Sunday, June 3, 2012

Duck update

 Well, I've spent a lot of time supervising the ducks in the last few days. Since I don't have a permanent shelter built for them yet all 27 ducklings are sleeping in the 4'x8' chicken tractor. It's pretty cramped so I'm having to move it a couple of times a day so that they aren't standing in their own poo and so that they have fresh grass to munch on. I also let them out every time I go outside.
The little duck up front is Spot. I'm waiting for her to get into something so I can say, "Out, damn Spot!"
 The routine goes something like this...I open the door and walk around the tractor, the ducks run out the door and make a beeline for the back porch (cause that's where the food is, ya know) and peep until I throw a couple of handfuls of food out. Then they trip all over themselves and each other to get a few bites.

A little bit crowded
Then they all dash back to the kiddy pool (which was fine for 3 ducklings but it terribly inadequate for 27) for a quick drink. Some will hop in and have a little bath, but most of the new ones haven't figured out how to easily get in and out. Duck, Goose, and Jill like to show off to the others by gracefully jumping in for a little swim and then, just as gracefully, jumping back out. After a drink they either chase flies and wasps or run around eating bits of grass or looking for bugs to munch on. When they get tired they find a patch of shade and settle in for a nap.

 I think that Duck and Goose are hens, since they are starting to get mottled feathers on their chests and faces, but Jill is still too young to tell. Here's hoping for a boy so we can breed some more (although that would mean a name change is in order, it's just not nice to call a boy Jill!) The new ducks are harder to sex, because a hen and a drake Pekin look almost exactly the same. I won't know for sure until the boys get their drake feather or the girls develop their quack. We will be eating most of the boys when they get big enough. I want to keep about a dozen hens and 2 drakes though, so that we can hatch our own next spring.
 The chickens have given the ducklings surprisingly little trouble. They discovered that I'm pretty likely to have food when the babies are out, so they intermingle and play nice to have a chance at getting some treats. Moonshine even seems to feel protective of them and chases the cat and kittens off if they come too close.

More food 

Moonshine is watching out for "his" babies
 And here's a video of Goose showing off. I can almost hear her, "Really y'all, it's easy. You just hop right in." Note the looks of envy on the other ducks faces.

 That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and Blessed Be...

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