Ready? Set? GO!
March is quite a month for us. We are nesting – in multiple ways – as we start on a first chapter and a final chapter in two different aspects of our life.
Our ducklings arrived yesterday and we practically flew to the post office to get them (awesome to have them come in on my husband’s day off by the way!). When we walked in to the PO, we could hear them cheep-cheep-cheeping in the back room, and the old lady behind the counter was glad to send them off! They were in a very small box all things considered, probably 1’x1’x1′, and in great shape (see top right photo, and click here to read about getting chicks in the mail and how it works and why it’s safe). When we got home we followed the instructions and picked each one up and stuck their beaks in the water so they’d learn how to drink and, sure enough, no problemo.
In the bottom right photo you can see our makeshift brooder, basically a huge box which we lined with a folded up tarp to keep it dry then put a layer of straw, the same stuff that’s in their coop, for them. We learned immediately how hilarious they are with the water and immediately put a few rocks into it so they could access it without swimming in it (although they think it’s pretty awesome to walk on top of the rocks and then get the water from the middle of the dish), and also put a rock in their food bowl so they can’t just stand there in the feed and be obnoxious, heh. It’s pretty awesome to watch how they know immediately what to do as far as grab some food then grab some water, and back and forth. We also followed the suggestion in our favorite duck book, Duck Eggs Daily, about digging up a few wads of dirt/grass from the backyard and putting them in the brooder so they can get some exposure to eating bugs and also get their immune systems built up as they prepare for a life outdoors. They LOVE this!
Needless to say it’s been beyond entertaining to watch these girls. No, we haven’t named them all yet. Already we’re seeing personalities emerge slowly but surely:
The black one with the yellow front (Black Swedish) and is absolutely the most fearless of them all, not afraid to eat out of my hand from the first second we put her in the brooder.
The all-black one, the Cayuga, is fairly shy thus far but keeps an eye on me, tilting her head up and looking straight at me whenever I talk into the brooder.
The all brown one (Khaki Campbell) is the first one to take off running when you put your hand in the brooder to change out the water.
The more colorful brown/yellowish one (Welsh Harlequin) is starting to follow the lead of the first one and this morning when my husband had his hand out with some food on it not only ate out of it but started climbing up his arm! Definitely no worries about them getting up the ramp, haha…
So it’s been a fun weekend for us (our weekends are midweek based on my husband’s work schedule) getting used to these little babes on the dining room table. They are absolutely the funniest things to watch, not terribly noisy (yet) as their chirping/cheeping is pretty quiet, even at night, and watching them all bundled together to sleep is sooooo adorable. In a couple days we’ll let them try out their swim legs in a bigger dish of (warm) water and in a few weeks, assuming we get some nice sunny days (we’ve had a miserable February/March with record breaking rainfall, ugh!) will give them a bit of time to explore their run for a bit, check out their coop (and getting onto the ramp) and feeder/waterer, etc. By 6-7 weeks we’re told they should be able to move out to their coop full time and by 9 weeks they will be full grown – whoa!!!