By Meera Seghal ‘22
But Senior Abby Harper can.
Well, not exactly by the television star. Instead, a fluffy white Danny Devito fills in as Abby’s alarm clock, quacking until she drags herself out of bed. On her farm in Coatesville, Abby raises her ten Anas platyrhynchos domesticus, otherwise known as call ducks. And she surely did not miss the opportunity to create the greatest line-up of names: Puddles, Waddles, Donald, Daisy, Amelia, Dr. Quackers, Danny Devito, Scruffy, Big Jack, and Humphrey.
The call ducks, known for their unique, high-pitched call, were formerly used in hunting. “The hunters would release them and their call would attract wild ducks,” explains Harper. These days, however, there isn’t as much of a demand for them; they are mainly featured in shows and reared as pets. This much smaller variation of mallard is sometimes still referred to as a “decoy duck” because of their original purpose.
Harper chose the ducks, not for their distinctive call, but for their eye-catching attractiveness. She knew she wanted some sort of farm animal ever since her family bought their farm:“I kind of knew I wanted ducks because I don’t really like chickens–they’re kind of messy,” Harper said. “I just think ducks are so much cuter.”
Harper’s love for her ducks extends beyond her farm. This summer, Harper created an instagram account for her beloved ducks. “I just had so many pictures of them, and I didn’t really want to put it on my main account, so I just made an Instagram account where I could put all of their pictures.”
Harper hopes that through this account, she can share all of her duck’s adorable and funny stories with the rest of the world. Her friends have even nicknamed her “The Duck Mom.”
Harper’s morning routine consists of waking up usually around six to change their water and give them food. On some days, her parents accompany her to take care of the ducks. Her ducks can be very loud on some days, so she lets them out to burn their energy while running, or relax in their very own pool. She goes back in the afternoon around five o’clock in the evening to let them out of their pen while she feeds her horses.
The introduction of the ducks into Harper’s family has created more work for her, especially since she also owns horses, but to her, it is definitely worth it. “They’ve brought a lot of joy into my family’s life, and everyone loves them.”