I left the pigshed with an empty feed bucket, turned the corner whistling a happy tune before becoming aware of the 'slap-slap-slap' growing closer. They'd found me.
By the time I reached the barn they were almost on me. It was all I could do to dive through the door and slam it shut behind me. Safe for the time being.
I've never had much to do with ducks. At least not since my Grandad used to take a three-year-old Malc to St Stephen's Green in Dublin with a loaf filched from Granny's kitchen.
Since then I've led a pretty much duck-free existence (unless you count pancakes and plum sauce). Nothing that's happened in the last 45 years qualifies me in any way to be a duck-keeper. So, guess what? I'm learning on the hoof again. Or on the webbed-foot, if you like.
What have I learned so far? Ducks aren't as good mothers as hens. . . or pigs. . . or some humans even. We lost some little ducklings in the early days, but most have survived and now live in a world where it always seems to be mealtime.
That's the other thing I've learned. Ducks eat an enormous amount. Our 13 eat at least as much in a day as a fully-grown sow and it didn't take them long to realise that the pig "farmer" was the man to come to for second helpings.
Every time I poke my nose outside the door there's a whole lotta quacking* and flapping until I give in and get the grain scoop out. I've tried sneaking away and avoiding them, but they are crafty and persistent, dogging my tracks all over the "farm".
That's all very well - nice to be popular and all that - but it got ridiculous the other day when I set off for the village. As I took the car down the lane, I glanced at the wing mirror and saw 13 ducks thundering along in pursuit. Anyone that desperate for elevenses deserves a little extra, that's what I say.
Anyhow, all these meals are making them all big and bonny and they'll be 'ready' any day now. Get the plum sauce ready.
* An early working title from Led Zep's second album. They made a minor alteration and the rest is rock history.