duck, duck, GREY DUCK!

Hello all!

This has been a debate, which has been going on with my friends for a few years now. I hope you all can put it to rest for us! :slight_smile:

I grew up in Minnesota and use to play “duck, duck, Gray Duck” in school when I was little. Walking around the circle of kids…tapping each one on the head…calling them all different color duck, “purple duck…red duck…yellow duck” and so on…until we called one “Gray duck” then they were it and chased you around the circle trying to tag you until they got into your spot.

I have been told that this it not “duck, duck, gray duck” but “duck, duck, Goose!”.

Is it just a Minnesota phenomenon? The only person I have been able to find that played the same name was also from Minnesota. Or is it that just kids in Minnesota can catch the subtleties of the Gray duck game?

Thanks for dropping by and playing! :slight_smile:

It’s strictly a Minnesota phenomenon, as far as I can tell.


I grew up in northwest Iowa (about an hour from the Minnesota border), and we played Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.

I remember when this was a question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. I kept waiting for “gray duck” to be one of the choices, and it wasn’t.

I have lived all over the country since growing up in MN and the only people who say gray duck are those that grew up in MN (or in very close proximity). I’d never heard of duck-duck-goose until I turned 18 and started moving around. Those that grew up elsewhere tend to disbelieve that this common childrens game was twisted by Minney-SOWWW-tans in such a way. I find it hard to believe that so many people said “goose”, it just doesn’t sound quite right–even to this day…

I propose a Minnesota-for-Ontario trade with Canada. We’ll probably have to throw in some cash, too.

OT: I was once driving a drunk friend home, and we were stopped at a red light. He started slowly chanting “duck… duck… duck…”. Then the light turned yellow in the other direction and he started going faster, “duck duck duck duck duck”. When we got the green he yells: “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!” I was laughing so hard I had to pull over to collect myself.

YES!! Finally someone has come to my rescue. I felt like the worlds biggest dink when this made the rounds of the infamous “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” debacle- The guy misses this in the first round and is practically laughed at all accross the nation.

I, too, knew the guy got it right. The correct answer is grey duck. He had it right. A completely Minnesota thing. Kudos for bringing this up.

I never heard of it. Not in Escanaba.

Growing up in SE Pennsylvania, I learned it as “duck duck grey duck”, but you had to yell the whole phrase, not just the last two words. So it sounded like: duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck duck grey duck!

For some reason I associate this game with Vacation Bible School, which shows how well that little bit of education stuck with me, doesn’t it.

I’d be willing to bet that the VBS in question was Lutheran;)


Isn’t that like saying, “we never have heard of that in Inner Mongolia”. :wink:


As someone who grew up (and still lives) in MN, I’ve never heard “Duck Duck Goose”. I’ve heard OF it, but I’ve never heard or seen anyone actually play it. Oh, fond memories of elementary school.

C’mon don’t be shy - we know you are round here somewhere :smiley:

First you elect a wrestler governor.

Now THIS???

What is it with you guys? Is it the water?

Duck, Duck, Grey Duck?

You’re all a bunch of freaks. We played Duck, Duck, Goose when I was a kid, and never, in my life have I heard of Grey Duck…


Not in Marquette, either. 'twas duck duck goose.

jkeller: Now that you mention it, it was. (My family was Catholic, but our church didn’t have VBS; we were sent to the neighborhood Lutheran church’s VBS on the assumption that they were Practically Catholic Anyway.) Spooky. Have we uncovered a vast Lutheran conspiracy here?


No conspiracy other than the fact that most good Minnesotans are also, more likely than not, good Lutherans. It is analogous to Baptists in the South (note that the proper pronunciation in the South is Bab-diss). As a matter of fact whenever I have moved to a different region-i.e. the Southeast, the southwest or the west, I am always sure to meet other former Minnesotans by visiting the local LC-MS or ELCA Lutheran church. Often times when you tell other Lutherans who never lived in the Midwest that you hail from MN, they often comment that you are from the Lutheran capital of the US. I guess all the Norwegians, Swedes and Germans tend to prefer Lutheranism.


Had a friend in school from Minnesota. This was a big contention. I also seem to remember something about an ice cream flavor. They don’t have something along the lines of either Mint Chocolate Chip (w/the green ice cream), or Rocky Road. But I can’t remember which…

FWIW, as far as I can tell, they don’t say “Gray duck” in Northern VA or in Cali around Oakland.

I grew up in West Bend, Wisconsin, and it was called duck duck goose. Never heard of grey duck.

I also never heard the saying “Now I’ve seen it all. Now I can go to Sheboygan and die!”. But a few weeks ago the manager of our Minniapolis office made this statement about something. I was stunned! I was actually born in Sheboygan, WI. and still have loads of relatives there, and I’ve never heard this statement. What the heck is it with you guys up there? Ya juz a bit stranje, aint’ ya?:confused:

“Now I can go to Sheboygan and die”??? You should really get the phone number of that guy’s gramma and see where SHE heard it from - it HAS to be a family thing.

As for “duck duck grey duck”, if someone has more patience than I s/he might wanna check the archives of for the columns of James Lileks, who a few months ago wrote a column or two or three about this argument.

As a born and bred Minneotan, however:

OF COURSE it’s duck duck grey duck. What else could it POSSIBLY be?