Life gets in the way

Isn’t that the way it is for most of us? So I’ve been away from here for longer than I wanted to but let me see if I can do a quick catch up…….Ready? Here we go.

Ducks.

Well the little buggers have gotten out more than once but I FINALLY have the fence double secured with green plastic fencing to keep the little quackers inside the pond area where they are supposed to be.

New ducks.

Am I crazy? Of couse I am. We ordered a Pekin, a Black Swedish, a Blue Swedish and a Khaki Campbell. Unfortunatly when they arrived the Black Swedish died in transit. I have a lot to say on the subject but I’m not sure if I should do a post on this or not. What do you think?

So I really wanted the Black Swedish but they were hard to find but I was able to get one a few weeks later along with (because why order just one duck right?) a pair of Rouen ducks (male and female).

So now I have 2 sets of ducks growing up in the garage about 3 weeks apart in age. I learned quickly if the ducks are not the same size DO NOT introduce them to each other. The ducks peck at each other to “get to know one another” and of course 3 weeks in duck-world is huge. Needless to say each group was kept seperate.

Now the Pekin “Snow” was always bigger than they other ducks from the day they arrived. Honestly I believe they sent a giant Pekin instead of a regular one but it is what it is I guess.

So here is Snow, Khaki and Blue. How can you not love those faces?

And here is Drake, Dharma (the 2 Rouens) and Sara (Black Swedish)

Now as they grew I realized I needed to come up with names for these groups of ducks until they all lived at the pond. But they can’t live outside until they are completely feathered.

So Snow, Khaki and Blue because the ‘New Kids On The Block’ and the older buff ducks became The Fantastic Four and the 2 rouens and black swedish have become the Three Musketeers.

So the NKOTB went to live in a 10×10 kennel that I have dubbed “the halfway house” as they were almost completely feathered out and they had a little pool and were safe from preditors at night until I could intorduce them to the Fantastic Four at the pond.

To do this I took some plastic fencing and made a small space at the pond for a “meet and greet”. This went well the first time I took them over. One pole was broken and I kept saying I was going to fix it (but I never did). The next time I took them to a meet and greet it was great until one of the Fantastic Four hit the fencing and it came down by the broken pole. I noticed it because I saw Khaki walking away behind the other four. As I was watching this unfold I see Snow and Blue both walk away as well.

So I guess they are all living at the pond now ready or not.

I was able to get them into the quack shack that night and decided to keep them all cooped up for a couple of days to ‘get to know each other’. Well that was fine and dandy and everyone seemed to be doing well. I went over every day to make sure they had water and food (and peas, don’t forget the peas!)

The one thing I learned the hard way was to do a head count. Always do a head count. On one of my visits to the coop Khaki got out and I didn’t notice her. I know she was there because I noticed her going into the coop to chill with the older four and also come hang with her buddies the NKOTB.

I am horrified to say that I didn’t know she was missing. ANYTHING could have happened to her. I noted she was gone and walked all around the pond looking for her. I looked again and again and finally found her in plain sight (so to speak). She was on the edge of the pond tucked under some branches. I actually thought it was a log laying there but checked anyway. She was exhausted and hungry and I’m sure terrified.

I walked up to her and picked her up. I brought her back tot he garage and put her in a crate with food and water (with elecrolytes) and let her rest. By the end of the day she had pepped up a lot.

Now while the NKOTB were in the coop with the Fantastic Four the Three Musketeers had moved into the halfway house. After Khaki perked up I took her out there and she was accepted immediatly by Drake, Dharma and Sara so I left her with them. The Three Musketeers because the Four Musketeers.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was able to finally get everyone over to the pond. When I took the Four Musketeers for a meet and greet Khaki, Blue and Snow remembered each other. It was very sweet.

So now I have 10 ducks living in the quack shack. 4 buff, 1 pekin, 1 blue swedish, 1 khaki campbell, 1 black swedish and 2 rouens. With our one drake any new ducks we get will be his and whomever he hooks up with.

Drake will be a busy boy. I am hoping that as broody as the buffs got this year that next spring they may turn into good moms. If not I will hatch them in the incubator.

Chickens…

Ah the chickens. Well we got a bug up our butt to try and incubate some eggs. Yup, we didn’t seem to have enough eggs and chickens that we made more!

Now keep in mind we wing just about everything out here because we don’t always know what we are doing. So why should this be different?

I started with about 21 eggs and you don’t know which are fertile and which aren’t until about 5-10 days in. So I checked them after that time and had to ditch about 7 eggs due to no activity (not firtile). Now that left us with with 14 of which I had one more that did not thrive and it had to go.

13 eggs waiting 21 days to hatch. I checked them periodically and candled them to make sure they were still viable.

Boy did I learn a ton doing this.

But day 21 finally came and I couldn’t sleep. I kept going into my office to check on them and sure enough I was able to watch the first 2 eggs hatch! Super cool for a city girl like me to see.

We ended up with 12 hatched eggs of the 13. One little baby didn’t make it. She was the last to hatch and she just didn’t have the strength to make it for whatever reason. But I’m happy to say I was with her when she passed so she wasn’t alone in an incubator. That makes me feel good to know that at least she was talked to and soothed as she took her last breath.

So all in all we ended up with 11 baby chickens that were born on Memorial weekend. We are still unsure how many roosters vs. hens we have but time will tell. I believe we have at least 1 if not 2 roosters.

Needing a theme for names we decided on candy bars.

They are now about 7 weeks old and have their own coop that will be known as The Henitentiary!

Until we finish the run to secure the coop we made a chicken tractor to let them enjoy the fresh air

Inside the Henitentiary

Turtles…of the snapping variety

Yes the stupid snappers are back again. Being the only pond for a good mile around is going to make us a target every year. This year we were ready for them.

We made a trap because of the crazy times we are living in all the turtle traps are on back order. That’s ok because ours works just fine.

The whole idea being they swim in but they can’t swim out.

So far we have not caught any in the trap. But I have caught 2 while I was working on the pond fence. I caught one just after it had dug under the fence (as I was putting up my fencing) and the second one I found by the gate to the pond. This one too was in an unsecure spot which has since been reinforced with the fencing.

They are nasty, mean and prehistoric looking. These buggers have no natural enemies after they reach a certain size. If it is between my ducks or this thing my ducks win. ‘Nuff said.

Rabbits….

We are currently working on the Bunny Bungalow. It is 15′ Wide x 10′ Deep x 7′ High. The bunnies won’t know what to do with all the room. We are in the process of wiring the sides now if the rain would cooperate (which it isn’t of course). Once done we will put about 1-2 feet of dirt in it, plant some timothy grass and other rabbit num nums as well as having plenty of space to run. We are building them their own little houses so they will have somewhere to go in the rain, sun, etc. Of course I know there will be no way to keep one rabbit from using whichever house they want so we will just call them ‘communal homes’.

Dogs….

The dogs are all good. Pepper has found that she likes to chase the ducks into the pond. She won’t go into the pond after them and she doesn’t try to hurt the ducks so I don’t see the harm in it. I take her over every day so she can run around the pond inside the fence and also give the ducks a bit of exercise.

Ok I think that’s all of my updates that I can think of for now. I know it was long but thanks for sticking with me here.

I will try my darndest to keep this more up to date.