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Robert and LaFaye McFerrin Go Quackers for Rubber Ducks

This Wedgwood couple are the beneficiaries of over 2,000 ducky friends.

By Angela Cabotaje Photography by Chona Kasinger January 6, 2023

Robert and LaFaye McFerrin set up a rubber duck summer camp outside their Wedgwood home.

It all started one Easter over a decade ago. Married couple Robert and LaFaye McFerrin set out duck decoys—objects they often found while paddling Washington's many waterways—in the front yard of their Wedgwood home. For the holiday, they added plastic Easter eggs to create a faux nest of sorts. 

"Somebody broke those eggs apart and put little rubber ducks that made it look like they've hatched," Robert recalls. "So ever since then, people have just been leaving ducks in the yard. We're not really collecting them. We're just receiving them."

Robert estimates they've been gifted over 2,000 plastic fowl, ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Mozart, princesses to pirates. They have enough now that, every month, they create a seasonal display in their front yard. "I assume as long as we live in this house, we'll do it," Robert says.

Robert on their surprising duck windfall

"We've gotten times they'll just end up on the porch, and we'll get letters that say, 'Can we come live in your house?'"

"One time somebody drove by and threw it out the car window. We consider that a drive-by duck chucking."

"We don't turn them away. But, you know, we'll tell people they might not see them out very often."

Robert on creating those displays

"One time somebody had given us a John Lennon duck. We put the John Lennon duck out and we got the ducks and spelled 'Give peace a chance.'"

"We usually go for current events or holidays. The Super Bowl and Mariners and Olympics. When the U.S. Open was here some years ago, we did the U.S. Open. The ideas come from the visitors. People come by and we'll ask them what they want and they'll give us ideas."

"It takes us up to three hours, sometimes a little bit longer because we have props. Sometimes we have to build the props."

LaFaye on their reputation as the "Duck House"

"The kids that know the Duck House will be talking about the Duck House. They see it, they go, 'There's the Duck House.' You know, they'll point and try to get out of the harness of their stroller or throw their bike down and start looking."

"Someone in the neighborhood made little booklets and she surprised us with it and it had all the different displays on it. And then the elementary school, they had the theme of ducks for their yearbook. It had ducks all over it."

Robert on their feel-good hobby

"We have gotten only one vandalism. If you remember the year that we won the Super Bowl, we had gotten our ducks and we had fashioned the score. I think it was like 46 to seven or something like that. Somebody kicked those numbers apart. I was looking for Peyton Manning but I couldn't find him." [Editor's note: The final score of the 2014 Super Bowl was 43-8.]

"We get a lot of nice comments about it. We enjoy it because we can go out there, and if people are standing there for too long, we'll go out there and talk to them. Back when Covid first started in the winter of 2020, I think we got a lot more people walking by in the neighborhood."

"We have our neighbors and friends come over and help put it together, so it's all a social thing."

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