Watch This Army of Ducks Help a Farmer in Need

A drone was used to capture aerial footage of how ducks are employed in Thailand as a form of biological pest control in rice fields.

The footage, released by the news division of the Canadian Global Television Network (and shared by BoingBoing), captures the moment a flock of approximately 10,000 Khaki Campbell ducks are released from a pen on to a farm in the central province of Nakhon Pathom, northwest of the capital city of Bangkok.

The ducks swarm across the 15 acre rice farm, where they will spend a week consuming rice hulls left behind after the harvest and cleaning the field of pests.

"They help eat golden apple snails and remains of unwanted rice husks that drop into the field from last harvest," rice farmer Prang Sipipat says in the video. "The ducks also step on the rice stubble to flatten the ground and make it easier to plough."

The golden apple snail, native to South America, has become one of the most destructive invasive species in the world, consuming native aquatic vegetation and devastating rice crops around the world, from the United States to the Philippines.

The duck flock belongs to breeder Apiwat Chalermklin, 34, who rotates four different flocks around the province, from field to field after each of the three annual crops. The duck flock is young—about 20 days from nursery—and will be used for the production of eggs after several months feeding in fields.

"The benefit is that we reduce costs to feed the ducks," Chalermklin says. "In return, for the rice farmers, the ducks help eat pests from the farm and the farmers can reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides."

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A farmer watches over ducks in a rice field in the Thai province of Kanchanaburi in October 2005. PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP via Getty Images

The Khaki Campbell ducks in Chalermklin's flock originate from a breed developed by British poultry-keeper Adele Campbell and introduced in 1901. Named for their color and resemblance to British army uniforms, Campbell created the Khaki Campbell by cross-breeding Rouen and Mallard domestic ducks with the Indian Runner breed, which became popular among European breeders after their importation from Indonesia (not India) at the end of the 19th century. The Khaki Campbell ducks are prized for their prolific egg laying.

Heavily reliant on tourism, Thailand's economy has been hard-hit by COVID travel restrictions, while rice and sugar production has suffered due to a devastating drought earlier this year—the worst country has experienced in four decades, according to the Bangkok Post. Subsequent tropical storms overwhelmed dykes and flooded more than 500 villages in the northern provinces of the country.

The second largest exporter of both rice and sugar, in September Thailand pledged nearly $200 million toward both flood and drought mitigation. Both global warming related weather affects and higher temperatures caused by global warming are projected to reduce worldwide rice yields throughout the next century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, released in 2014 (the Sixth Assessment will be completed in 2022).

Future sea level rise could also put much of Bangkok, home to more than 8 million people, beneath annual flood heights by 2050. The ducks can swim.