Like a duck to pool water

By Amy Shanks

A mother duck which shunned the wild to hatch and raise nine fluffy newborn babies in a local's back yard, has taken over a family's swimming pool.

Kevin and Maryanne Botherway first encountered the duck when it flew onto their Taradale property with two male companions about a month ago.

"They kept landing on the pool and we had to keep chasing them away," Mr Botherway said.

"Then lo and behold, we noticed the female in the flax bushes, sitting on nine eggs.

"My son actually found the nest. He was swimming in the pool and the duck hissed at him."

After keeping an eye on the mother, which came and went to feed, they were surprised to find the ducklings had hatched and were taking their first dip on Wednesday afternoon.

"I didn't think they would actually hatch. But as you can see by the photo, we now have nine babies. They're little cuties."

A wooden ramp had been set up so the ducklings could gain easy access to the water.

The Botherways had to keep their pets away from the feathered family.

"They are semi-welcome. We have got a cocker spaniel, so we are making sure not to let her out the front or else she would be in the pool chasing them around.

"We have a cat as well."

The new visitors also made it difficult for the family to cool off in the summer heat.

"Unfortunately, we can't swim in our pool, so that's a bit tricky in this hot weather."

It was believed the ducks might have come from Anderson Park, about three blocks away, to look for a secure nesting spot.

The Botherways had contacted the SPCA, Forest and Bird and Hawke's Bay Fish and Game for advice on what to do next.

"We were told we could either relocate them ourselves, or wait for the mother to relocate them when they can fly," Mrs Botherway said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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