This week: followup on Gert, news about ducklings, a duck and bird GIF, and various chicken pics. Yep, it’s Flock Friday!
As you may have seen mentioned last week, we lost our female Buff duck, Gert. We’re not sure exactly what happened, but think a raccoon or larger wildlife grabbed her. The last sighting of her alive was when both ducks swam towards the waterfall shortly before dawn, looking curious about something:
Then a few minutes later Bert swam back alone:
An hour later, when it was light, I saw Bert on the island (upturned pot), looking like he was searching for Gert:
And he kept swimming over to the waterfall area and looking around:
As described in that post, I later found her remains in the middle of some tall grasses next to the waterfall.
We are of course sad to lose another duck, though know full well that it’s a risk of free-range ducks.
We’re sad for Bert being all alone now, too.
But we certainly aren’t giving up on keeping ducks. We were hoping they would breed and make more ducklings, but now that that isn’t an option, we have ordered more. Seven ducklings, for arrival in the beginning of June.
Firstly we got a replacement female Buff, like Gert was.
We also got male and female Khaki Campbell ducks:
Male and female Rouen ducks, which are interesting for looking similar to common wild Mallards, though do not fly:
And male and female Blue Swedish ducks:
(Click those links to learn more about each, if interested.)
Hopefully we’ll have a better survival rate this time! The duck house I built is sized for four adult ducks, but since the ducks prefer to live outside, it’ll be plenty big enough for seven ducklings.
Of course, in preparation for ducklings again I’ll need to close up the duck house and convert it back to a duckling nursery, but I’ve noticed that Bert doesn’t go in the duck house to eat anyway; he seems to get plenty to eat from free-ranging. I have started to hand-feed him in the mornings, instead of giving him mealworm treats; perhaps not as tasty, but better for him.
So, look forward to lots of cute duckling pics in future flock updates!
Anyway, back to the pictures. It’s getting warmer, so I opened some of the chicken coop vents:
I picked up some supplies at the feed store (after getting bee nucs), including straw and chick feed for the ducklings, chicken food, flock block, and chicken bedding. So the storage area of the new coop is rather crowded at present:
Bert wandering around the edge of the flowerbeds:
Bert visiting the chickens:
As mentioned, I’m hand-feeding him in the mornings now:
An animated GIF of Bert going onto the pond island and flapping his wings, while birds swoop over the pond to drink:
A still of Bert flapping his wings:
Broody Kiwi and Martha:
Eggs in a nesting box: