Ever watched hundreds of ducklings frolicking under a sprinkler on a sunny day? It is an absolute delight! “These are the happiest ducks you ever will see” grins Dean as beaks clack, legs wiggle and feathers fly.
Since 2009, Dean and Serene de Chazal have been growing happy ducks on Shayile, below Inhlosane. Determined that their ducks would be “dux” and taste the very best, they grow a wide variety of greens for the ducks to eat as they roam about. Wherever one looks, there is an abundance of vegetation – sunflowers, cabbages, amaranthus, wheat, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, rye and beans. Earthworms are encouraged as well, as we all know ducks are not vegetarians.
The bigger ducks have a pond to splash in on hot summer days, while the little ones are clearly quite satisfied with preening in the spray. Under the shelter, there is plenty of maize, soya and sunflower seeds dished up too. It’s a good walk from the sprinkler as they are encouraged to get plenty of exercise – across the bridges, through the ditches and around the landscaped berms, nibbling on the greenery as they go.
It’s no wonder they taste so good when they eat such a varied and healthy diet. All the top restaurants in Durban and the Midlands buy their duck. This year, Dargle Duck won the Best Producer in the Paddock Category at the Eat IN DSTV awards. Caroline McCann of Braeside Butchery in Johannesburg (who only stocks ethically produced food) commented “It tasted really, really really good,” and made a special trip to visit the farm and see for herself. “I often have people asking me to buy their free range/organic produce, but when I go to have a look it is anything but. Dargle Ducks is everything I could want and more. Their passion is phenomenal. They truly care about their ducks.”
Dean worked as a landscaper when he lived in Durban, now he admits “I landscape for my ducks”. His creativity is much in evidence – organic shelters, quirky signs, ramps to climb and the gardens, of course. Crafting better lives for ducks is obviously his mission. Serene picks a cabbage – “Mother, that is for the ducks, not your supper” he chides.
This is good, clean, fair food, produced with compassion and kindness. A real find in our world full of factory farms which appear to have forgotten that animals are sentient beings. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said recently when signing the Compassion in World Farming’s Vision for Fair Food and Farming, “I am very aware of the cruelty that we mete out to animals – whether just to fatten them just in order to slaughter them, or whether we pile up chickens and not care really for their suffering – in order to increase our profits. I hope we will learn that we are related to the animals and to Nature and if we destroy the balance, we are ultimately going to suffer and pay the price.”
Contact Dean on 082 422 0806 or catch him cooking at the next Dargle Local Market. Also read: http://www.foodwithastory.co.za/View-Business/397/Dargle-Ducks