BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY
These four ducks above were born on the 4th July 2015 and the pictures below were taken on the 15th August. It is amazing how quickly they grew.
In no time at all they went from being tiny, helpless little ducklings, huddled under their mother for warmth and comfort to becoming almost fully grown ducks as they are now. I have loved having them around and raising ducks has been much easier and more rewarding, not to mention fun, than I ever imagined.
They still stay as near as they can to their mother, Hannah, however they do have to work on staying close as Hannah tends to forget about them.
We no longer keep them within a separate enclosure in the main enclosure and since last week we have been letting them out to free range with the hens. As you can see below they are all quite happy together – at least most of the time.
I also no longer make them my special green porridge for the ducklings as they are now able to forage for greens themselves and like their parents, they are supplementing their diet with snails and slugs etc.
The young ducks are also quite happy to take their chances in the scrum with the hens when I dish out their evening porridge.
DUCKING AND DIVING
Their father, Harry, the drake, is still quite strict with them and I have seen him poking and pecking at them when they get in their way in the pond, sometimes even pushing them out of his way so that he can enjoy the pond to himself.
THE BIG FIGHT
This is the first time I ever seen Harry’s magnificent indigo blue feathers and it was the last time too, as fortunately they have had no more fights and the cockerel is keeping his distance.
I haven’t seen Hannah pecking at the ducks, or anything like that but I have observed that she’s probably not going to pick up any super-mother awards just yet either.
One day I opened the enclosure to let all the ducks and hens out to free range. I noticed that Harry and Hannah, pipped the hens to the post in their rush to get out.
They were quickly followed by two of their ducklings. But the other two hadn’t seen them leave and so didn’t follow. Harry and Hannah were in so much of a hurry to go for a wander and enjoy a bit of fresh snail hunting that they didn’t even notice the absence of two of their young.
After a few moments the two abandoned ducklings began to panic, quacking like mad and scratching at the wire fence even though they were just a couple of feet away from the open door. Meanwhile their parents had crossed the garden into the long grass seemingly unaware of their children’s plight.
There was nothing I could do to help as the last time I tried to guide the ducklings to the open door they took fright and ran in the opposite direction. I eventually managed to whoosh them out through the door but decided that in future I would let them figure their own way out.
This time it took the two young ducks quite a few minutes to learn that they were standing just feet away from freedom but once they were outside they had no problem picking up their parent’s trail and were soon happily quacking along behind them.
The family group stay quiet close together but it is definitely the young ducks who do the running and following. I can see that if it were up to the parents alone, those young ducks would most likely be lost.
I doubt they could make their own way around the garden and back to the enclosure before night time if they weren’t following their parents and sadly this means that like their unfortunate cousins, the guinea fowl, they would probably end up becoming a hearty meal for the fox.
In the meantime I am keeping my fingers crossed the young ducks continue to survive and thrive.
Back soon with more updates – have fun gardening.
Click here for more about hens, ducks and all things fowl.