Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Baby Ducks & Turkeys!

So....about a week ago, we had a baby duck show up: it was injured & none of the broody mama ducks seemed to want to claim it; so we put it in a brooder & hoped for the best.

baby turkeys and duck

Later the same day; we discovered that some baby turkeys had hatched out: so we gathered them up & put them in the brooder with baby ducky.  (Turkey Mama is wild & hops the fence: we lost all but one of her last brood)  They immediately became fast friends; whenever I took ducky out for a swim, the turkeys were peeping their heads off wondering where brother ducky was...lol : )

Fast forward another 2 days; OMG! One of the broody ducks finally hatched out babies!!  She had about 16: lost a few: & we took 12 & added them to the brooder.  The little rescue ducky was now the big brother, showing everyone the food & water: so cute!  We left 2 babies with the Mama duck hoping for the best.

duckies in the pool
Here is the whole herd for their first swim in the big pool; the one to the left is the original; he is bigger than the rest & shows everyone what to do : )

baby ducks in the pool
They loved the pool party: lots of splashing & zooming about...  

baby ducks first swim in the big pool
It's been really hot here this week, so they were fine playing in the water (under supervision).  Baby ducks can actually drown or die of cold if they get wet: their baby fluff does not shed water yet: so they have to be monitored to make sure they are not too cold & that they can get out of the water.  Fortunately, it's been really warm; the water was about bath temperature & after their swim they got to dry off in the sun.  

Tonight, we added the remaining 2 duckies to the herd: unfortunately Moma duck is not doing a very good job.  She runs off & leaves them & I don't think she is letting them eat enough: they are noticeably smaller than the other ducks that have had full access to chick starter & water.    Poor Moma duck was a bit freaked out, but got over it in about 15 minutes, lol.  Bird brains...

Baby ducks first swim in the pink pool
It's a bit more work, taking care of them instead of having the momy birds do it, but this way we will end up with much calmer birds that know where home is.  They are locked up in the brooder in the shop at night & during the day get to zoom around in the run outside on the grass.  So far, everyone is doing great: the original duck seems to have healed up just fine--he still has a funny spot on his eye, but seems to be able to see out of it.  

The turkeys get along just fine with the duckies: although they are a lot more dopy, lol : )  They are like baby chicks, but high on pot or something: there is a lot of blank staring...it's hilarious : )  We got 3 that are white, & 2 that will be more brown like the moma turkey.  Hoping that one of the white ones is a hen so we can keep her to breed with our white/black male.  He is a Royal Palm turkey; a heritage breed, & I would love to keep the line going.  

Along with the ducks & turkeys; we have tons on new chickens: holy cows we have had a lot of broody hens this year!  But, so far we have more new hens than roos & some good color, which makes me happy.   

This fall, all the extra roos & any hens that are too aggressive, along with the extra turkeys will go to freezer camp to make Thanksgiving dinner & chicken soup for the winter.  The male ducks will probably just be sold: neither of us really car for duck meat...although if they don't sell, they will end up in the freezer too & I will be researching duck recipes...  I know it seems harsh, but we have learned: too many roos & they fight with each other, ducks are even worse...  And: selling free-range thanksgiving turkeys helps pay for feed for everyone.  Plus; we get a supply of free-range chicken that we know exactly how they were fed & how they lived; very healthy protein : )  (tasty too)

I love keeping chickens & ducks & turkeys; we have a nice large lot out of town, so we can let them free range all day, everyday: I love seeing them out in the yard everyday.  They can be a bit pesty: they love to roost on the steel rack & try to sneak in the shop whenever the door is open, but mostly their antics are just funny & cute.  They also keep the bug population under control & "fertilize" wherever they go: once in awhile they do want to dig where they shouldn't, but it's a small price to pay for all their entertainment & fresh eggs.  

Looking forward to seeing this new little herd of fluffballs grow up; they are so tiny & adorable right now! Hoping for mostly girls, but we shall see...  I will update in a week or so : )  If anyone out there in blog-land has any questions about keeping chickens/ducks/turkeys/geese: please email me; would love to answer any questions or concerns : )