Thursday, May 21, 2009

Duck Daddy and His Six Girls - Day 2

The brooder galvanized washbasin has been kept at 90ºF to keep these little girls warm. Last night while we slept the temperature dropped to about 85º, and they were all huddled together in the morning. So I moved the heat lamp a little closer to raise the temperature back up to 90º.

They sleep in short spurts, and anytime they hear someone in the room they all get up, and get excited. Often they move together like a little troop of clumsy, fuzzy soldiers. I guess this is why Indian Runners are used to train herding dogs in their herding skills.

Last night a mosquito hawk flew into the washbasin. I would not want to be a bug in a duck brooder. I wish I had a picture of that moment. These little girls went to town on that bug. First one saw it, and snagged it with her little bill. She tried to munch on it, but it was a bit too big to swallow. Then another saw what was going on and tried to steal the bug from the first duck. Pretty soon the poor bug was being picked up, dropped, and passed around from duck to duck. They were not quite big or strong enough to kill it, and eat it, but they gave it a solid thrashing until it eventually gave up the bug-ghost. Meanwhile they were all happily squeaking at the adventure.

They are now three days old, and quite active. Indian Runners are funny ducks. They are like the clowns of the duck world. They are very sociable, they stand erect like penguins, and they travel together. I am amazed how erect they stand when excited - even now at only three days old.

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