Duck soup

12 Jul

If you have landed on this page expecting to find the best duck soup recipe for your dinner tonight, you will unfortunately be disappointed, as this recipe is for ‘green duck soup’, a mixture we give to our ducks nearly daily.

Green duck soup came about early one spring as the grass started to shoot again after its winter dormancy. The normal feeding regime for the ducks during the winter until that spring morning had been to give reduced layers’ pellets rations and wheat in water. Every now and again we would feed them cabbage leaves or various other green vegetable matter and they do, occasionally, take a handful of grass, when they are feeling friendly. Increasingly, we chopped up grass shoots and added it to the water in their pool to make a ‘green duck soup’.

Duck soupFor the past year though, this has become a regular – nay daily ritual. Each morning, we prepare a mixture of various greens and add it to their water. Usually, this consists of half a bucket of fresh water along with a wide selection of green leaves, all chopped up. There is no set recipe for this duck soup, but rather it’s a question of taking a walk around the garden with the bucket and picking whatever is available and looks tasty.

In addition to the staple of grass cuttings, this green duck soup usually includes a good proportion of dandelion leaves (and the flower stems when in season). This is then supplemented with whatever else can be found in the garden which needs using. The herb garden is always a good bet and they seem to enjoy chives, sage and lemon balm in particular.

Lettuce and cabbage (any type of brassica) seems to also go down well, though interestingly, they rarely seem to enjoy cabbage bought from a shop. This is perhaps a good thing really as everything we grow in the garden is free of pesticides, which can’t be said of the commercially grown vegetables we have to buy in the off-season. The ducks are more discerning than us humans, it seems.

Duck soup

Green duck soup is different every time it is made and there are no rules to the proportions of ingredients. The one rule that is important is to give them only leaves that you would eat or that you have seen them eat. A good example of the latter is clover flowers. In the summer, our ducks often bite the flowers off the clover plants that are growing in their enclosure, so it would be safe to add them to the soup.

Now, what shall we give them today?

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