ago, and since then proved to bring a lot of joy and aliveness to the house. Nothing is better than having a little kitten waiting for you at home after a hard day of work!

Our first meeting with Poncho was not as happy as some would imagine. For five nights we heard him crying and meowing in the underground garage just below our house, probably abandoned by his mother and without any food nor shelter. His only way of hiding from the scary outside world was to enter the motors of the cars parked in the garage, which was obviously pretty dangerous. We managed to catch him after two days of constant chasing from one motor to another, when - attracted by the food - he finally entered the cage we set up for him. Even if the image of a cage could paint us as evil people, we of course did it just to save him from a really bad end, which was probably going to occur soon. As a matter of fact, when we finally managed to bring him to our apartment, he was so skinny that we could feel just his bones and his hair was really rough - not exactly the picture of health. In just a few days of feeding and caring he completely recovered and lives now very happily with us. And he cannot imagine what’s waiting for him - three little fluffy brothers!

I may sound a bit cat addicted - because I actually am - but it’s time to go back to the real subject of this blog: the duckies. Because we have some really exciting news about them. Just only seeing their embryo growing more and more until the egg looked completely black at the candling was an amazing experience. But seeing the first cracks on the eggs and hearing three high voices cheep-cheeping from the inside - well, that really makes you feel like a mommy!

Day 33 means that there are just two days to go before their official birth (we later found out that our duck race takes 35 days instead of the traditional 28 to come into the world). And two of the three eggs seem actually really close to the hatching. Compared to the others, however, the third egg looked always late: embryo generally smaller, somehow slower to grow up… Indeed, he is now the only ducky that still hasn’t cracked his shelter. If this means that he will be born later than the others, we still don’t know. (Or perhaps she is just a delicate girl with less muscles than her two powerful brothers…)

We are really excited about the next developments of the situation and we certainly will post more about it very soon!

Growing Aliveness

One week after the first candling we repeated again the procedure. During this time, small veins grew around the embryo: a clear sign that there is aliveness inside the egg!

A Little Training 
We did a trip to the animal park and met one duck that was obviously used to humans. It will be really nice to feed personally our duckies, but we also want them to learn how to survive independently in nature without any human help, so we don’t want them to associate us too much with food.

A Little Training 

We did a trip to the animal park and met one duck that was obviously used to humans. It will be really nice to feed personally our duckies, but we also want them to learn how to survive independently in nature without any human help, so we don’t want them to associate us too much with food.