Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ducks, Week Deux

Has anyone ever told you how fast ducks grow?  Oh my gosh.  They're something that grows really fast. Bamboo?  Analogies are not quite my strong suit.  Anyway, ducks are visibly larger every morning when you go to check on them.  It is really something.

Well we had to do better for them than the carboard box, so I stole Bear's (that's Hubs to you) cooler from upstairs and performed some minor surgery on it.  I replaced the lid with chicken wire and thus we have a functioning duck-approved secure container.  Toss in some water and food, then stick them under a heat lamp and you're on your way to some spoiled rotten duckies.

Soon they were just way too big to stay in their cooler all day.  We opted to make a little outdoor pen for them to chillax in while the weather's fair.  An old galvanized wash bucket is a great spot for them to cool off when it's too hot.  It also wonderful for stink-removing purposes in the morning (WHOOO!  Is a cooler full of duck poo ever foul!)

The swimming is also rather therapeutic for little Necker.
He's the guy up front, and the reason we got ducks in the first place.  We were offered him for free, as he's technically 'bad stock'.  The sweet lady at the store, who didn't want to see anything bad happen to him, said he couldn't hold his neck up right.  Other than that, he seemed to be eating and drinking as normal.  
A friend sent me an article on wry neck, and it seemed to fit the bill. (No pun intended.  Seriously, not a fan of puns.)  We started sprinkling wheat germ on their food, as it has a good bit of vitamin E.  Although it can be caused by many things, it's suggested that you pump up the E in your duckling's diet if one starts to develop wry neck.  Anywho, soon enough we couldn't tell him from the other kids, so I guess our home treatment worked!

Ducks aren't supposed to stay outside over night by themselves until they're around 10 weeks old.  Only then can they regulate their own body temperatures.  Even then, it's never really recommended that they stay outside without a proper pen all night.  Predators and all that.  However I kind of suspect that most of the people who write those recommendations are sitting on their farm somewhere thinking of the wild dogs and foxes.  On our quarter acre, the only worry is the black tomcat next door.

But still, better safe than sorry.  We cram them back into their little cooler in the evenings until we can come up with a better plan.  They don't complain too much.

Ducks in a catbox.  Those ducks obviously do what they want.

More updates on the little quackheads to come!

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