Wednesday, March 5, 2014

we adopt ducklings in the snowiest winter

In what at best can be described as optimistic and at worst delusional, we adopted ducklings in mid-January. The family who had received these ducks quickly realized the challenges of growing baby animals out during the coldest, darkest days of the year and so offered them up *free! to us.

Of course we said yes! thank you! We love ducks.

And we do. The funny walk, the funny sounds, the massive consumption of mosquitoes and slugs. And confit?! Oh yes to ducks.

Funny thing about ducks. They about double in size every day for the first couple months of life. And these ducks did that.

Typically we can move ducklings onto the field as they grow out real feathers. Because usually we have fields. This year we have glacial type layers. Mixes of snow, ice, sleet, rain, thaw, refreezing are in nice thick layers covering the farm.

Another interesting fact about ducks is they throw up in their water. Every duck. Every day. The duck raising books will tell you that clean, fresh water is needed daily for the ducks to clear their nostrils. In our experience this means the ducks splash around in the water and make a mess. Then they drink scant amounts and regurgitate twice as much back in the water bowl. Now, I have never measured the amounts so maybe it only seems like this.

In way less than 24 hours this container of water had converted to sludge. The snow in their enclosure had been converted to wall to wall (cage to cage?) excrement.

This would be why ducks usually are not caged on our farm. And why we usually get ducklings in April. 

The factor that is unknown is how the dogs will deal with loose ducks. We know for a fact that one loves a breakfast of ducklings. It looks like a few more weeks under protection is likely to be in the best long term interest of the ducks. They need to be bigger and stronger and able to move faster to make it. 

Off to haul clean water.

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