More ducklings day 3

The ducklings are all doing fine today, so enjoy the happy cuteness.

The Blue Swedish duckling under the EcoGlow, and others gathered near the waterer:

Blue Swedish under EcoGlow

In the corner:

In the corner

Drinking and eating:

Drinking and eating

The Blue Swedish and a Rouen look like they’re hugging while watching me:

They look like they're hugging

Eating and watching me:

Eating

I caught a Live Photo of a Rouen jumping off the EcoGlow; here is a GIF that:

GIF of jumping off the EcoGlow

Droplets of water on ducklings; they can’t help getting water everywhere:

Droplets of water on duckling

In a nesting box:

In a nesting box

Flock Friday for August 14

As with the previous batch, I will post separately about the newest ducklings. These Flock Friday posts will include the older ducks and chickens.

Before I closed up the duck house for the new ducklings, the older ducks had only been going in their house to eat:

Ducks in their house

Down the ramp:

Down the ramp

They are now being fed in this temporary food dish; they’ll have access to the house feeder again once the new ducklings are grown:

Duck food dish

Ducks on the pond:

Ducks on the pond

Chickens heading to bed:

Chickens heading to bed

Chickens heading to bed

Ducks on the pond again:

Ducks on the pond

And on the pond bank:

Ducks on the pond bank

GIF of a Rouen flapping his wings:

GIF of duck flapping wings

Sleeping on the pond:

Sleeping on the pond

And sleeping on the pond bank:

Ducks on the pond bank

Chickens with treats:

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens

Chicken

Stealing lettuce I’m holding for the ducks, while I’m crouched to take pictures:

Stealing treats from me

Duck treats:

Duck treats

Under the shade:

Ducks

Ducks eating from the temporary food dish:

Ducks eating

Ducks eating

And some food scattered on the ground:

Ducks eating

GIF of ducks eating:

GIF of ducks eating

Submarine duck:

Submarine duck

More ducklings day 2

It’s day two of the newest ducklings… but unfortunately not for the Buff one. She died overnight.

I was a little concerned about her yesterday, as I saw her apart from the others a few times, which is unusual for ducklings; a potential sign of health issues. I didn’t see anything obviously wrong with her yesterday, but this morning when I visited the duck house, I found her dead in the corner, unfortunately the corner that’s in the camera blind spot.

Reviewing the cam footage, this is one of the last shots of her, having a midnight snack with the others:

Midnight snack

I saw her go into the corner, then didn’t see her again until I found her in the morning.

It’s always sad to lose an animal, but it happens. I guess she was just too weak. I just hope we don’t lose any of the others.

Sleeping around the thermometer:

Sleeping

Cuteness in the morning:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

Just now, I saw a Rouen on top of the EcoGlow; I seem to recall one of the previous batch liking that spot, too… yeah, as seen on day 5 of the previous batch:

Rouen on the EcoGlow

More ducklings day 1

Welcome to day one of the latest ducklings!

In case you missed it, the TL;DR is that we were concerned about having more boys than girls, which can lead to fighting and other issues, so decided to get seven more female ducklings, so we’ll have a total of five males and ten females — two girls for every boy (reminds me of a song).

Today those new ducklings arrived at our local post office, so I headed out to pick them up.

As usual, I secured them on the front seat in the truck:

Ducklings in the truck seat

The new ducklings in their box, with me about to remove them (photos by my wonderful wife, Jenn):

Ducklings in box

Notice the other setup in the duck house (since I decided not to do a followup to my previous prep post): the shelf liner flooring (to give traction to wobbly ducklings), the Brinsea EcoGlow heating panel, the lowered heat lamp, the thermometer, and the duckling-sized waterer and feeder. It won’t look as clean for long.

