The Fat Ewe Farm 
    and B & B

...organic permaculture farmin' 
  for the lazy you's and
 Bed, Breakfast 'n Bale

Blog

Duck Hot Tub

Posted by Fluffy on December 21, 2012 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Brrr, it is cccccold outside. This winter seems colder than most, so I am told. I figure that is because the humidity is so high for this area and the moist cold gets right into the bones. The animals seem to feel it too. The wussy chickens stay in their coop except for a brief meal and then zip right back inside. The ducks and geese are much more hardy and tuck their heads under their wings with their feet up in the feathers on thteir sides, floating on their downy breasts. This keeps them from freezing and they will stay that way outside with the snow coming down on them. When I give them water, they love to bathe in it. Because the air is so cold, the water, which is not warm by our standard of warmth, feels warm to the birds. They cover their feathers and then spend hours preening, spreading the oils over their feather to further waterproof and insulate against the damp cold. I stand and watch them for as long as I think is a good idea, though in the summer, I can stay watching for long periods. They never cease to amaze me with their animated conversations and whacky quacky ways. I have come to quite love the waterfowl, almost as much they love their 'hot' tub. 

On a Cold and Frosty Morn

Posted by Fluffy on November 19, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The hoar frost was beautiful this  morning. When there is a lot of moisture in the air, it is drawn into beautiful crystals that attach to surfaces, particularly delicate ones, creating exquisite ice patterns. This morning the Embden geese were surrounded by silver white crystals that had grown on their netting. The pine trees were marvellously adorned with garments of white crystal patterns as well. The netting around the chicken coop, normally not very visible because it is fine and black, was clearly seen with the thick hoar frosting. 

The ducks did not seem to mind. They still came out to play in the water. Every day they climb in the tubs and have baths, even when the water freezes on them as they are in it. What a beautiful morning. What a wondrous creation, hoar frost. 

The Duck Bath

Posted by Fluffy on November 10, 2012 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The ducks do not seem to pay much attention to the cold weather. They still like to take a bath, but the water immediately freezes to their feathers. Apparently this causes them to preen, which increases the water proof oils on their feathers and makes them even more impervious to the cold. Their poor feet though...one must think that they are freezing walking on the frozen ground. I try to provide them with a covering of straw in their pen, but outside, as soon as there is snow, the straw becomes packed ice once again. Even when they cannot bathe, they stick their entire heads in the buckets of water to clean their eyes and nostrils. This is the way they maintain themselves and it is necessary for good waterfowl health. Poor frozen ducksicles...


Winter Duck Nest

Posted by Fluffy on November 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I am guessing the nest is the two laying Khaki Campbell's, but why they made it in the Saxony house, I am not sure. It could be quite possible that the Saxony hens have started to lay. The Saxony drake has certainly been busy trying to be a daddy. The Khaki Campbells have laid all summer though. There are 3 hens and all three were laying regularly until Duck decided to set on her nest. She had 18 eggs. Khaki Campbells are small ducks though, and try as she might, she could only successfully hatch 8. The others just got cold. She abandoned the nest 2 days after the 8 hatched and with good reason....one egg was about to explode. The pigs seemed to relish the rotten eggs though and were grateful for the tasty delicacies. 

So, although I have found the odd egg laid on the frozen ground in the duck pen, I discovered the hidden nest in the Saxony and Buff Goose pen next door. They have access to each other's pens through a deliberate hole in the fence to encourage them to intermingle. I was hoping the ducks would stay together and the geese would become friendly enough to stay with the Embden geese next door. I was very pleased to find the eggs. For some reason, they were not frozen, despite the frigid temperatures over the week and the nest only being in a makeshift shelter open on one side. I did collect the eggs. There is no point in trying to raise ducklings in the winter without a proper barn for them. Next spring...Mrs. Duck and thank you for the eggs. 

Snow Ducks

Posted by Fluffy on November 2, 2012 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (1)

The ducks like the snow, or rather, they do no seem to mind it. They even sleep outside in the open instead of their shelter, with one foot on the ground and their heads under their wings. One would think they would prefer the straw under their feet instead of the snow. Surely their feet must get cold. 

They toddle around for a while looking for interesting things to eat, particularly dog food, which seems to be the favourite of all the birds, cats and dogs, plus a few wild Stellar Jays who have discovered where the food dish is. The ducks must have enough fresh water daily to stick their heads in so their eyes remain cleaned. They also like to bathe daily, even in the frigid weather. Their feather ice up as soon as they are out of the water and they spend some time then, preening, which spreads the waterproofing oils through the feathers to keep them warm and dry. Apparently, the water does not reach their skin. It is a good thing too, because they would be so cold. They are amusing to watch and quite entertaining, these snow birds. Robbie climbed on the shed roof to observe better. 

