OK, we don’t have geese, but I couldn’t resist the musical snippet. The ducks are about 2 months old, the “natural” chicks are one week, and the others almost a week. How’s everyone doing? Well, first let me say that the amount of animal tending in the house as really ramped up. Between cleaning and filling all the waterers for the ducks, feeding everyone (including special food for the chicks, special deliveries for the mama hen, and making sure the ducks are eating as well), checking on the chicks and cleaning bottoms as needed, plus worrying about everyone, it seems like our animal care routines are tremendously increased. Oh, and all of a sudden Pippin has decided that it’s cool to go into the garage and raid the nest where they lay their eggs. So we had to make it dog proof, yet chicken accessible. I’m most intrigued that when I caught him with an egg in his mouth in the yard and he put it down, it had not a single crack on it, he had carried it so gently in his strong jaws (very strong–I got the dog breed testing kit for my birthday and had Pippin’s DNA analyzed. Along with Golden Retriever he has, apparently, quite a bit of Bull Mastiff and Rottweiler in him! Who knew?!)
Anyway, the ducks are quite acclimated now and they will walk about the grounds with the chickens, clacking their bills in the grass.
They also eat the same feed and scratch as the chickens do. At night they sleep in their own little house within the coop. They have begun to fly tiny distances across the driveway and this morning one flew for the first time high in the air (well, well over my head.) And he flew all the way across the driveway and then around the garage. Whereupon he landed and had to quack extremely loudly while his friends in the driveway quacked back until he walked back to them. We have chosen to not clip our ducks’ wings. We based this decision on the fact that flying away from a predator is pretty much their only defense. They can’t run as fast as a chicken and it seemed too cruel to take that away from them. Also, we figure that if they’re happy here, why would they fly away? I think they are pretty well established here, what with being fed all the time and returning on their own to their little house each night.
The mama hen and her chicks are doing great! She has not left the coop with them, which is probably good. They have plenty of room in there to explore and scratch about, and she has the safety of going under the henhouse if need be. I love watching them bounce around her and watching her find food for them. Little MCA is recognizable because he has a bigger white spot on his head, though that will probably change over time.
The chicks in the garage are mostly doing well. The ones that haven’t died, that is. In this first week 4 of them have died which, while sad, is not a terrible loss rate. It was pretty much expected that at least a couple would die (another reason why it’s not a big deal to receive 26.) Hopefully they are all stable now. We carefully watch for “pasting up” (poop blockage) and check water, food, and heat several times a day.
I can’t resist taking pictures of the sturdier ones (mostly the Buffys as I like to call them–they are Buff Orpingtons). When they grow up will they find these photos humiliating? 🙂
The garden is doing surprisingly well, though if I want any success I should go spend an hour weeding. The peas are getting blossoms and the lettuce and spinach seedlings are taking off. To my dismay all of a sudden the chickens have figured out how to get into the garden even when the gate is closed. I finally finished the project of laying mulch or hay between the garden beds. It should make gardening a lot easier this summer if I don’t have to contend with overgrown tiny paths.
I have also been sewing quite a bit. As soon as this post is done I’m off to whip up another pencil roll for a birthday girl. This week I made an apron I’m crazy for.
I used French seams for the first time, which came out beautifully,
and I trimmed the apron in a contrasting bias binding that was kind of a pain to make, but well worth it. More about it at The Cornish Hen.
And that’s how things are around here. Looking forward to a mellow Mother’s Day tomorrow. We’ve had a lot of special day excitement between my and Paul’s birthdays, so for tomorrow I requested we barbecue at home tomorrow with my mom and just have a really nice Sunday afternoon.