Ducklings in the box, with their gel food and heat pack:

Ducklings in box

Ducklings in box

Duck info:

Duck info

The first one out, the Blue Swedish:

Duckling

The Buff. I’m not sure what’s on her head; I’ll have to take a closer look at that (I’d guess either gel or poop):

Duckling

The Khaki Campbell, about to have her bill dipped in the water to introduce the concept of drinking:

Duckling

One of the Rouens:

Duckling

Another Rouen; there are four of them, so I’ll skip the other two:

Duckling

Everyone out and exploring:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

The temperature is too low in these pictures, as the pop door was open shortly beforehand. It should be 90°F initially; it raised later:

Ducklings

Drinking:

Ducklings

Ducklings

Ducklings

A couple of hours later, already starting to accumulate poop, and the temperature is at the ideal level under the lamp:

Ducklings

The Buff sitting under the EcoGlow (which could be a bit lower; I forgot how tiny day-old ducklings are!):

Duckling under EcoGlow

I hope you enjoyed seeing brand-new ducklings again! (And did you see and listen to the video?)

I currently plan to continue with the daily posts like I did for the earlier batch, though I may decide to reduce the frequency or simplify in some other way. It’s almost a rerun of the earlier ducklings, though no doubt there will be differences.

Cleaning out the duck house and mounting the run gate

Welcome to season three of the Yellow Cottage Homestead Ducklings show!

We begin this season, like the previous one back in May, by cleaning out the duck house in preparation for the new ducklings, due around Thursday. [Update: probably Wednesday.]

Here’s a cam shot of the duck house before cleaning it out:

Duck house before cleaning out

I started by raking out the straw and spilt food (ducks are very messy eaters):

Removing straw

I then hosed it out; I designed the duck house to be fairly waterproof with this in mind:

Hosing out duck house

Wet duck house:

Wet duck house

More hosing out:

Hosing out duck house

I left the duck house empty for now, so it can dry out:

Empty duck house

I left the food in the tube, since that is still duckling food from the earlier batch (they get starter feed until 18 weeks old). The new ducklings won’t be able to reach it for a couple of weeks, but can eat from the tube when they can.

In a couple of days time I will finish setting it up for the new ducklings, with shelf liner on the floor, the duckling feeder and waterer, EcoGlow, and heat lamp. I’ll probably do a separate post about that, but it’ll be similar to last time[Update: nah, not much point posting about it; you’ll see the setup when you see me add the new ducklings.]

Next, I installed a proper gate pole. The duckling run is temporary, but since I’ll want it again for the second set of ducklings, I’ll be keeping it around for probably at least another ten or so weeks, so I figured I might as well install a proper pole to hinge the gate:

Gate pole

The pole is set in concrete, from when it was elsewhere in the garden, so I just dug a hole and poked it in. It’s pretty sturdy.

It’ll be easier to open the gate now. It has hinges on the left and a latch on the right, just like a real one:

Gate

The rest of the run fencing is still acting as a shade for the older ducks; I’ll restore the enclosure once the new ducklings are old enough to use it in about three or four weeks time:

Gate and fence

The ducks were supervising my work:

Ducks

Cat update for week ending August 8

It’s Caturday!

Porcini arrives while another is eating:

Porcini etc

The two twins, Spud and Pommie:

Twins

Porcini:

Porcini

Comfy Poppy:

Poppy

Poppa peeking up at Spud:

Spud and Poppa

Spud in the morning:

Spud

Pommie and Spud in the cabins:

Pommie and Spud

Pommie oozing out, Spud cozy:

Pommie and Spud

Two cats inside:

Two cats inside

Two cats in the feeder (I don’t get pictures of this much anymore, as the camera isn’t recording, but I captured these live):

Two cats eating

Two cats eating

Pansy in the back of the shop:

Pansy in the shop

Flock Friday for August 7

Welcome to the first Flock Friday with the new ducks. Plus chicken pictures, of course.

As you probably saw in the previous post, we have ordered seven more ducklings, all female this time, to address the gender imbalance of the ducks. They will probably arrive around Thursday next week, so I will resume the daily duckling posts with them at that time, and will feature the older ducks in the Flock Friday posts going forward.

