Friday, May 1, 2009

Meet our Ducklings

We recently added a few ducklings to our farm. We got them when it was still chilly outside the end of March and they had to spend the first few weeks of their life in our house. About 2 weeks ago, we moved the little guys to a duck house outside. They are really getting the hang of living outside now. We let them out in the morning and they waddle down in a little group to our pond. Then in the evening, we coax them out of the pond and they march back up to their duck house for the night. For the first two weeks we would let them swim in the bathtub, which was just adorable. It is so amazing that creatures only several days old act just like grown ducks. They eat, flap their wings, swim, and dive under the water just like they are adults. It is truly a joy to watch them grow.
Picture above is one of our ferrets meeting the duckling. She seemed to think it was a squeaky toy and tried dragging the duckling away to hide it.

We started with 4 small yellow Indian Runner Ducks. These ducks get their name from the unique way they stand straight up and run very fast. Now that the ducklings are getting older, they are turning a fawn color. The ducklings all look really similar, so it has been very difficult to name them and tell them apart. Only one of these ducklings has a name. He is the largest and loudest of the bunch and we call him Franklin.

A few weeks after getting the Indian Runners, we added two small black and yellow Rouen Ducks to the group. They were just so cute at the store and I could not resist. We were a little worried at first that our larger ducklings would not get along with the tiny hatchlings, but after a few pecks to the newbies heads, they were all getting along fine. I need to download my pictures of the Rouen ducklings yet, but the picture below is what they look like. When they grow up, they will look like wild mallard ducks, only much larger.

So far, we have only lost one duckling. I think something was wrong with the little guy. If he was startled, we would start having a seizure. He would lay down like he was dead and stretch out and become very stiff. We found him in our pond one day dead. Something had chewed on his leg. Since it was during the day, it probably was not a opossum, raccoon, cat, or coyote as they don't usually hunt during the day and probably would have taken the duckling with them or at least finished their meal. We don't think it was a bird of prey either as they probably would have taken the duckling with them. Although we have never seen any type of turtle in our pond (only fish and frogs), we have a theory that a snapping turtle either killed the duckling and started eating it, or the duckling had a seizure in the water and the snapper happened to find it and started eating it. I am not sure if we will ever know. So far, the rest of the ducklings have survived just fine.

I recently saw some African grey geese goslings and would like to add one or two to the crew, but we will see.

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