It's a beautiful day here and momma duck wanted out so I made a way for her to escape the pen but not the ducklings. She wouldn't leave without them. So, I enlisted my pups, got a chair, the plastic rake (and camera), made sure the wannabe baby killers were in the pond. Then Rocket, Luna and I escorted the family of 7 past the pond (dogs are great deterrents, just have them lay down between the pond and the trail!), under the power lines and to the culvert that flows from the swamp into a little pool. Once momma figured out she could go there and NOT into the swamp itself (that's when the rake came in handy), she and the youngsters had a grand time. The two oldest even dove and swam under water. The others paddled about and everyone nibbled at the edges of the mud banks. After about an hour mom kept climbing the bank and looking around, presumably at me and the dogs, to see where we were.
I suspected, she wouldn't get the ducklings out with us all sitting there, so we left the area. I placed Rocket by the pond again, and took Luna up to the house. Next thing I know, there they were right where Rocket had been (he stayed till the last second but decided he wanted to be with me and Luna, too). Momma may have been looking at the pond, then again, she may have just been wary as to the location of the wannabe baby killers. I took no chances and ran to the pond and stood there till she and her ducklings headed toward the house. Then the dogs and I slowly walked behind while they waddled back into the garage.
They are now safely enclosed, momma on her eggs, and the 6 in a semi-circle under the heat lamp. I can't do this every day, too time consuming, but at least a couple times a week wouldn't be bad. The next time, I'll get Hal to watch them at the culvert while I replace the straw in the pen.