My Husband is such a genius!
As I was getting some sugar for my tea, Barbie the duck, jumped out of Rylee’s towel and made a run for it. Normally this won’t be a bad thing, but on a seven foot deck with “drop holes”, and a retriever trying to be helpful, it is a recipe for disaster. Luckly for us, when the five week old duck — who’s wings are an 1/8th the size of its body — fell through the slates, it landed unscathed. Shocked, but unscathed.
So here is the scene… Peanut, our retriever, herded the duck and kept pointing her nose at the duck so I knew where it was. She cornered it under a chair, and I reached for it. The duck scooted back and PLOP! fell straight through the deck, seven feet down, onto dirt. Cries of “Where’s the duck?” and peep-quacks followed me as I hurdled over the confused retriever and down the stairs.
Within seconds I was under my deck with a stunned, but surprisingly fast duck. It took several minutes, and Haylee’s help in herding, to finally catch her. She shook like crazy, and peeped a few, what I perceived as-“I’m okay!,” to the other duck upstairs. I held her close and ascended the stairs. Checked her legs, her wings, her body and head, and placed her back into her home.
The great news: I might have a retriever in my retriever/basset dog! Can we say “Duck! Duck!” 🙂
SO I heard my first real quack today… but I am not sure if Barbie was just trying to clear her throat or not. She definitely sounded like Donald Duck! LOL.
The coloring of their true feathers are coming in under their wings, and I am growing more confident that we have girls. I am VERY relieved, even though Sisboomba’s name would definitely have fit a boy 🙂
After the first day or two of failed attempts to have the ducks come when I call, I have stopped the meal worms and “mommy lessons”. I thought maybe if they were hungry, they would come for their feed… that didn’t work either. I was told the lessons might not work because of their age; now fear that I will not be able to let them roam free in the backyard, like I hoped.
They just started 5 weeks, and LOVE their bath time. We have taken a small tub and put it on the deck with water in it. It is here now, they take their afternoon snack (lettuce, tomatoes, grapes, and sometimes carrots). We have just recently cut their feed back to twice a day and have start supplementing some of their food with “snacks”. We raised their water level so they are officially swimming when they bathe — before we filled the water just high enough that the tips of their toes touched the ground. While they seem to enjoy this new luxury, they also seem a bit lost. As swimming doesn’t yet seem to provide them with as much mobility as their tippy toes did.
While their mobility is still in the learning process, they have started to dive more, and have taken a liking to dunking their whole upper bodies underwater. It is quite fun to watch! I’ll try and take a picture of it next time.
As the monsoon season is growing near, the idea of a more permanent home for the ducks keeps rattling around in my head. With the pressing weather change, and finances having been redirected to purchase a new washing machine — mine literally clunked out — and the lack of an “appropriate” home dwells on my mind. With this said, I think my husband and I have decided to build them a small 3’x2′ dog house and pen in some of the space under the deck — the deck with stairs is 20′ long x 10′ wide. We think this, with some tarps during the winter, will make an acceptable place for the ducks to forage and run. We have also decided not to force them into laying eggs this winter — their true gender is known when and if they start laying eggs at 6 months, which for us is in January — and if necessary, we will but a small watt bulb in their house to keep them warm. Come spring we will build them a more permanent home under the trees in very fertile soil.
Going back to the not following me when “called”, I have to say they have started to eat more in our presence (e.g. sitting on the couch near their home, or while bathing) and will allow the girls to hand feed them, IF they are being held. They also like the beet roots I just thinned from the garden, so we will start trying more garden clippings. Don’t worry, I do not use pesticides.
Despite the bobcat that was found a few weeks ago a few houses up, and the random coyote calls tonight, the occasional wrong squeeze from the ducks, or the jumpy four year old… I LOVE having ducks.
I woke up this morning to the wonderful news that our ducks were still alive. The girls had already fed them breakfast and gave them fresh water. As my husband kissed me and took the girls out, I headed out to pick up the deck from the escapades of last night.
So I am not sure if I told you or not, but our ducks live on our deck. A perfect hideout for 3 week old ducks. But sometimes a stink fest for the others who enjoy the deck too. So I spent the morning, rinsing out the towels that lined the ducks bed the night before, cleaning out the ducks water , and cleaning out their pen. I SO need to get straw!
By afternoon it was 95* here, and I noticed, as we were holding the ducks, the ducks were really really warm. SO I decided to try another swim, but this time in the bath tub.
So into the basket we went. After filling the bathtub a quarter of the way full, I took the peeping ducks out of basket and set them in the tub. They didn’t move for while, but they drank. After a few minutes, the fun began! Ducking — no pun intended — ,splashing, running up and down the tub, etc. They were SO much fun to eat watch!
Twenty minutes later, much to their dismay, I scooped up the birds and placed them back into their home.
First day in the tub, success! I am curious if tomorrow will be easier.
Today, while I was in a meeting, my family added two more kids to our household. Two Khaki Cambridge ducks, to be more precise. My daughters immediately names these two brown fuzzies Barbie and Sisboomba. Try as my husband might to secure two girls, I think Sisboomba might be a boy. He is slightly aggressive, but only time will tell.
When I returned home I was welcomed by shouts of “We got ducks!” and two very happy dogs. As I was lead out to the patio, where my husband and I made a small home for the ducks the night before, quiet peeping welcomed me. As I peered into the little home, two semi-bald, semi-fluffy ducks were steering up at me, and I have to admit, I feel hopeless in love! Which is a good thing, because my husband informed me that these two were our last children of any sort for a LONG time. 🙂
Later in the day, I decided the ducks would like a swim in the kiddie pool. So I directed the kids to help me find small bricks in yard to use as steps, while my husband pulled the kiddie pool onto the deck. After barricading the stairs, and filling the pool with different size bricks to ensure the ducks could get out of the pool, I took the ducks out of there home.
Note to self: When taking the ducks out of their home, make sure you take them together. There was flapping, craning of necks, attempted escapes, and loud screeches of protests as one was placed into the pool and the other one picked up. After both ducks were in the pool, a different type of panic set in. Our three week old ducks were FREAKING out! Trying to climb out of the pool, flapping, and screeching. This went on for what seemed like forever, but after a few moments, my husband and I reached in and placed our hands over their backs and gently lowered them into the water. This seemed to work. As long as our hands remained on their backs, they allowed us to gently rub away the food that clung to their feathers, and pet them. Much to my demise, as soon as I took one out to wrap it in a towel, the second one jumped out and made a run for it.
So while I was sitting in a chair, trying to calm the duck I was holding down, my husband was chasing the other duck around the deck. Now this wouldn’t neccesarily be a bad thing, but the sides of our deck – where the vertical beams touch the deck – were open to the ground below. SO a little duck running around the deck was not such a good thing. After another moment or two the duck was secured in my husbands hands and slowly lowered her into the towel with her sister.
The ducks went so still that they allowed my daughters to kiss the tops of their heads and stroke their necks. This thrilled our girls! After a few minutes the ducks were quietly lowered into their home. And I silently vowed not to try the swimming pool again for a while.
So as the sun set, we secured the ducks home for evening — did I mention that we live in the mountains — and went to bed.
We are now official duck owners who live in the mountains with two four year olds, a retriever and a schnauzer. This is going to be fun 🙂