Edmonton

Lord love 'em: Alberta house pets give new meaning to 'domestic ducks'

In the age of exotic pets, Fort Saskatchewan sisters Jade and Geena Simpson may have the most unusual creature companions in town.

Family thought they were quackers, but sisters says ducks are messy yet lovable

Pylon and Donkey belong to Jade and Geena Simpson of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. (Wallis Snowdon/CBC)

Ducks are hardly considered exotic — unless you're talking about house pets. In that case, Fort Saskatchewan sisters Jade and Geena Simpson might have the most exotic pets in town. 

Other people might think they're quackers but the Simpson sisters, who figure they're the only residents of the community who have opened their door to pet ducks, say Donkey and Pylon make great companions.

That said, without the benefit of a nearby farmyard, pet ducks do have challenges, Jade Simpson said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

Namely, potty training. 

"It's a lot. They poop constantly. As soon as they eat, it just goes right through them," she said.

"Other than that, they're perfect." 

The sisters have gone to great lengths to keep the droppings from, er, dropping. They found duck diapers online but, on trying them out, found they didn't stay on. They then tried making their own.

"We used newborn diapers when they were smaller and just snapped them on with suspenders that we made but they didn't stay on either," Jade said. 

The ducks were a gift from Jade to Geena for her 13th birthday in June. 

Jade, 20, admits that she had to wait until her boyfriend, who was less than enthusiastic about the idea, to fall asleep so she could steal away to an acreage to complete the duck adoption. 

She paid $30 for the pair and brought them home in her car.

"I had been thinking about it for a long time," she said."I got one for Geena and one for me." 

Geena was overjoyed. The rest of the family, not so much.

"They didn't like it at first, they did not understand, but now they love them," Jade said. "Our mom probably loves them more than we do now."  

Geena and Jade Simpson brought their beloved pets into the CBC Edmonton radio studios for a visit. (Wallis Snowdon/CBC)

In the six months since bringing the ducklings home, Donkey and Pylon have made a flap with the residents of Fort Saskatchewan. 

Pylon was featured in the local newspaper after staging an escape and taking a gander through neighbourhood streets. 

And they're amassing a following on their dual-duck Instagram account. 

Still, Jade hopes they don't attract too much attention: she's not actually certain if they're running afowl (pun intended) of city bylaws.

"It's just one of those grey areas that no one talks about, so we just go with that." 

In spite of doo-doo and early morning squawking, the sisters are convinced that ducks are worth the extra effort. 

"Once they get to trust you, they really like to be around. We take them for walks and they won't leave us. 

"If you put them in a towel, they'll cuddle with you. They just love to be around people." 

About the Author

Wallis Snowdon

Journalist

Wallis Snowdon is a digital journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has nearly a decade of experience reporting behind her. Originally from New Brunswick, her journalism career has taken her from Nova Scotia to Fort McMurray. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca

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