Saturday, August 29, 2009

Duck Daddy and Hmmmmm..Uh, Oh

It has been almost a month since I last wrote about the ducks. I was going blog about these endeavors with the ducks until they were grown up and outside. Since day 1 back on May 20th, the duck stories have been followed, and they have been outside for quite some time now.

They changed rapidly. One of the original six girls died at a couple weeks old. They pooped like crazy. They loved the water like, well, like ducks. Bev got duck poop in her eye. The squeaked like crazy for lettuce. They eventually developed their quacks, and their feathers. We learned lessons about ducks, and then the girls made the cover of the Runner Duck Newsletter, and they also made the news in a local story on Urban Farming.

Well the last month has tow major duck developments:

1) they are in their new house. It has been built into the shed. Next to their shed is our duck pen. It is wire fence almost six feet high, and netting over the top to keep out predators. It is a fine black plastic mesh netting. So far it works just fine. The only visitor we've seen in the duck pen is a groundhog. He lives under the shed, and came out to say high to the ducks. It was in the middle of the day, and it looked like a standoff. The groundhog was staring at the ducks, and the five ducks were staring back at the groundhog quacking.

I was in the kitchen talking with Val. She saw a creature in the pen, and said, "There's a creature in the duck pen. I think it's a beaver."

I thought to myself, "There's no chance it's a beaver. We don't have beavers in Salem." But, I ran out to see what kind of predator it might be. The groundhog ran off when he saw me.

2) We discovered that one of our ducks is not. We have not named the ducks, because they all looked the same, and even the small differences were difficult to follow through the changes as they were growing up, and changing so quickly. That is all except one. One of the girls was bigger than the others. She was a little darker. She seemed like the duck in charge - always alert, and a little protective of the others. As she grew up her feathers came in a little later, and her down stayed a little longer. Her quack was whispery and hoarse compared to the honking of the other girls.

Okay, you duck oficianados and farmers already know what was going on.

Bev decided to name the one duck we could tell apart from the others. She named the duck "Pato." I though that the name was too masculine and did not like it. Well, I suppose that Pato is a fine and appropriate name, because one day over the last month, it dawned on Bev despite the little white band around the leg which came with the duckling as assurance that we had 6 girls, Pato was not a duck. Pato was a drake. After over 3 months of duck raising poor Pato was thought to be a girl the whole time.

Now instead of Duck Daddy and his 5 girls what we have is Pato and his Harem. Sheesh. He looks pretty proud in that photo, doesn't he? So much for my previous post titles - I can not call this Duck Daddy and His Five Girls anymore.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Duck Daddy and His Five Girls - 11 weeks

So the girls are about 11 weeks old. Feathers are all over the yard. They are loosing, pulling out, and spilling feathers with some downy edge to them, and these feathers are everywhere in the lawn.

The ducks are also uneven in color. Will they stay this way, or will they get darker on their fawn colored parts as they loose their young ducky feathers and grow the next crop of them? This is our first duck adventure, so we are not sure, but here's how they look right now.