If you see duck and dining in the same sentence, you probably figure somebody is preparing some fancy cuisine.

That is not the case here. So why did University of Montana Dining acquire six Welsh Harlequin ducks? They are on the job at the South Avenue Garden, which is adjacent to the Iron Griz Restaurant. The ducks are managing pests and weeds, along with providing eggs and natural fertilizer. UM dining garden manager Anastasia Orkwiszewski says that Welsh Harlequins are good layers and they tend to be calmer and friendlier than other breeds.

The ducks arrived in Missoula just shortly after hatching. Now that they're maturing, they make the UM dining garden's "duck house" and pond their home. In addition to all their pest and controlling/egg laying/pooping duties, the ducks will provide unique educational opportunities Several groups of preschoolers, teachers and parents have already attended a meet and greet ceremony, with other similar events likely in the works.

So welcome, little dudes. Be proud knowing you're working for probably the only restaurant in Missoula that has its own laying poultry. And rest easy knowing you are not on the Iron Griz menu!

DB