Sunday, May 31, 2009

Duck Daddy and His Five Girls - Day 12

Almost two weeks old, and these little girls have grown from tiny little ducklings to being about 9" tall when they stand erect.

A few new things in the last two days:

1) The wood shavings on the bottom of the pool-brooder. We were using towels and doing the laundry a couple times a day. Of course, we also felt like duck poop was everywhere. Fortunately duck poop is not as nasty as chicken poop, but it still is not an odor du jour. Of course, the french use the term "eau de toilette" for perfume. Maybe we should bottle this stuff and send it to people who like "eau de toilette." We did not use wood shavings, which we can buy at $6.10 for a huge bale, until we were sure that the little duckies would not eat the stuff, or simply be covered in it all day long. It has made the process of cleaning easier, but the real improvement was the waterer.

2) I set the one gallon waterer in a larger shallow bowl. It acts as a moat system. When the ducks drink, and make a mess by spilling the water all over (which they always do!) the larger bowl catches the overflow. The water stays in the large shallow bowl, and then they drink from the overflow as well. Two problems solved: a) they do not waste as much water, and b) not nearly as much water ends up in the brooder floor - so the girls stay drier, and this is extremely important for their health. It has been a good deal of work to keep them dry until now. In most professional brooders there is a screen system which allows the water to flow through the screen. We did not use a screen, because a screen is not good for the little duckies tender young, big, floppy feet. This moat watering system actually has worked as well as a screen system - at least for now, and is far simpler to create with no work, and what you can find in the kitchen.

Here's today's thoughts on how ducks change your life:

I was cutting up some lettuce for the girls. I took the lettuce out of the fridge. It was the end of a romaine head. When I took it out of the fridge, I saw a dead bug - something like a fruit fly on a lettuce leaf. Now I remember finding a bug on food many a time, and someone responding with the line, "Oh, that's just extra protein." Today I saw the bug, and was happy, "Oh look, some extra protein for the duckies!" I thought. Wow, haaving ducks really changes your perspective on life - and bugs in the lettuce.

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