The ducks swimming in the pond, enjoying mealworm treats tossed from the pond deck.
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.
An animated GIF of Betty treading water:
Betty and Bert:
Flapping wings to go faster, pretty much running on the water:
Actually, that’s best experienced as a GIF, too:
GIF of Betty diving underwater:
Dragonfly and ducks:
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”:
Then I encouraged the boys out, and they joined the girls in a corner of the pond:
Sven flapping his wings:
Flapping, dunking, and splashing in the shallow end of the pond:
Backlit and sunbeams from the other side of the pond:
A while later, they returned to their run for a rest:
Nap time; all that swimming was hard work!
(That’s Bert in the pool.)
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:
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:
Looking in through the pop door at some surprised ducks:
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:
Bert in the duck house:
Bert’s the one at the back:
Bert in front:
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):
And the third in a shallower part, since it was smaller:
While wading in the pond, I took some pictures of the ducks; here Bert is watching me from the pop door:
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:
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:
The ducks watching from the house:
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.
Today is the last day before the new ducks can go free-range; I plan to open the pop door and let them go into the pond tomorrow morning.
I don’t expect them all to take that opportunity the first day, though having access to the run and pool might make them more comfortable with going into the pond than the ducklings last year, who didn’t have that advantage. I’m very glad I hacked together the run this year:
Betty on the steps:
Cora shaking off water:
I wanted to compare Clive and Cora; Clive has darker wing feathers, and Cora is more uniform, but their bills and feet are very similar. As mentioned yesterday, Clive will put on a bit more of a show in spring, and I think in the fall too:
An animated slow-mo GIF of Cora dunking and the water flowing off her back:
And a slow-mo GIF of flapping her wings; look at all those feathers:
Today, I feel like I’m being watched, and I watch shimmery feathers.
Everybody looking at me in the morning:
Just waiting for their treats:
I was fascinated by the green feathers of a Rouen:
Or are they blue feathers?
By the way, the Rouens currently look like females, though I know they are both males. Apparently they only have the colorful plumage in spring; other times they have more female-looking feathers to blend in. Sneaky! Should be interesting to watch. I didn’t see that with Bert, as he stayed the Buff color year-round (though did get the characteristically male tail curl in spring).
Swimming for treats:
I feel like I’m being watched again; heads tilted to point an eye at me:
50 days! 49 is seven weeks old, but 50 feels like a more significant number.
Bert and Betty:
Sonja at the top of the steps:
Bert and Betty again; I wonder if they feel some sort of breed kinship?
This afternoon, I noticed Sven and Sonja swimming (watched by Betty); unusual to see Sven in the pool:
Cora (I assume) and Sonja on the steps, with Sven spreading his wings:
Sonja on the steps, Sven and Cora swimming:
A few more days before free-range opportunity! Though I will be surprised if they all go out into the pond on the first day.
This morning, a wide-angle shot of filling their pool, while they cautiously wait:
I expect Cora and Sonja will be the first into the pond:
Betty: why go after the treat that’s right there, when there’s one in the water?
Why not both?
Bert and Betty:
A zoom on some nice green feathers of a Rouen:
Sonja, Cora, and a Rouen:
Only a few more days of duckling posts! It’s becoming increasingly a stretch to call them that; they’re pretty much just ducks now. My threshold is when they are allowed in the pond.
And I now have a planned date for opening the pop door of the duck house: this Sunday. The weather will be cooling off a bit later this week, but Sunday is forecast to be a high of 90°F / 32°C and low of 62°F / 17°C, so they’ll probably want to cool off in the water, and it’ll be warm enough overnight if they choose to spend the night on the pond (as I expect at least some will).
Here’s everyone; Sven on the left, then Betty, the two Rouens (Raoul and Rémy), the two Khaki Campbells (Cora and Clyde), and Sonja in the pool:
Cora and Sonja:
Cora, Sonja, one of the Rouens:
Bert watching… not long now, buddy:
Sven and Sonja standing side-by-side, a Rouen in the shadowy foreground, and Cora preening:
A Rouen, Betty, and Sven:
Bert and Betty watching me:
A bit over three weeks ago I did a post titled “Duckling names”, where I included one picture of the ducklings, and listed their breeds and names. I thought it was time to do an update of that, now that they’re mostly feathered and grown. (Check out how much smaller they were back then!)
Here’s a picture from this afternoon that includes all seven of the new ducklings.
In the front we have the two Khaki Campbells. Cora is on the left, and Clyde on the right. They’re hard to tell apart, though Cora is tidier since she swims a lot (I’ve noticed that female ducklings are much more into swimming than male).
Behind them is our female Buff, Betty.
Behind her is the female Blue Swedish, Sonja. She is distingushed by the small patch of white on her chest.
Behind her are the two Rouens, Raoul and Rémy. They are both male, and I haven’t studied them closely enough to tell them apart.
Lastly, we have the male Blue Swedish, Sven. He has a larger white patch.