A Corcrain man who keeps ducks in his back garden says he is at a loss to know why there has been a string of complaints against him.
Ken Howard, who lives in Hartfield Square, says that after a year of visits from different agencies, the final straw came this week when a planning official arrived.
He said, “I have a few steel posts up with some mesh over it to keep the cats out. She said somebody had complained about the ducks, took a few notes and them left.”
Mr Howard, who built up his collection of Muscovy and Cayuga ducks after starting with one pair just over a year ago, said the ducks posed neither a smell nor a noise nuisance.
In that time, he said, he had been visited by organisations including the council’s environmental health department and the Department of Agriculture (DARD) following complaints. “The only problem the DARD official found was that one of the birds had a few sores on its feet, so I took it to the vet,” he explained.
In fact, he claimed, the ducks had proved an educational tool for the children and young people in the estate. “Two of them did projects for school on them. I also have an incubator and whenever the eggs are due to hatch, the kids come round to watch and feed them.
“It’s something most of them have never seen before.”
Mr Howard also says there is an environmental aspect to his hobby. “I noticed there aren’t that many ducks on some of the rivers and lakes so I release them into the wild gradually.
“I did have a noisy cockerel but I got rid of it. I have another one now and it might crow for a short time in the morning but when I open the window it stops.
“They get the best of food and care, they have a pond and I use about a gallon of disinfectant a week, so there is no smell. As far as I am aware, the complaints are coming from just one person but I don’t know why.
“I suffer from depression and the ducks are a form of therapy for me.”
A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said environmental health had been in contact with the resident, and had inspected the premises. “There were no issues and no further action was needed,” she said.