If you’ve visited Whale House Guest House in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve before, chances are you’ve seen their famous ducks wandering around the organic garden and hanging out in their iconic duck treehouse.
Mystico, George, Snowflake and Mowhawk, the four Whale House ducks, are always up to something comical and noteworthy, like taking a dip in their splash pool, lazing around the meadow next to the organic garden, and generally passing their time waddling around.
Rain, snow, or shine, these ducks are always out and about, bringing a smile to the face of anyone that encounters them.
You don’t have to be an expert birder or professional ornithologist to notice these ducks look a little different than the mallard types, which are common at duck ponds like the one in St. John’s Bowring Park, nor do they look like the sea duck species that frequent the whale filled waters of Mobile Bay. These ducks are a special type of duck called Muscovy, and they’re wonderful for so many reasons.
In sync with the zen vibe of Whale House, Muscovy ducks are quiet, unless they’re stressed for some reason. Generally, Muscovy ducks don’t quack or make any noise outside of soft cooing sounds when they’re happy. In fact, they’re so quiet and low-key, they’re easy to miss unless you’re looking for them.
Like chickens, Muscovy ducks produce eggs, which are out of this world. If you’re an egg lover and have never tried a Muscovy duck egg, you’re really missing out on one of the finer pleasures in life. The eggs are a little larger than a chicken egg, their yolks are large, and their taste is amazing.
The Whale House ducks have an easy life and are fed a diet of organic compost, brown rice, corn, and select seasonal treats, making their eggs some of the best on the Avalon peninsula. Each female Muscovy duck can produce up to 200 eggs a year, making them an ideal pet for anyone that wants the added benefit of fresh eggs whenever they want.
A little known fact about duck eggs is that they’re often an ideal choice for folks who have an intolerance to chicken eggs since the structure of proteins in duck eggs is considerably different than chicken eggs (source). Always check with your doctor or health care specialist before trying any eggs if you suffer from a serious allergy to eggs, but know to substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs has been the solution form many that suffer from egg allergies.
Ducks eggs are just a sideline bonus when it comes to the benefits of Muscovy ducks. Because Muscovy ducks have a relatively long life span (an average of 8 years), you can take your time and get to know them.
Each of the Whale House Guest House ducks has its own distinct personality, like Mystico, (she stands out with her shiny black feathers), who is the obvious rebel of the group and Mowhawk, the one duck that’s the easiest to feed by hand.
When it comes to cleaning, Muscovy ducks come out on top again. Muscovy ducks are exceptionally clean animals. Often times you can see them taking a dip in their duck pool and then taking the time to expertly groom their feathers while soaking up some sunshine. Muscovy ducks also produce some of the best well-balanced fertilizer around, which means letting them root around your garden will make everything grow better.
Like many duck species, Muscovy ducks are well adapted to cold winter weather. In many ways, they prefer it. Just check in on the ducks when the weather is a little inclement, say when it’s raining sideways or during the peak of a winter snowstorm. Often times Mystico, Snowflake, Mowhawk, and George will be out in Whale House Guest House lane or standing in a snowbank. No doubt, they’re well suited to life here on the edge of the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve.
Throughout the summer, the Whale House Ducks are insect control experts, eating up flies and mosquitoes in the area. People often wonder why enjoying a summertime BBQ at Whale House Guest House is so pleasant. Now you know.
There is a long litany of benefits to the Muscovy ducks at Whale House.
- They’re wonderful pets and companions,
- they are easy to take care of, and
- give back much more than you could ever imagine.
- Of all these great features and benefits, the best is the hilarity the Whale House ducks bring to everyday life.
Nothing comes even close. They’re clumsy and awkward, always up to something, and generally funny. Need to improve your mood by a level or two? Just enjoy a coffee or tea while observing the ducks. At a minimum, George, Snowflake, Mystico, and Mohawk will put a smile on your face, and sometimes they might even fundamentally change the way you look at the universe.