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):
Plus one Blue Swedish:
One Khaki Campbell:
And four female Rouens, since we have two males:
(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.
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.
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:
A Rouen rising up out of the water:
Here’s a GIF of that; also rather funny, like riding a unicycle:
Over in the deep end, with poor Sven hiding amongst the grasses on the edge:
He doesn’t get to hang out with the others when Bert is on the case:
Bert chasing Sven back to the edge:
Sven separated again:
Read an interesting blog post about ducks this morning, where her advice was to have only one or two male ducks and more females. Oops. As she said, male ducks can be real jerks. Not looking at anyone in particular, Bert.
Treats on the bank:
They enjoy this grassy patch:
Heading into the house:
Poor Sven keeps getting chased away by Bert:
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:
Looking at them from across the pond:
Resting in the duck house; that’s Sven on the left at the back, and Betty next to him:
Sven with a Rouen:
Then along comes Bert:
And Sven quickly retreated:
A GIF of Bert chasing Sven across the pond:
A somewhat more clear picture:
They’re just going to have to sort that out themselves.
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):
Greeting the ducks in their run in the morning:
Ducks jumping into the 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:
Afternoon treats from the pond deck:
Bert seems to have taken a disliking to Sven; he chased him away from the treats:
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.
Today I mucked out the duck house.
But first, sleepy ducks:
Approaching for treats:
Eating treats; check out those tongues!
Mucking out the duck house; it had many layers of compacted straw:
I took several loads of dirty straw to the compost on my cart:
The straw added a lot of volume to the compost bin:
Empty duck house:
I probably won’t need to muck it out again for a while, now that they aren’t living in there anymore.
I also refilled their food, in the inverted jug at the top of the feeder tube:
The ducks visited the duck house to eat; here Bert and Betty seem to be comparing notes:
Bert with a dirty bill, while others eat:
An animated GIF of ducks eating:
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:
Some in the water:
Below the pond deck:
On the bank:
A GIF of wing-assisted jumping from the pond to the bank:
Next to the lawn, with Bert shaking his head:
This afternoon, ducks on the bank enjoying mealworm treats, with Bert in the water heading for the koi food:
Some on the bank, some in the water:
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:
When I visited on morning rounds, I found them all 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:
I’ll probably remove the temporary run this weekend, if they’re done with it.
The ducks on the bank from above:
They explored the back lawn a little:
Hunting for tasty bugs:
Enjoying the afternoon shade:
A view of the pond, back lawn, and brown gazebo, with the ducks by the grasses:
Mealworm treats on afternoon rounds:
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:
Yesterday morning, eager to be let out:
A swim yesterday evening:
Evening mealworm treats (did you see the video posted earlier?):
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:
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:
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:
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: