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.

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.

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.

Ducklings day 63: lonely Sven

Did you see the video of Cora sliding into the pond? That was taken by Jenn, and was rather amusing. Based on the track down the rock, they seem to use that route a lot, which isn’t surprising, since it’s near one of their favorite hangout spots.

From this morning, some ducks in the pond:

Ducks in the pond

A Rouen rising up out of the water:

A Rouen rising up out of the water

Here’s a GIF of that; also rather funny, like riding a unicycle:

GIF of a Rouen rising up out of the water

Over in the deep end, with poor Sven hiding amongst the grasses on the edge:

Ducks in the pond

He doesn’t get to hang out with the others when Bert is on the case:

Ducks in the pond

Bert chasing Sven back to the edge:

Bert chasing Sven

Sven separated again:

Ducks in the pond

Lonely Sven:

Sven

Ducklings day 61: Bert vs Sven

As mentioned yesterday, Bert really doesn’t like Sven. I don’t know what his problem is, but he keeps chasing Sven.

First, some glowy Rouens:

Glowy Rouens

Looking at them from across the pond:

From across the pond

Resting in the duck house; that’s Sven on the left at the back, and Betty next to him:

Resting in duck house

Sven with a Rouen:

Resting in duck house

Then along comes Bert:

Bert chasing Sven

And Sven quickly retreated:

Bert chasing Sven

A GIF of Bert chasing Sven across the pond:

GIF of Bert chasing Sven

A somewhat more clear picture:

Bert chasing Sven

They’re just going to have to sort that out themselves.

Ducklings day 60: sixty, really?

Sixty days sounds like a lot, but is only about 8.5 weeks.

The ducks swimming and/or sleeping on the pond at night (they can swim with half their brain and sleep with the other half):

Night ducks

Greeting the ducks in their run in the morning:

Morning ducks

Morning ducks

Leafy treats:

Morning ducks

Morning ducks

Morning ducks

Ducks jumping into the pond:

Ducks jumping into pond

Hmm, the pop door didn’t open on the duck house this morning; the opener had an error, so maybe needs more attention. I recalibrated (again), and will see if it opens tomorrow:

Pop door opener error

Afternoon treats from the pond deck:

Treats

Treats

Bert seems to have taken a disliking to Sven; he chased him away from the treats:

Sven

I’ve seen Bert chasing Sven several times. He doesn’t chase any of the other ducks. Sven will be bigger than Bert when fully grown, so the tables may turn on that.