The slug patrol team arrived a few days late. They’re also kind of small for their job, so we’re going to have them do some serious eating and body building to get them in shape. We have some big slugs around here and these guys are here to get rid of them! Slugs have given us much grief in our garden over the years, and we’re ready to strike back.

Actually, these guys are Fawn and White Indian Runner Ducklings. They love to eat slugs, but right now they can only handle the really small ones. They are about 9 or 10 days old now and are either eating or sleeping most of the time.

They have a very interesting way to eat slugs…..they get the slug in their bill and then jerk their head forward and back until they can swallow. In his book, Four-Season Harvest, Eliot Coleman describes this slug eating action as follows:

“Not having found an existing word to describe this duck-bill action, an almost belligerent back-and-forth head motion with the bill deep in crevices while small beady eyes search for snacks, we have christened it ‘snarfeling.’ Whether practiced in the frames, the garden, or the lawn, snarfeling is a highly effective pest control practice.”

Charlie built the ducklings a cool looking duck house with wheels so we can roll it around to fertilize different parts of the yard. I don’t have a picture of the duck house yet, but I will take one soon and post it on the web site. It has handles like a wheel barrow for rolling it around the yard. The floor is wire mesh and there is a door so we can lock them up at night to protect them from the racoons.

Indian Runners are an interesting duck as they stand upright almost like a penguin when they are nervous. They look almost like bowling pins when they stand this way. They are also well known for their egg laying abilities. I read that they can even outlay chickens in number of eggs laid per year! You can see pictures and read more about Indian Runner ducks at this web site:

I have five pictures of the ducklings online so far, and I will be posting more pictures as they grow up over the next couple months, so check back often. To view the pictures, go to:

P.S. Please use the link provided to post your comments about this article. I enjoy getting e-mail comments, but using the link provided will save your comments to the web site where we can come back for years to come to read comments that different people posted. I would really appreciate some comments posted to the web site. Thanks!

By Published On: April 22, 2005Categories: Gardening2 Comments


  1. Carolyn Ford April 24, 2005 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Matthew, thank you for your good article and photo of the Indian Runner Ducklings. Maybe if our slugs get too numerous we can borrow a couple to do slug patrol here at Grandmother’s.

  2. Farmer Farnell April 25, 2005 at 8:13 am - Reply


    Glad to see that the slug patrol has arrived. I have only one on patrol at our farm so the slugs don’t go extinct. Next I might need something for bee patrol as mine have been swarming and at least one swarm refuses to move into a hive. See ya.

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