Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Duck Daddy and His Six Girls

Philip the Evangelist had seven daughters who were prophets. Philip of Salem has six daughters. We'll see how prophetic they will be.

Today our six Indian Runner Ducks arrived. They are one day old. They traveled by freight from Pennsylvania to Agway Feed Store in Danvers, MA. I picked them up at Agway and drove them the 4 or 5 miles home in a boot box. Here they are on the ride home. They were chirping all the way, and jumping against the side of the shoebox hotel wanting to get out.

They are all girls (supposedly), and have little white bands around their legs to mark that they were sexed at the duck farm before they were shipped. We don.'t really want to raise ducks in our not too large yard, and we don't want to eat them, but we do want eggs. Indian Runners are supposed to lay as many as 300 eggs a year - that's 300 per duck - that's potentially 1,800 eggs a year.

Once we arrived home, I let Holly (our greyhound) out, and said the famous word she is so fond of - "squirrel!" She ran around the yard, and I carried the girls in past her unobservant nose.

Once inside I took them out of their temporary shoebox home, and placed them in the galvanized washbasin we are using as a brooder.



It took them a little time to figure out how to drink. I placed some water we had prepared with honey (one tablespoon for a quart) in a shallow dish, and they took a bit of time to figure out that they were supposed to drink.

They pecked at the dish from underneath. They tried to climb over it. They tried to climb in it. I guess that makes sense. They are ducks after all.

I had sprinkled finely chopped grass clippings on the water. Apparently this helps them drink. It seemed to work. After the initial drink, they return to their water trough excitedly whenever I add grass clippings.
In a similar manner it took them sometime to figure out the feeder, and begin to eat the starter mash we have in the small feed trough. Once they did eat some mash they would shake their heads trying to get the mash down. I made sure to be there to give them some water at first, but they eventually discovered that it is good to drink after a mouthful of dry mash.

The girls all seem happy and healthy. This is the first hour home, and I am Duck Daddy.
For now, this is the beginning of the adventure of Duck Daddy and his Six girls. I'll be on this duty for at least a month I imagine. So, stay tuned.

10 comments:

g13 said...

just keep preston away from them and they will be all right.

Pastor Phil said...

Preston might pose the same threat as a hawk - at least for now.

Adam Gonnerman said...

Sounds like a lot of work to me. Are duck eggs better than chicken eggs?

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Adam,

I think they are better than chicken eggs, and a little bigger too.

Yep, a bit of work to raise them from day old, but we shouldn't have to buy any eggs for years, and have dozens to barter as well.

cern said...

Quackers! :)

BB

Mike

Pastor Phil said...

Not edible "quakers" though. At least not for us. :-)

cern said...

Very cute though. :)

BB

Mike

Pastor Phil said...

It is rather amazing how quickly they are developing personality too.

Szczeb said...

I'm puzzled; how do you sex a duckling before its cheep changes to a quack and it starts laying eggs (or not)? (I once learned how to do it with hamsters!).

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Szczeb,

Well, they arrived with little white bands distinguishing them as girls. So, someone else did that for us, but if you want to learn how to sex a duck check out http://www.ehow.com/how_2061032_sex-ducks.html

Just to talk about it sounds like an R rated Marx brothers routine.