The duck experiment.

One of the major pests of Southern CA is the pesky snail.  In the spring and early summer, they’re everywhere, and to farm organically, this means lots of labor hours spent distributing natural granular snail bait to each orchard tree.  To combat the issue, John raised 100 Khaki Campbell Ducks this winter, a breed known for an insatiable appetite for escargot.  In the spring, using electric fencing, John allowed the ducks to roam the orchard, moving them weekly and monitoring their progress by literally counting the before and after.  The results were obvious.  We’re talking a 300 snail count in the morning and a count of 10 by end-of-day… real numbers.  It was working.

After a little practice, John had the whole operation running pretty seamlessly.  We even planned on ordering more ducks this winter to extend the operation to other orchards.

But, we didn’t expect this…

While our Biodynamic consultant was in town last week, we walked the orchards, per usual, comparing each Block and putting a close eye on our less vibrant areas.  Now keep in mind, all of our Lemon trees got the same treatment over the last 6 months.  The only notable change was the addition of the ducks in Block C vs. the spreading of granular snail bait.  And get this… Block C went from our weakest Block in January to our most vibrantly green Block in July.  I have no other explanation than the addition of Duck Manure.

Good job ducks.  We’ll be seeing more of you.

xo – Organic Spark

6 comments


  • Daisy

    Great blog!

    July 30, 2012
  • Kama

    Sounds good, I have snails buuuttt, I also have bad grasshoppers, ducks eat those too?

    July 30, 2012
    • graciouspie

      YES! We get ducks every summer (sweedish blues and indian runners) because they are great foragers and it keeps the bugs down around the house. (Turkeys do a great job too, but we have youngins, and turkeys scare me when they are full size, lol)

      September 27, 2012
  • Sandy Schrecengost

    That’s amazing. Way to go John. Way to go duck poop!

    July 30, 2012
  • Buddy

    ducks rule!

    July 31, 2012
  • Jeff

    That story just quacked me up, and that’s no BS.

    January 28, 2013

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