Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Duck Blogging

I've been trying to get a good picture of the duckling's new plumage, but it's harder than you think to get ducks to pose for pictures!

The kids have grown by leaps and bounds over the past week. They're very feather-y in the tail area and the tops of their wings, most of them have their breast and belly plumage, and a couple of them have major flight feathers coming in. It's harder to see the cayuga's feathers, since they're replacing black down with black feathers, but the rouens are getting more pretty brown and black feathers every day.

They're also much friendlier and some are downright playful. They'll eat anything out of my hands, and then peck and play with my fingers and my jewelry. They other day they were taking turns getting me to gently hold their bills and pull them around the pool.

This week they figured out how to hop down out of the shed in the morning and let us herd them into the daytime pen instead of having to be ferried there by hand, one at a time. They have no idea about hopping back up into the shed, so going to bed at night was still a matter of carrying them --quacking and peeping and bitching all the way -- until last night. Last night they realized they could hop over the low block walls we put up in the shed to keep them contained, and as fast as I could carry one to the shed another one would hop back out and run out into the yard. I finally chased them all down and pitched them over the fence into the pool again so I could consider my options. I made the executive decision to herd them into their fully-enclosed hutch, which we weren't planning to do yet, and even though it was a little crowded they seemed to fare just fine overnight. Ev did have to get up earlier than she wanted this morning, because they started quacking as soon as they could see the pool in the dawn's early light instead of sleeping in like they were doing in the shed.

Now that they're staying outside all the time I'm a lot more worried about predators. We have just about everything here that likes a nice duck meal, and I'm not going to be any good at all at dealing with what predators leave behind, so I'm trying to figure out how to more fully enclose their pen with some type of screen over the top ( against hawks and owls) and make sure there are no small openings (weasels), latches that can be pried open (raccoons) or screen that can be torn open (foxes and coyotes).

Motherhood is hard and worrisome!



Jazz said...

They're going to need a much bigger pool in no time...

XUP said...

If you think motherhood is tough now, just wait until they're teenagers

innkeeper said...

... but the video ended just before the "gently pulling them around the pool by their bills" began! We have to see that!