This is Getting Ducking Ridiculous

DUCKS ARE NOT EASY! I MISS CHICKENS! Whew. OK that’s out of my system. So arranging my back yard to accommodate a nice little bunny and five #@!%#$% ducks is consuming a lot of my day. But, I signed on for this adventure and I’m going to see it through. Until they can fly, they will be with me for at LEAST four or five more weeks. The first lesson I learned about the care and feeding of ducks is that they need “pond weeds” to eat. This is the mucky stuff that grows along the edge of the lake near my house. They need the nutrients in the plants and micro-organisms that grow in the water for nutrition. Plus domestic ducks who will eventually released in the wild NEED to learn to eat this stuff and get their digestive systems used to it so they will know what it is when they are returned to the wild.

This stuff is GROSS and the first time I got some I almost fell in, plus I got goose poop all over my knees! So guess whose job it is NOW to get the pond scum (this is our pet name for it). Poor Jim. He retrieves this gunk every two days so the ducks can have their yummy and disgusting treat.

The next thing they need is a place to swim. They know how to swim instinctively of course, so I didn’t need to get them a Red Cross instructor, but they do need to practice so they can exercise their muscles. Their wings need strength so they can fly and they need to learn to dive to get most of their food. It’s so fun to watch them in the water. Their first pool was a small Rubbermaid tub.

IMG_E1916

Later they graduated to a pink baby pool.

There’s lots of information about what to feed ducks and I’m trying to get the stuff they need from feed stores and pet stores. They’re transitioning from “starter” food to “adult” food gradually. We give them worms when we find them, plus chopped lettuce and all the bugs and grass they can eat from the yard. So far this experience has been 50% fun and 50% pain in the butt. Bunnies and kitties are sooo much easier!

IMG_E1923

Tony is very low maintenance.

Bella sleeps indoor with us most nights and sometimes Mulder gets confused.

IMG_E1928

That’s MY house you stoooopid cat!

I’m sure she misses Bandit, but she has a very pampered bunny life with us.

IMG_E1938

Why yes this salad IS organic!

That’s all the animal news for now. Some readers are anxious to see the results of the Memorial Garden and I can’t wait to show you how it turned out! Jim has a couple of tweaks before I’m allowed to share so keep coming back please. It’s the most beautiful project we’ve ever undertaken and I’m very proud of my smart, creative, hard-working man. Don’t tell him I said this. He HATES mushy stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pet Projects

So my five ducks are growing nicely despite MY COMPLETE IGNORANCE on raising waterfowl. I keep the inter-webs burning up with constant questions and guidelines on proper care and feeding of these little quackers. The average age of the two groups is three weeks, but in truth, the two oldest are probably 4-5 weeks old and the smallest are 2-4 weeks old.ย  Our target release date is between June 8-13th. It depends on their ability to fly so like our president is fond of saying “We’ll see what happens”.

IMG_E1892

Rowdy plays lifeguard on their early swimming lessons.

Friends continue to drop by to visit the zoo. Last evening the Norris team stopped in for a ducky experience.

IMG_1899

Most full-grown females turn into little girls when playing with little kitties, bunnies, chickens…or ducks. Michelle was no exception.

Poor Bella has been displaced from the coop by these annoying little guys. Fear not, we have temporary accommodations for her during the day and at night she sleeps in the house with us. After they leave, she’ll be queen of the coop once again.

IMG_1900

Bella planning the demise of the #@!#@ DUCKS!

So much for my pet projects. Jim’s has nothing to do with pets but he has been working like a DOG!

IMG_E1889

Memorial garden in progress!

We changed our minds about hiring out this project. If you know us, then you’ve figured out it’s because we’re frugal (cheap) and wanted to save money doing it ourselves. But another reason is that it’s actually fun and more meaningful this way. Yes, Jim has all the grunt work and engineering problems to work out with the rocks, waterfall and pond, but then I’ll take over with the plants and “pretty-ness”. We (he) works on it each night when he finishes teleworking, and most of the weekend as well. It should be finished by this Sunday so stop by for an inspection.