Quacky Campbell Ducklings

Posted by Fluffy on September 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

They are about 4 weeks old. I am amazed at how independent ducklings are compared to chicks. The chicks were hatched right around the time of the ducklings. The ducklings are more than twice the chick's size and forage around catching flies and who knows what that they dig for with their little bills. They are amazingly cute and amazingly fast. Mamma duck is very protective and will flap and snap at any bird that comes too close. I have had to rescue the little gaffers a couple of times when they got caught between chicken wire and 2 inch square wire meant to keep them in and other things out. Three drowned in water...totally my fault. There was only an inch or two of water, but when they are very young they simply must fall asleep and drown. I was very sad about that, but the 5 that are left are robust and healthy. It is hard to get a good picture of a wiggly duck!

Quacky Campbell Ducklings

Posted by Fluffy on September 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

They are about 4 weeks old. I am amazed at how independent ducklings are compared to chicks. The chicks were hatched right around the time of the ducklings. The ducklings are more than twice the chick's size and forage around catching flies and who knows what that they dig for with their little bills. They are amazingly cute and amazingly fast. Mamma duck is very protective and will flap and snap at any bird that comes too close. I have had to rescue the little gaffers a couple of times when they got caught between chicken wire and 2 inch square wire meant to keep them in and other things out. Three drowned in water...totally my fault. There was only an inch or two of water, but when they are very young they simply must fall asleep and drown. I was very sad about that, but the 5 that are left are robust and healthy. It is hard to get a good picture of a wiggly duck!

Mamma Duck

Posted by Fluffy on August 31, 2012 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

It is a rare thing for a Khaki Campbell duck to set a nest. It is most unfortunate that their broodiness was bred out in favour of egg laying and generally the ducks have to be incubated. I isolated Duck because she is blind in one eye due to an injury when she was younger. Because of the handicap, she is an easy target for the drakes and their attention, or I should say, over attentiveness caused Duck problems. She first was stripped of the feathers on the back of her head, then bitten on the skin there hard enough to create a bump. I think the bump was infected becauase it became a lump with an angry red crust. That is when I isolated Duck. It simply was not fair to her to let those drakes continue to breed her when she had a head ache. 

In her isolation she built a nest and began to lay eggs. I thought she only laid 8, but she hatched 8 babies and then abandoned the nest, leaving 6 eggs behind. I watched the eggs and Duck for the day. She was not about to return to the nest so I took the eggs inside to candle them, that is to shine a light through them to see what was inside. If they had ducks inside I would have put them under the heat lamp for the next few days, but none of the 6 showed life. One smelled bad as though it was ready to burst, so I carefully took the eggs outside and fed them to the pigs, who were grateful for the treats and yes, one smelled rotten. 


Anyhow, Duck was out today for the first time with her brood of 8 beautiful little Khaki Campbell ducks. What a mircale it is to create life in this way. How in awe I am of Duck and her babies. She teaches them about food and water and guards them with her life. She is safe where she is for now, with netting over top and around her and the little ones. The raven would be enjoying them for dinner otherwise. Thank you Creator for Duck and her little guys and thank you Duck. What a sacrifice you offered for 28 days, barely eating or drinking and sitting on your nest unselfishly waiting for the day when there is the sound of a little beak pecking. Amazing!

Ducklings

Posted by Fluffy on July 7, 2012 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The hatch gave 18 beautiful little ducklings. After they were in the livestock trough as their brooder, they graduated to the hoop coop shelter and shared it with the turkeys, but today, the turkeys went to live in the big hoop coop with the Australorp hens. The Faverolles went to live in the mixed coop and the Speckled Sussex rooster has taken to beating up the Faverolle rooster so they might not stay there. I don't know where to put them because they are picked on everywhere. 

There are six Khaki Campbells, 6 Rouens and 6 crosses, including one white Rouen and one black and white cross. Growing quickly, they now are beginning to get their adult feathers, but are still so cute!

Ducklings

Posted by Fluffy on July 7, 2012 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The hatch gave 18 beautiful little ducklings. After they were in the livestock trough as their brooder, they graduated to the hoop coop shelter and shared it with the turkeys, but today, the turkeys went to live in the big hoop coop with the Australorp hens. The Faverolles went to live in the mixed coop and the Speckled Sussex rooster has taken to beating up the Faverolle rooster so they might not stay there. I don't know where to put them because they are picked on everywhere. 

There are six Khaki Campbells, 6 Rouens and 6 crosses, including one white Rouen and one black and white cross. Growing quickly, they now are beginning to get their adult feathers, but are still so cute!


Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.