Saturday, May 30, 2009

Poultry Update

The thing about ducklings is that they're sometimes hard to identify, especially when they're similarly hued in their infancy. As they've grown and developed a more duck-ly appearance this week, we've made the discovery that we probably have five breeds ... not three.

The brown ducklings, who were first identified as Indian Runners, on closer inspection appear to be three Chocolate Runners and two Khaki Campbells. We've determined this by noting that three of them are skinny, stand up very tall, walk really funny and look like dinosaurs in profile. The other two stand and waddle and look like ducks. Ipso facto, three Runners and two Campbells. I think. I've tentatively named the Runners "Godiva," "Cadbury," and "Nestle." I'm still trying to come up with suitably Scot names for the Campbells.

Likewise, the six yellow ducklings are no longer a mystery. Only four are wearing little feather hats, so I assumed the two hatless ones were either waiting to sprout them or were defective in some way. As the week wore on, the two hatless ducklings seemed to grow less yellow and more tan, and little brown stripes began to appear beside their eyes. After some research, we appear to have four Crested Pekins and two Buff Orpingtons. One of the crested ducks is actually friendly, which is more than I can say for any of the ducks from last year ... or the other 14 from this year. I'm considering calling the friendly one "Hedwig."

The four Blue Swedish ducklings have not pulled any fast ones or changed their plumage, so I think it's still safe to say they are what we thought they were from the outset. For the moment they are "Sven," "Olle," "Helga," and "Ingrid," but their names are subject to change when their gender becomes apparent. Not that any of their names matter, since I can never tell one from the other once their all grown up, but at least it gives me something to call them while I'm moving them in and out of their crate twice a day for housekeeping.

It's clear, at this point, that a large wire dog kennel is inadequate for housing 15 fast-growing ducklings. They've already tripled in size and are nearly as tall as their waterer in a mere 10 days. Fifteen ducklings is mathematically only twice the number we had last year, but they produce at least four times the amount of poop.

The turkeys are still little, being much slower growers, but have prodigious wings already, with which they can actually achieve something like short running flights across the bedroom floor. They have turned out to be affectionate and humorous puppies with feathers. They both appear to be boys, which is a shame because we were hoping to call them "Butterball" and "Jenny-O." But based on the tiny nubbin starting to protrude from their foreheads, which I assume is going to develop into the long snood that dangles down over male turkeys' beaks, "Jenny-O" is out of the question. I've also discovered that you can hypnotize a turkey by stroking the bottoms of its feet. Once you've done this, the turkey can be laid on it's back where it will proceed to sleep like a floppy baby.

When not sleeping like a baby or practicing his fast flying, Butterball enjoys re-enacting scenes from "Turkeyzilla" on the faux lawn of my dollhouse.


SP said...

I love the feathery updates. You make me want turkeys of my own. But considering I can barely manage my one little puff ball of a dog and my two full grown turkey children, I'll have to continue to live vicariously through you.

Kwach said...

Awwww, get yourself a backyard turkey! What's the difference between a 25 pound dog and a 25 pound bird, really? Turkey poop is smaller and it's good fertilizer!

And if it turns out to be too much trouble by ... say ... November? Well ... you know.