Wednesday, April 6, 2011
THE DUCKS HAVE ARRIVED!
So cute and tiny, unfortunately five did not survive the trip, but we have 21 chirping little ducks hopping around. As soon as my husband opened the box, one jumped out to explore his new home.
After two days in transit, each duckling has to be introduced to drinking water and that went very quickly. After placing them into a tall plastic storage bin, we gave them duck food sprinkled with sugar water. Surprisingly, you can't provide too much drinking water at first because they can become waterlogged which isn't healthy. Today I'll be tied to the kitchen timer to add or take away their water bowls until they're acclimated to their new home.
The ducklings need to be kept warm and their box is currently sitting on a heat vent as well as a heating pad. I've added a can of Pepsi to their box so you can see how quickly they grow as I post new pictures.
It's been four years since we raised a new flock and it will take about five or six weeks until they're mature enough to be released into our stream. In a few days they'll have outgrown their plastic bin and we'll transfer them to a pen in the garage with heat lamps to keep them warm.
When they get too large for the pen (not to mention, too smelly), George will transfer them to a specially designed cage in the backyard shed that allows them to go outside without the threat of predators. They'll stay in the shed until they're old enough to be let loose.
We were really lucky with our first flock and didn't start to lose them to the coyotes or foxes for a couple of years. When our last few decamped for someone else's house further downstream, we knew it was time for our new arrivals.