Friday I had to visit three farmers to get some paperwork signed and the last one I visited was Travis. He was out cutting alfalfa for hay so I met him at the field he was working in.
Alfalfa is a perennial legume that is in the pea family. It grows slowly, but after a few weeks forms a very thick ground cover. If a field is empty it can be planted to hold the ground in place to prevent erosion.
It does not grow very well in warm climate, so I had never seen any until I moved to South Dakota. It is primarily used for cattle feed and is great because of its high protein content. In the Dakotas you can cut it anywhere from 3-5 times a year, in climates in places like California it can be harvested up to 12 times. It is very thick and bushy like. When it is cut the roots and stubble remain and that is where it grows back.
I showed up and he was off the tractor with his hat in hand running around trying to pick up something. I walked out there and in his hand he had three ducks. While cutting he had came across a duck nest and we looked for the others, but were unable to find any others in the thick brush. I had a bucket in my truck so I put them in the bucket and off we went. They are probably the most harmless hitch hikers I could have picked up. They sat in their bucket in the back seat and I only heard a few peeps.
I called my boss who was a wildlife major in college and she suggested trying to put them where other ducks are and another duck might take them in. She said that ducks will often serve as surrogate mothers. So I decided to take them to a lake near my house where I had seen mother and baby ducks. First I stopped by and showed Mr. and Mrs. Hagen (the people I live with) the baby ducks.
They were so sweet and so cute, I was sad to leave them, but I am sure they are much happier by the lake with the other ducks.