Again, you can read all of the previous duckling posts from the beginning via the “ducklings 2020” tag on this blog. And the second batch of ducklings will be tagged “ducklings 2020 again”.

On with the show; here are the chickens waiting for treats:

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens waiting for treats

Chickens with rice treats:

Chickens with rice treats

Chickens with rice treats

An animated GIF of Sven and Betty on the ramp from the duck house, Bert flying into the pond to chase Sven, then Betty emulating and distracting him:

GIF of ducks

Some still images from that:

Ducks on the ramp

Bert flying into pond

Betty flying from ramp to pond

Duck treats:

Duck treats

Bert, Betty, Raoul, Rémy, and Sven:

Ducks

Sonja, Sven, and Clyde:

Ducks

Ducks eating in the duck house:

Ducks in duck house

Ducks in duck house

The non-Buffs hanging out on the pond edge:

Ducks

A GIF of Sven hesitantly sliding down the rock slide:

Duck slide GIF

Duck slide

Duck slide

On morning rounds today, Flo snuck through the gate from the chicken run into the veggie garden; she quickly realized the error of her ways, and I got her back through the gate after a minute:

Chicken in veggie garden

Ducks eating in the duck house again:

Ducks in duck house

Ducks in duck house

Enjoy that while you can, ducks — I’ll be closing up the duck house this weekend, in preparation for new ducklings. I’ll feed the older ducks from a dish next to the pond. More on that another day. Stay tuned for the exciting bonus season of duck TV!

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again: more ducklings!

Yesterday I posted some musings about getting more female ducklings, to address the current imbalance of five males and three females, and expected issues that will cause as the males mature.

After sleeping on it, we decided to go ahead with that idea.

So, we just ordered seven new ducklings, all female. (Hopefully there won’t be any errors this time!) To keep things simple, we got the same four breeds as before, so there will be two females for each male of each breed. Not that they care.

That includes one more female Buff, like Betty (adult duck pictures from MyPetChicken.com):

Buff Duck Pair

Plus one Blue Swedish:

Blue Swedish duck

One Khaki Campbell:

Khaki Campbell ducks

And four female Rouens, since we have two males:

Rouen ducks

(Click those links to learn more about each, if interested.)

So, just when I was thinking of winding down the daily duckling posts, I’ll be starting again! It’s good timing, though, since the ducks don’t need the duck house anymore (other than to eat, which they can do outside), but I still have duckling food, and can leave the temporary run in place for when the newer ducklings are old enough for it in a few weeks time.

You can look forward to lots more cute baby duckling pics again starting in about a week!

For a preview, you can review the earlier duckling posts; this link will show them all in chronological order. I’ll use a new tag, imaginatively titled “ducklings 2020 again”, for this second batch of ducklings.

Should we get more ducklings?

No pictures this time, just some musing. As we see Bert’s behavior towards the other ducks, and think about potential problems as the other males mature, both in terms of fighting and over-mating, we’re regretting trying to get balanced sexes… more so since we ended up with two male Rouens instead of one of each gender.

So, tonight while Jenn and I were standing on the pond deck after watching an example of that kind of behavior, we were seriously thinking about whether or not it’d be sensible to buy more ducklings now.

Since the new ducks are now in the pond, I could get more ducklings, all female, and go through this seven-or-so week process again. Oh no, more cute ducklings!

We’re thinking a more sensible ratio would be two females for each male. Since we have five males and three females at present, that means we need seven more females.

If we did that, we’re thinking about getting four Rouens, and one more of each of the other breeds.

Of course, the other alternative would be to leave things as they are, and see what happens. Maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear. Do we really want 15 ducks, and potentially more in the future if they breed (and we don’t lose any)? We could always get more ducklings next year.

But we have an opportunity to get more now, and have them be only about 10 weeks younger.

I’m going to sleep on it and decide tomorrow, but I welcome any thoughts, especially from anyone with experience of keeping ducks.