Monday, March 31, 2008


Some of you might recall that last year we had a sweet little wild yard duck who met with an untimely end on the highway in front of our house. We were very sad at the time, having become quite attached to Duck while she lived with us, and we promised ourselves that in the Spring, when ducks happen, we'd replace her.

Last weekend we went to the duck store to buy a couple of ducklings, but we were too late! All the ducklings had, apparently, ended up in Easter baskets that weren't already filled to the brim with beer and chocolate. Sigh.

I tried looking in a few of the lesser-known duck emporiums ... Rural King ... Tractor Supply ... but alas, no ducklings to be found.

So last night we decided to take the duck by the bill and order some online. Since they come by US Mail you have to order the minimum number that assures they'll stay warm enough in the box ... which is 10. What the heck ... two or three ducks is almost the same as ten, right? So, being pro-active and assuming that in any random box of ducklings there might be some loss, we ordered an even dozen.
We're partial to the Rouens. They look like Mallards, but they're pretty much flightless, not prolific egg-layers (which is good, because we don't need hundreds of duck eggs), very friendly and get along with cats and dogs ... once you convince the cats and dogs).

Carrie likes the Cayuga's with their irridescent green plumage and pretty eggs. They're a quieter duck than average, which will be nice when they all start quacking (!!), and they have a calm and docile personality.

So we ordered six of each.

The babies will arrive the week of April 7th! So much to do to get ready! We're turning the landlord's abandoned shed into a duck house, complete with heat lamp, feeders, waterers, a little ramp for the ducks to ingress and egress the shed, and a fenced enclosure in the yard attached to the shed for when they're old enough to get out but still too young to peck the crap out of Mrs. Underfoot if she tries to go duck hunting.

Before they can move to the shed they're going to need a brooder. Since April weather here can be iffy, and there's usually at least one last snowfall about that time, we're thinking they should probably spend their first couple of weeks in the extra bedroom. So I'm looking around at the various ways people have brooded ducklings indoors. Right now the plastic wading pool arrangement is looking pretty good.

This will bring us to a grand total of eight cats, two dogs and twelve ducks here at the Family Compound! We're all excited about the babies, and Katie's already claimed the right to name one of them after herself. The rest will have to reveal their Indian names to us over time.

Stay tuned!



marl said...

live ducks come via the US Postal service? holy crap!! i hope it's express mail, next day service, at the very least.

pity the ducklings if Uncle Sam's mail folks lose them in the bowels of some sorting center.

Anonymous said...

If your one that can get past the fact that they are being shipped at a time normally spent under their mother, drying and getting ready to leave the nest (sans eating and, nurture). It is the best time to be mailed. It just feels cruel to ponder let alone do. I hope duck lovers are all the hatchlings encounter on the scary trip they will make.

Jazz said...

They send ducks by MAIL?!?!? That just strikes this city girl as increidbly bizarre. But then I'm not in the habit of ordering ducks..

Kwach said...

lol ...

First of all, yes ... poultry comes by mail ... chickens, ducks, etc. They have special boxes and special shipping. You can get them as eggs and hatch them, or get them newborn.

Second of all, don't feel bad about the poor orphaned ducklings. Wild ducks raise their young, but most breed of domestic ducks won't even sit on the eggs. Domestic ducks (and chickens) are hatched in incubators and grown in commercial brooder boxes, and if crazy people like us don't buy them as pets or "ornamental ducks" (as they are known in the duck trade) they stay in those miserable little boxes until they go to the meat packing plant.

So we aren't abusing the babies ... we're saving their little duck lives. Instead of ending up on someone's dinner plate they're going to spend the next 10-15 years happily following us around quacking, pestering us for cracked corn, laying eggs and pecking the dog in the ass.

We may need to have a "name the ducklings" contest or something ... twelve names is a lot of names!

: )

Pat said...

have the duckies arrived? are they safe? are they adorable? have you thought, what the hell were we thinking? :)

Kwach said...

Pat ... you're even more impatient for them to get here than we are! They arrive next week ... we're thinking Wednesday or Thursday. Just to be on the safe side, Ev's taking a couple of days off for labor and delivery.

I'm getting the nursery set up this weekend and I'll start the photo diary.

: )