Council goes quackers over Eyemouth duck

Jessica and Ducky who thinks its a fowl decision by the council to have Ducky evicted from her allotment home.
Jessica and Ducky who thinks its a fowl decision by the council to have Ducky evicted from her allotment home.

A DUCK that used to spend its days watching TV in its owners house in Eyemouth could soon have to leave the area after Scottish Borders Council said it’s not allowed to stay in its new home on the town’s allotments.

Female duck Ducky arrived in Eyemouth after local man James Anderson, having successfully reared a number of other birds, bought some duck eggs from ebay. Only one of these eggs hatched and with nowhere else for Ducky to go, James looked after her in his home at Hurkur Crescent and she became a popular family pet, particularly with his young niece Jessica.

In June this year James took on a plot at Eyemouth allotments and realising Ducky had grown too big to live at home, he set up a meeting with Eye Grow, the organisation in charge of the allotments and East Berwickshire Councillor Michael Cook to see if it would be possible for Ducky, and a few other ducks, to move into an aviary there.

He told ‘The Berwickshire News’ he was given the green light and Ducky and her fellow ducks have become part of the community over the last few months. However, SBC claim there was never such an agreement and now the birds’ time in Eyemouth could come to an abrupt end after the local authority issued a letter to James and his fellow plot holders last month refusing to let them keep ducks, geese and pigeons on the allotment overnight.

The council’s course of action prompted three holders to leave but James is determined to stand his ground and has launched a petition to keep his ducks on site, which has so far gathered 182 signatures.

James contacted the paper earlier this week to spread the word about his campaign and said: “When I had the meeting with Rachel Hammond, the chair of Eye Grow and Councillor Cook, neither had anything negative to say about my proposal so for the council to have done this has come as a big surprise.

“Ducky and the other ducks have become a real attraction in the town. People walk past daily to see Ducky and the other ducks and I’ve also taken her into Jessica’s nursery.

“The first time she was only two days old but I took her in again when she was six weeks old and the children all want to know how she is keeping. They are due to visit the allotment in the spring to see how she is getting on and I really hope she’ll still be there.

“Having ducks on the allotments has a number of organic benefits, one of the main ones being that they are good for slugging. I’ve sent in a five page proposal to the council outlining all of the positives but I’ve yet to hear back.

“Jessica has become really attached to Ducky and she’s really upset at the thought she might not be here for much longer.”

But addressing the issue, a spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said there had been a misunderstanding between parties and ducks should never have been allowed to stay on the allotment.

They commented: “Currently, only chickens are allowed to be kept on the site. The Council has at no point, verbally or otherwise, agreed to let anything but chickens on the allotments. We don’t anticipate any changes to the terms of the lease in respect of other poultry being allowed on the site. However, we welcome any correspondence from Mr Anderson or any other members of the local community.”