12.01.2010

Growing Ducks & Chickens

Remember these little fuzzballs? Look at how they've grown:


Ducks are so. freaking. adorable. Adorable, I tells ya! They squeak, quack and waddle. They swim like seals, speedy/sleek through the water. They think I'm evil, but I hug 'em and squeeze 'em when I can. I can't wait for the big waterfowl pen & pond to be finished, just so I can pull up a chair and watch them swim and play. "If we had adopted ducks first" Spouse bemused, "I don't think I'd ever have wanted to get geese." [Blasphemer!!]

Pic of Maggie. Would this
sweet face steal eggs?
Oh yes, in a New York minute.

It will be a few months yet before the new ducks start laying eggs, but when they do, this particular breed can lay at least four eggs per week, oftentimes more. Whether we can gather that many eggs to sell is dependent on how quickly we can find them on the property before Maggie does. Since we've tightened up the entrances to the hen house, Maggie no longer has easy access to the laying boxes, and has missed her daily egg snack. Woe was Maggie! She finally figured out, however, that the eggs the one mature duck lays - Moe -  are NOT those fake porcelain eggs we put into the egg boxes to encourage the chickens to "lay local". They are quite an acceptable substitute. It's a race in the mornings between canine and hominid to find Moe's latest laying spot. Moe likes to keep us all guessing and switches up her laying spots often.

Now, for the chicken update: Flopsy and her baby are doing well. We had to set them up in their own quarters, as some of the other hens weren't too clear on the fact that the chick wasn't a new squeaky toy (no worries, the chick was/is unharmed). We set up one of the chick brooding kennels for their nighttime digs  - a big plastic dog crate with an adjustable heat lamp affixed to its ceiling  - and lined it with hay. Since it's been dipping below freezing temps at night here, the crate's heat lamp keeps the girls cozy. There's also a goodly amount of protected, fenced-in space for Flopsy & chick to scratch and sun in peace during the day. The chick is already sprouting wing and tail feathers, but since I'm not handling her much, she shies away whenever I'm around. Feeling dang lucky to have caught these photos:

8 comments:

  1. Holy cute. That little baby chick is too much!!

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  2. Duckies are so much fun. They have to be to compensate for their less tidy behaviors. They're the Cousin Eddies of the Poultry world. It's amazing how fast they grow in comparisons to chickens. Keep having fun! Maggie isn't alone in her egg-thieving endeavors. We've been working on a system (for after the holidays) to "help" our dogs kick the egg-eating habit. Stay posted.

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  3. @Kara - and she's full of 'tude already! :-)

    @Funny Farm - looking forward to hearing what did the trick for you! We ended up making the hen house entrances much smaller (they were about two chickens wide, now it's only one hen wide). Maggie's a big ol' Great Pyrenees, so she can't squeeze through anymore.

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  4. WOW! WWWWWWOWWW!! Okay... I want one! Can you post pics of your set-up with the pond?? Dwayne and I are high on the hill - which means any so-called pond attempt by Mother Nature only moistens the water tables around here. Half tempted to consider a REAL "cement pond" just to keep the water from disappearing.

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  5. ducks are sweet BUT are think as mince!!!
    nice photos there!!!

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  6. Maggie looks like a complete angel!

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  7. @WeldrBrat: somehow missed your comment (and all below!). Hoping to get the backhoe this weekend (Jan 8th). We plan to use fish-safe pondliner for the new pond. Will definitely post pics.

    @John: yeah, they don't seem quite as on-the-ball as the geese, but still quite squeezeable. :-)

    @abby: oh, I complain about her alot, but in reality Maggie is a real sweetheart. Except for that whole egg-stealing thing she's got going on.

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