Ducklings day 58: not really ducklings anymore

I still haven’t decided what to do about my duck posts; as mentioned in today’s Flock Friday, I will probably roll them into the Friday post, but am tempted to continue daily posts, perhaps with just one picture, though that doesn’t really fit the format of this blog. But hey, why decide now when I can put it off another day!

So, on with today’s pictures… starting with some night cam shots from last night; looking alert about some noise or something:

Night ducks

Some in the water:

Night ducks

Everyone swimming:

Night ducks

Morning ducks:

Morning ducks

Below the pond deck:

Ducks below pond deck

On the bank:

Ducks by pond deck

A GIF of wing-assisted jumping from the pond to the bank:

GIF of ducks by pond deck

Next to the lawn, with Bert shaking his head:

Ducks next to lawn

This afternoon, ducks on the bank enjoying mealworm treats, with Bert in the water heading for the koi food:

Ducks by pond deck

Some on the bank, some in the water:

Ducks by pond deck and in pond

Flock Friday for July 31

Some sad news this Flock Friday: a raccoon got into one of our chicken coops, and killed two of our chickens. (Don’t worry, there are no graphic pictures in this post.)

I’ve had some issues with a couple of the pop door openers recently, where they sometimes don’t open or close. I wasn’t too concerned about the one on the new chicken coop, as the run is fully enclosed, even with netting on the roof; just a small opening into the old run. I’m not sure if the raccoon got in via that hole, or over the fence and through some small gap in the roof netting, but it did.

When I did my morning rounds on Monday, I saw a dead chicken in the run: Lola, the introverted chicken (a Blue Cochin). Looking around, I saw a second dead chicken elsewhere in the run: Tilly (a Double-Laced Barnevelder).

Reviewing the cam footage, I saw the raccoon in the coop shortly after midnight on Monday:

Raccoon in chicken coop

The raccoon looked at the seven chickens roosting on top of the nesting boxes:

Raccoon in chicken coop

But went after the easy target, Lola, alone on the main roosts:

Raccoon in chicken coop

Not a nice way to go at all. I don’t know what happened with Tilly, though; I only saw the raccoon in the coop once. Perhaps she was on the outside roosts, which attracted the attention of the raccoon? Unfortunately, the run camera doesn’t record, so I couldn’t see what happened there.

I feel really bad that I hadn’t manually closed the pop door. I have been checking it each night ever since, and working with the manufacturer to diagnose its issues.

Still, it could have been much worse, if the raccoon had gone back for more.

Sorry if this sad news brings you down; it’s all part of life on the homestead, but not a pleasant aspect.

For the other chickens, life goes on. Here they are with leafy treats:

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Chickens with treats

Buffy in a nesting box:

Buffy in a nesting box

As for the ducks, I’m continuing my daily duck posts for another few days, while there are frequent changes, though will probably stop sometime in the coming week, and roll the duck pictures into the Flock Friday posts from next week. Though I’m tempted to do a “daily duck” post, restricted to one picture per day, or something like that. Let me know what you think.

So for now, let’s suffice with one last picture of Bert before the new ducks joined him, stealing the koi food:

Bert with koi

More duck pictures tonight.

Ducklings day 57: we don’t need no stinkin’ duck house

The ducks all spent the night outside again, as I expect will be the norm going forward. They slept on the pond and on the bank by the pond deck, which is one of Bert’s favorite spots.

I gave them treats from the pond deck again last night:

Treats from the pond deck last night

When I visited on morning rounds, I found them all on the bank by the pond deck:

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

I rearranged the run a bit to provide more shade without having to move the shade panel to access the duck house, which was probably a waste of time, since they’ve found their own shady spots:

Rearranged run

I’ll probably remove the temporary run this weekend, if they’re done with it.

The ducks on the bank from above:

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

They explored the back lawn a little:

Ducks on the back lawn

Hunting for tasty bugs:

Ducks on the back lawn

Enjoying the afternoon shade:

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

A view of the pond, back lawn, and brown gazebo, with the ducks by the grasses:

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

Mealworm treats on afternoon rounds:

Ducks on the bank by the pond deck

Ducklings day 56: the great outdoors

Last night the ducks all spent the night outside for the first time.

A cam shot from the previous night; maybe the last night they will spend inside their house:

Ducks inside house

Yesterday morning, eager to be let out:

Ducks inside house

A swim yesterday evening:

Evening swim

Evening mealworm treats (did you see the video posted earlier?):

Evening mealworms

When I went out just before sunset to close up the duck house for the night, they chose to stay outside. I closed the maintenance doors, but left the pop door open, so they could go inside from the pond if they wanted. Here they are just after sunset, maybe regretting their choices, but I’m sure Bert was reassuring them that it’ll be fine — he’s slept outside since he first went into the pond a year ago:


They spent most of the night on the bank in or near the run:

Night ducks

Nobody home:

Empty house

Morning ducks:

Morning ducks

I decided it was time to remove the pool in the temporary run, since they haven’t used it other than for drinking since going in the pond:

Removing pool

I replaced it with the paint tray as a water dish, though they can also drink from the waterer in the house during the day, or the pond anytime:

Simplified run

Swimming this morning:



We had lunch on the pond deck, and watched them slowly moving further amongst the grasses on the pond edge as the sun moved:


Later, they took advantage of the shade in the run:

In the run

Shade in the run

Ducklings day 55: more swimming

Now that the new ducks are in the pond, I don’t consider them ducklings anymore, but I’ll continue with the “ducklings day” title for now, as long as I’m doing daily posts on them. Which I really should phase out, but I’m so enjoying sharing the fun of seeing them in the pond.

