Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Water Fowl Most Foul

There are all kinds of ducks: setting (or sitting) ducks are vulnerable because they, like all fowl, go into an "egg trance" which makes them susceptable to predators; lame ducks are also susceptable; dead ducks are the unfortunate result of vulnerability. The subject of today's treatise are dirty ducks.


A series of graduations have been taking place on the farm this week. The half-grown chicks and guinea keets in the floor cage have joined the rest of the chickens in the large chicken house. The chicks and keets in the brooder have been moved to that transition floor cage in the chicken house. Most importantly, the ducklings and goslings have been driven over to the goose house on one of the ponds and are transitioning into that flock.

Naturally, we've had formal ceremonies with music and speeches. All the graduates have been dressed in tiny caps and gowns.

NOT. But, it's a lovely mental picture, isn't it?

Mostly, we all sighed a sigh of relief, especially the chickens, who, each year share their house with small water fowl for a month or two. The ducklings and goslings manage to guzzle all the water and make mud pies in the water containers. Chickens are much neater than water fowl. Ducks dabble. That means they love to sift through mud.

We cannot just put tiny ducklings and goslings out on ponds. The snapping turtles look for little webbed feet and pull them under and eat them. Any eggs hatched out on the ponds are goners. That is why we go through the trouble of keeping ducks and geese in protective custody until they are old enough and large enough to have a fighting chance of survival on the ponds.

There's just one more bunch of buff ducks that need to go out of another poultry house to give relief to the regular residents. The duck house was moved and a temporary fence is going around it in preparation. Another graduation will take place in a day or two.

Water fowl need to learn where "homebase" is so that they will return at night for feed and shelter. Otherwise, the foxes and all the other predators will be looking for nice lunches and dinners.

It's a cruel, cruel world out there. Lucky ducks are those who have a friendly farmer and some accomodating chickens to help them prepare.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lucky ducks indeed, to live at your place. Duckies, weren't they one of our first connections back when? Jeannette