While it may sound like “quackery,” farmer Meirion Owen came up with the idea of using his sheepdogs to herd ducks instead of sheep. He’s even turned them into a display team known as the Quack Pack that’s helped keep farming alive in his family.
The 53-year-old farmer likes to march to the beat of his own drum. And, his intelligent and agile dogs can get a flock of Indian runner ducks to go through all kinds of obstacles. The unusual site of seeing dogs herd poultry has proved popular with festival crowds, corporate firms and even people planning their weddings In fact, he now gets more than 130 bookings a year.
Owen told the Daily Mail, “My father and grandfather were both good with sheepdogs and I just followed the family tradition. We used them on the farm as well as taking part in competitions. The idea behind the Quack Pack came when I was asked to put on a display to promote sheepdogs and we decided to use a small bantam hen and six ducklings rather than sheep.
“The dogs love working any kind of livestock. Most people think they only herd sheep, but they’ve always played a role in helping return the poultry to a locked pen each night – so the fox can’t get at them. So, as well as being a bit different, using birds for a display rather than sheep was easier in terms of transport.”
“I was surprised at how well it took off,” he added.
Mr Owen and his Quack Pack have performed at the biggest agricultural festivals in the United Kingdom, put on shows at Blenheim Palace and Earl’s Court, and have even made television show appearances.
“I didn’t expect it to be such the success that it has been,” the Rhos Yr Hafod, Carmarthenshire, resident said.
“I used to do it on weekends and a few days holiday. Six years ago I left my job in the agricultural supply industry and haven’t looked back since. I probably now do around 35,000 miles a year.”
Owen also explained that he’s very grateful.
“I’m very lucky because farming is not what it used to be. This farm wouldn’t sustain a living on it’s own and like most farmers I’ve had to diversify.”
Watch Meirion Owen’s Quack Pack at the Cardiff Country Show here: