TANEYTOWN — The six ducks waddling around the pen were among the most peculiar-looking waterfowl imaginable.
There was the proud, upright Indian runner duck; the darkly colored, mysterious Rouen duck; and the sartorially bizarre white-crested duck, with its fluffy, bouffant-like hairdo.
Still, something was missing as Uniontown farmer Ray Jenkinson displayed his ducks to a group of students outside Taneytown ElementarySchool yesterday.
"Where's Donald Duck?" second-grader Robbie Simmons asked the farmer.
All Jenkinson could do was chuckle and shake his head, because it was Farm Day at the school, and the students' unusual queries were as numerous as the farm animals that visited theschool for the day.
For 10 years, the Carroll County Farm Bureau,with help from the Carroll County Future Farmers of America, has been traveling to schools with a variety of farm-life exhibits to share with students.
The goal of the program is to help students developan appreciation of the role of agriculture in their economy and society, said Jean Knill, Farm Bureau information director.
The students also learn some more basic facts, such as where their food comes from, and that only female ducks actually quack.
"The kids are loving it," said Jane Kacmarski, a reading instructor at the 440-student school.
Under sunny, blue skies at Taneytown Elementary, the Farm Bureau set up a number of stations, each featuring a different aspectof farm life.
Among the 20 people helping conduct Farm Day were nine Francis Scott Key High School students who are members of the Carroll County FFA.
During the day, 18 classes of Taneytown students -- Head Start pupils through second-graders -- each spent about 90 minutes touring the stations.
In the school's auditorium, the students huddled around an incubator and watched chicks hatch before their eyes.
Outdoors on the school grounds, the pupils learned about pigs, petted a cow and a 5-day-old calf, ran their fingers across the serrated edge of a duck's bill and viewed farm equipment.
The exhibit housing the four pigs was particularly popular with the students.
"I like them because they're real soft and cute," said 7-year-old John Packer, a second-grader.
Julie Feeser, who raises pigs on her family's farm near here, fielded such questions from second-graders as, "Can we pet them?" and "What do you use to cut them up?" and "Canyou sell me a pig?"
"We have lots of pigs for sale, but I think you'd have to ask your parents first," Feeser told the youngsters.
The ducks also were a big hit with the children.
"These are not familiar birds," Jenkinson said. "I brought them so the kids would see something different."
Jenkinson displayed duck eggs and gave the students corn feed to give to the birds.
"Want to eat some corn, dude?" 8-year-old Luke Amoss asked one of the creatures.
Although many of the students live in rural areas, they still learn about farming during Farm Day, Knill said.
"There are still many children who live out in the country but are not associated with farming," she said. "Each time we visit their school, they learn a little more."