Now that they have learnt to ride in the ‘duck-mobile’ and are getting out into the vineyards, Avondale’s ducks had a special outing to visit the children at our crèche and after-care centre. Pre-school teacher, Nadia Retief used the opportunity to explain to the children how the ducks play a role in our balanced vineyard ecosystem by eating the snails and slugs. The ducks showed there is more to them than just cute and cuddly by doing a quick clean up of the school’s flowerbeds and veggie garden! Avondale has established a community centre on the farm that includes the well-resourced crèche and after care facilities for the children who live on our farm. Nadia and her assistants ensure that these children are exposed to vital learning and development opportunities in a safe and stimulating environment. A nutrition programme at the crèche also provides balanced meals every day of the week.
Avondale’s employment of ducks on snail patrol is one of our many natural pest management methods. These ducks are entrained from young to voluntarily gather in the custom-made ‘duck-mobile’ and go out each weekday in the vineyards to do their work. Happily, they waddle between the vines and forage in the cover crops for snails. They are a highly effective and cost-efficient team who protect us from the damage that snails can do without having to resort to poisonous bait or the organically approved substitutes for snail control. We have learnt from Nature that there are always better alternatives and we are constantly seeking new ways to strengthen our ecosystem as a whole.