Ducks in the pond

Ducks in the pond

Ducks in the pond

Ducks in the pond

An animated GIF of Betty treading water:

GIF of treading water

Betty and Bert:

Betty and Bert

Afternoon ducks:

Afternoon ducks

Flapping wings to go faster, pretty much running on the water:

Flapping wings to go faster

Actually, that’s best experienced as a GIF, too:

GIF of flapping wings to go faster

Ducks in the pond

Flapping wings:

Flapping wings

GIF of Betty diving underwater:

GIF of diving

Dragonfly and ducks:

Dragonfly and ducks


Flapping wings:

Flapping wings

Ducklings day 54: into the pond!

Yesterday I opened the duck house pop door for the first time, and while Bert joined them, the new ducks didn’t venture into the pond. But today was different; they had their first swims in the pond!

Here they are in their house, after I opened the pop door:


As mentioned in the video I posted on YouTube earlier today, since they weren’t showing any sign of wanting to go out, I basically nudged them out the door. I can understand their hesitation, but sometimes a bit more encouragement is needed.

The three female ducks went out first.

(Fun fact digression: female ducks are called “hens” or just “ducks”, while males are called “drakes”, but I don’t bother with that, since that might cause confusion with the chicken hens.)

Bert showed them around — “here is where you can get treats and steal fish food when the human does afternoon rounds”:

Bert shows the female ducks around

Bert and the female ducks

Bert and the female ducks

Bert and the female ducks

Then I encouraged the boys out, and they joined the girls in a corner of the pond:

All the ducks in the pond

Ducks in the pond

Duck zoomies:

Duck zoomies

Sven flapping his wings:

Sven flapping wings

Flapping, dunking, and splashing in the shallow end of the pond:

Flapping and dunking


Flapping and splashing

Flapping wings:

Flapping wings

Nice formation:

Nice formation

Backlit and sunbeams from the other side of the pond:

In front of duck house

In a corner of the pond

By the duck house

A while later, they returned to their run for a rest:

Returning to run

Nap time; all that swimming was hard work!

Nap time

(That’s Bert in the pool.)


New ducks first swim

Since the new ducks didn’t avail themselves of the pond when I opened the pop door yesterday, today I “encouraged” them (I basically shoved them out the door). The three females went first, and Bert showed them around the pond, then the boys joined them.

This video contains five clips from their first swim, from different vantage points around the pond.

Ducklings day 53

Today’s the day! Today I opened the pop door of the duck house. But it didn’t go quite as expected.

As mentioned yesterday, I didn’t expect them all to go into the pond… but I didn’t anticipate what actually happened: instead of the new ducks joining Bert in the pond, Bert joined them in the duck house!

We began the day the same as usual, opening up the duck house and refilling their waterer and pool:


And the usual treats:

Treat time

Sven, Sonja, Cora:

Sven, Sonja, Cora

Then I opened the pop door, that little door that leads to a ramp into the pond; here it’s partway open:

Opening pop door

Looking in through the pop door at some surprised ducks:

Looking in through the pop door

Almost immediately, Bert hopped out of the pond onto the ramp and into the house. He really wanted to be with them. Here he’s to the right of Betty:

Betty and Bert

Bert in the duck house:

Bert in the duck house

Bert in the duck house

Bert’s the one at the back:

Bert in the duck house

Bert in front:

Bert in the duck house


Looking through the vent of the duck house:

Looking through the vent of the duck house

Bert is on the ground, Betty on the steps:


He didn’t show any aggression towards them, or vice versa; they seem to have successfully gotten used to each other through the fence.

I decided to add more ceramic pots to the pond as islands, anticipating the new ducks sleeping outside (in due course); these are three spare pots:


I added two of them near the existing one (the square one on top of a concrete block):

Pots in pond as islands

And the third in a shallower part, since it was smaller:

Pots in pond as islands

While wading in the pond, I took some pictures of the ducks; here Bert is watching me from the pop door:

Ducks from pond

Ducks from pond

After lunch, back at the duck house, I noticed lots of bees drinking from the pond; it’s a hot day today (95° F), so the bees are extra thirsty:

Bees drinking from pond

The ducks still hadn’t ventured into the pond, so I opened the run fence on the pond side, to see if that’d help. Spoiler: nope:

Opened run fence on pond side

The ducks watching from the house:

Ducks in house

View from across the pond:

View from across the pond

View from across the pond

As I write this, the new ducks still haven’t ventured into the pond. We’ll see if they do later, or maybe another day.


Bert joins the new ducks

Today we opened the duck house pop door, enabling the new ducks to go into the pond, but instead Bert took the opportunity to join them in their house and run. (Bert is the duck closest to the pop door.)