Archive for the Ducks Category

What the Duck?

Posted in Ducks with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by PickMeYard

Our ducks disappeared this past week… into thin air.  We fretted over what could have happened to them.  There was not a single clue…  not even a single feather.  We really loved our ducks and really miss them.   Our female duck gave us a beautiful egg almost every day.   

Our first duck egg. We were so proud.

Even our neighbors helped us out by going up and down the river looking for them in case they jumped in and couldn’t get back out (high banks).  Our three ducks weren’t interested in going into our river.  They would enjoy the view sometimes, but they would always wander back to the “safe area” where they loved to be.  They had their own dreamy pond.  The three ducks were Indian runners and couldn’t fly (at least, that’s what we thought they were).  Shoot, they were too fat to go far and they just weren’t interested in leaving.  

Our three lovely ducks... R.I.P.

Two of the ducks disappeared at the same time.  The third duck pined endlessly for them.  It was sad.  Then he disappeared about two days later, in the late morning.  He was in front of our glass doors one minute and gone the next. 

Just waddling around and quacking.

Our chickens are all safe, but they’re not talking.  We think we’ve figured out the mystery though.  It seems that a bobcat must have been the culprit.  After talking to lots of people in our area, we’ve found out some pretty interesting things about these wild cats.  They are cats and very stealth hunters.  It would be very easy for a bobcat to scale our fence and snatch the ducks before they even knew what hit them.  People have told us that a bobcat is such an amazing predator that there would be no clues left at all… like they disappeared into thin air.  Bobcats have to eat too and I’m sure our ducks were a very easy catch.  However, we’re not even positive it was a bobcat.  It could have been aliens. 

Our dogs had weaseled their way into our house and had been spending all day and all night inside for several days.  We quickly realized that the dogs being inside allowed a predator into our yard.  They were promptly put back on guard duty.  Lesson learned.  

Falling down on the job. She's an awesome guard dog... when she's not on our couch.

So, the journey with our three ducks has come to an end.  We wanted to rush out and replace them with some new baby ducks, but we couldn’t make ourselves do it.  Grayson and I are thinking about looking for a female African goose to raise.  We’ve heard they make wonderful pets.  

On the bright side, our two baby Nigerian dwarf goats are safe.  They were boarding at a friend’s house.  Since the debacle with our ducks, we’ve built a miniature Fort Knox for our goats.  We are thankful we learned our lesson with the ducks and not the baby goats. 

Mary, one of our Nigerian dwarf goats.

Fun and games with our baby goats.

Our bossy, broody, bantam chicken is still laying on the two duck eggs.  It would be so cool if they actually hatch.  We can see little black feathers through the egg-shell.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Click here to check out a great blog about a hen that successfully hatches some beautiful baby ducks! 

Sweat Pea

Come grow with us!

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Get Your Ducks in a Row

Posted in Ducks with tags , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by PickMeYard

We had to have ducks…had to.  When we visit Disney World we spend  a ton of time watching and interacting with their ducks.  After several visits, we decided to get our own ducks.  We picked out three baby ducks from a local feed store.  They had a huge mixture of  “domestic ducks“, so we’re not sure what we have.  Since there are only about 14 domestic duck breeds to choose from, we should be able to figure it out soon.  We’ve had them for about six weeks now… I think.  I’ve lost track of time.  We are enjoying them immensely.

They grow a noticeable amount every night.  Every morning we look at them and wonder if they are the same ducks.  They poop a lot.  That was to be expected.  They’ve moved from the tub in the above picture to the shower (which is a large one).  It’s too cold to keep them outside and the spare bathroom has been working out well.  We do have their accommodations ready for them outside when the weather warms up. 

They are named Linny, Tuck, and Ming-ming.  Our daughter took one look at them and they had their names.  These names are from her favorite pre-school show on television called “The Wonder Pets“.   My husband loves these ducks and has made claim to them.  They are his ducks. 

Depending on what type of ducks they turn out to be, we can expect between 100 – 300 eggs per year.  Duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs and I hear they are very good for baking.  Although, their flavor is less familiar than chicken eggs (and stronger).

We will keep their flight feathers clipped.  It doesn’t hurt the birds at all, it’s like clipping your fingernails.  This will help to  keep them safe from predators and in our yard.   I’ve been told that Dave Holderread’s book, Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks, is a must-read for anyone raising ducks.

Ducks going into the pond for the first time

We do plan on collecting their eggs, but other than that, they are pets for us to enjoy.  They are lively, vivacious, and vocal.  Grayson is planning to show one of them in 4-H next year if we get lucky enough to have one that is show quality.  We are looking forward to the fun and the life they are going to bring to our yard.

Come grow with us!