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Vineyard Keeps Vines Pest-Free with the Help of This Adorable 900-Duck Army

Vergenoegd Wine Estate, a small vineyard in South Africa, keeps the use of chemicals to a minimum with the help of a 900-strong army of ducks that make sure all the vines are always free of pests and snails.

One of the last things you would expect to see on a vineyard is a large group of ducks running around, quacking and looking or things to feast on. And yet that’s the sight you’re very likely to behold at Vergenoegd Wine Estate, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. A feathery army of 900 Indian Runner Ducks is unleashed through the grape vines two times a day – once at 9.45am and again at 3.30pm – and allowed to feast on any pests and snails they can find. Over the years, the ducks have become a tourist attraction of sorts and even have their own daily parade where visitors can watch them run to work. As you can see in the video below, it’s a pretty impressive sight.

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Photo: Vergenoegd Wine Estate

“Indian runner ducks are an unusual breed. They stand upright like penguins and instead of waddling, they run,” the Vergenoegd Wine Estate website states. “They hardly make any noise, with only the females quacking. They are the perfect breed to use in the vines, since they are mostly preoccupied with foraging snails and slugs and love to spend their days snacking away. One man’s pest is another duck’s snack.”

Nicole Arnold, an employee of the South African vineyard, said Indian runner ducks have been used on the property for around 30 years, after being introduced by former owner John Faure, who “has an amazing love for feathery birds”. Vergenoegd now has its own flock of ducks, which constantly numbers between 700 and 900 birds, which are carefully looked after by the resident duck expert, Denzil.

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Photo: Vergenoegd Wine Estate

“Having the Ducks on the farm have definitely helped us by not having to use as much pesticides in our vineyards which also allows the good bugs to live and the not so good ones to be eaten by the ducks,” Nicole added. While they’re hunting for pests, the birds also help fertilize the vines, which is obviously an added bonus.

Although the Indian runner ducks are apparently “a little skittish” and don’t really interact with visitors, they are definitely a draw for tourists who love nothing more than just watch them toward their workplace every day. Visitors at Vergenoegd Wine Estate get to roam around the premises and even check out the ducklings in their heat-controlled nursery.

 

This duck army is not the world’s only quaking, flapping tourist attraction. The Peabody Hotel in Memphis is famous for its marching ducks. The daily March of the Peabody Ducks is a popular event enjoyed by visitors both young and old.

 

Sources: Business Insider, The Telegraph