 

 

Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck…

Now I have five baby ducks. Yesterday I got a call from a friend and neighbor, Melissa asking if I could take more. The story is kind of complicated, but the gist is that her friend’s mother who lives in Mobile had three orphaned ducklings whose mommy had been killed by a feral cat. So Melissa’s friend, Sharla (a Waters neighbor I had not met) told her mom that there was a person in the neighborhood who rescued ducks. The ducklings made their way from Mobile to my house last night about 6:30 via Sharla and her daughter.

IMG_1850

Good vibes indeed ladies! ๐Ÿ™‚

Their three babies are at least five days behind my original two. Look how tiny she is in her hands. I tried to get a picture last evening when we put them all together in the coop but it was too dark to get a clear image. Within 10 seconds of putting the new babies in the coop all five were huddled together like proper siblings.

IMG_1852

I have been keeping my original ducklings in a little cage in my dining room for the first week. I put a heat lamp on them since they can’t regulate their body temp right now.ย  I was astounded by Rowdy’s attentive care and concern for their welfare.

IMG_1835

I’ll make sure nothing hurts these little duckies on my watch!

Later Sammy joined her in her vigil to protect the babies.

IMG_1834

I’m hoping that cage can support the combined weight of these voluptuous lades.

Earlier in the day, the ducklings took their first swim in a pie pan.

IMG_1849

Trust me, they had a blast in their little swimming pool but jumped out every time I tried to take their picture.

My sweet bunny Bella seems content without her brother, but how can you really know whatย  bunny feels? We pay her lots of attention and give her good food and treats. Here she is enjoying her morning salad.

 

 

Bella and the ducklings share the coop for now. She doesn’t seem bothered by them at all. They think she’s a big scary monster trying to kill them. Most of her coop time is spent upstairs and all of the duckling’s time is spent downstairs on the grass so fortunately they don’t get in each other’s way. Bella gets run-around time in the yard, but the babies are too little for that. At this point, they can slip between the pickets of my fence. When they’re bigger, I’ll let them take over the yard as well.

I’m doing the best I can. Ducks are waaaay harder to raise than chickens, I can tell you that! Anyone with advice is more than welcome to give it to me. I’ll try not to “quack” up!

Girls! Girls! Girls!

Hmmmmmm…does that sound a little racy?ย  Calm down. I just have an influx of female visitors since I gained some animal cuteness in my back yard. Soon after I was gifted with a tiny duckling last week, I was the happy recipient of ANOTHER abandoned baby by a kind neighbor who rescued it from certain death. (Thank you Vicki!)

IMG_E1817

duck…duck…

This was lucky for both babies since they have a much better chance of surviving together rather than separately.

IMG_1827

These beauties named them Molly & Milly. But they might actually turn out to be Bobby & Billy! ๐Ÿ™‚ We won’t know for several weeks.

And they just keep coming!

IMG_1829

YOU again?!?! ๐Ÿ™‚

This little cutie may LOOK evil, but she was very gentle and sweet.

IMG_1828

Can I have your hair?

Some “older” young ladies also made an appearance on my back porch for some ducky snuggles.

IMG_1825

Or should I say “well seasoned”

I wish I only had happy stuff to talk about today, but I have sad news about Bandit. After consulting with the “Bunny” Doc at Auburn Vet School, I made the decision to have him euthanized. His break required complicated surgery and then weekly bandage changes for a couple of months. The doctor was also skeptical that Bandit would even survive the anesthesia and/or surgery itself. Jim and I are very sad, but I’m sure we’re not as sad as Mary who was his mommy for eight years. She is a kind & beautiful soul who has spent many years rescuing bunnies and other animals. I’m very sorry Mary. I promise to give Bella the very best life she can have without her sweet brother.

IMG_E1819