Ducks eat snails in the vineyard, save pesticides

Don’t anybody say that ducks are of no value except for eating or providing eggs. Here we have a group of Indian Runner Ducks—a breed of domestic mallard that walks (or rather runs) upright, and can barely get off the ground—being most useful in controlling pests. In this case, they eat snails infesting a South African vineyard. The Youtube notes say this:

They’re short, they waddle, and they’re coming to eat the snails. Meet the quack squad, nature’s very own pest control. Every morning, duck farmer Denzel Metthys releases over 1,000 Indian Runner ducks on the Vergenoegd Winery in South Africa. Trained to march in a long line en route to the vineyard, these ducks mean business.

Denzel is a man after my own heart. He clearly loves his animals, cuddles and raises the ducklings, and describes himself as a “duck farmer”. That’s what I am!

Thanks to reader Jon for sending me the video.

16 Comments

  1. b
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I love this!

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’ll bet those ducks are not allowed in France.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      I had the same thought!

  3. Barry Lyons
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I love this!

  4. rickflick
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to have some.

  5. Jeff Chamberlain
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    PCC(E), do you eat ducks (not the ones from the pond, of course)?

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      He has…! Shhhhh…. 🤫

      But this is like the song On Ilkley Moor…

      … Then t’ducks’ll come an’ eyt up t’worms…
      Then us’ll go an’ eyt up t’ducks…

  6. mallardbrad
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Terrific story! Love it!

  7. Linda Calhoun
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m a big fan of biological pest control. I use mosquito donuts, grasshopper spore, petromalid wasps, ladybugs, and praying mantises.

    I applaud rotational grazing systems that employ chickens released three days behind cattle to eat the newly hatched fly larvae in the manure.

    There is so much creativity and effectiveness out there!! Bravo to all who contribute to a healthier world.

    L

    • C.
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Mosquito donuts are the worst flavor of donut, especially the jelly-filled ones.

  8. C.
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Considering the yearly growth in numbers, how soon until PCC(E) is marching 1000 ducks around Botany pond?

    As for duck eggs, I’ve never eaten one. Don’t think I’ve ever even seen them for sale. Is that a more European thing, or regional?

  9. Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    It looks like a good place to do a tour if you’re ever in Cape Town–

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g312673-d3485972-Reviews-Vergenoegd_Low_The_Wine_Estate-Stellenbosch_Western_Cape.html

    (Some nice photos on that site, including lots of ducks and some wines named after runner ducks!)

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Don’t anybody say that ducks are of no value except for eating or providing eggs.

    I suppose it would be in bad taste (even though it tastes great) to mention foie gras here?

    As a general matter, I abjure gavage — except perhaps as regards the condemned’s last meal (in which case the duck or goose can take one for the team) — but did I mention how great it tastes? 🙂

  11. Frank Bath
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Love it. Such a heart lifting story.
    Curious I searched for ‘Do Ducks Eat Grapes?’ Apparently they do.

  12. jedijan
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Years ago we bought my Father a muscovy duck to help him eradicate the snails in the garden. Very effective but it would hound him impatiently every time he was out there … expected him to find the snails! This duck had an aggressive nature so had to be put in a moveable pen as it would not leave the bull terrier alone; it simply was not very bright as it never learned! It had a penchant for messing on the back steps too so a bit of a slip hazard.

  13. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    A co-worker would take delight in describing how his parents’ ducks would hunt down the slugs and eat them, causing long strands of slug slime to be left dangling from their bills. When we were eating our lunch together.


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