I’ve been so busy lately and also spending spare time on a poultry forum chatting, that I almost forgot I used to blog. I met 3 people this last week who all said they read my blog, enjoyed it and were wondering when I was getting back into it. This morning I have decided to write again instead of hanging out on a forum.
So … a flock update is due. After a few weeks of self deliberation, I decided to re-home my ducklings. Let me explain (rant) why.
Ducks are adorable in their personalities and never have a bad day. They are always happy to see me and follow me anywhere and everywhere. Many times it was hard to get out of my driveway as they followed me to my car as I try to leave. It is so cute to see them waddles around the yard and splash in their kiddie pool that they were quickly outgrowing. When they napped and tucked their bills in their wings for a good solid snooze their little heads would bob around as deep sleep approached. If they were excited at the bag of minnows I was carrying for their pool and they trampled each other to get to the pool first, someone always got thrown onto their backs. In case you didn’t know, turtles aren’t the only ones who get stuck on their backs. We had a lot of laughs watching them and I miss them. Mostly.
Ducks squirt. They squirt mushy poops and anyone or anything within a 6″ range is a target. They don’t poop little neat piles like chickens that quickly disappear into the grass and gardens. When ducks poop your backyard becomes a slimy slippery slope. When ducks poop it actually makes a gross wet fart squirting noise…..great for kids who get instant giggles!! My backyard, where the ducks primarily hung out, quickly became trashed with piles of poop … It’s way more fertilizer than the grass could handle. It’s not poop you can take a shovel too…it’s sloppy and wet. Ducks poop a LOT. Often. ok, got my drift in the poop issue?
Ducks also consume a lot of food if you don’t let them free range. Thankfully my guys free ranged or we’d own the feed mill. Considering the free ranging and natural food sources available to them, they still ate an excessive amount of food, in my opinion. They also grow so fast in such a short period of time. The quick growth isn’t the problem, but the obvious need for a lot of food should be a real consideration for those considering getting ducklings/ducks. (And the poop.)
Just so you understand how much duck poop we are talking, on the poultry forum one lady was complaining on her dog being sprayed by a skunk again this year and I was complaining of duck poop simultaneously. I budded in and said you win! Skunk on dog wins and she said no way..duck poop wins! She said she’d take skunk sprays anytime over duck poop.
Ducks also waste a lot of food … It’s just how they are built to eating. The poultry ‘industry’ has not come up with a solution to their eating requirements so you make due with whatever works. It’s a bit frustrating but eventually you figure out some make shift contraptions.
Water. Ducks. If there is water ANYWHERE they will find it, blow bubbles in it, roll in it, make it muddy and dirty. If I over watered a hanging planter and the excess water came out the pot at the bottom … They were there. Making a muddy mess if the area within seconds. If they were off free ranging somewhere and I wanted them back, I just had to splash my hand around in their kiddie pool; which of course they had made a swampy muddy mess within minutes each morning. After hearing their pool splashing they’d come out of the woods, waddling as fast as their little bodies could with the Pekins quacking up a storm and the Muscovys chirping and they’d literally fall into their pool with such lust, like a romance story has long lost loves run to each other.
Chicken waterers and ducks. No. Doesn’t work. The ducks go to every water container and sit at it and empty it. Blow bubbles, drink it all and make a muddy swampy mess of the empty container. It’s empty? Next! I spent so much time refilling waterers it was getting out of hand quickly. The chickens had a hard time getting access to clean water throughout the day and were often seen at the swamp drinking (aka the kiddie pool that had crystal clear water 2 hours ago).
We are also on a cistern and water is about the same price as gold. Having to fill a kiddie pool every day with water and sometimes twice a day if they completely destroyed it before noon, along with several refilling of waterers and buckets throughout the day was costing a fortune and was adding up quickly.
It is said and accepted that ducks can be raised without a water source like ponds or pools. Sure they can be without water play, if you don’t have a heart!! If you see how much they love water and the joy of a pool filling up and jumping in the pool with 1″ of water because they can’t wait until it is full…they love water…you couldn’t and shouldn’t take that pleasure (requirement in my eyes) away.
So I met a nice person on this poultry forum I spend way too much time on reading and asking questions. She took them all, thankfully, as the bonded group they have become.
Admittedly the backyard does feel quieter and less empty. I also walk around aimlessly because I am used to so much extra work with the ducklings. Clean water for chickens in the morning and coop waters set up for the night. Wow. So simple again! No dramatic dashes to the backyard after I’ve been gone for a few hours to refill the waterers, or setting an alarm while working in my office (home based) to stop work and clean and refill the waterers. A much simpler life duck-free.
I was looking forward to duck eggs and duck-a-l’orange and duck meat period. Especially from my free ranged organically fed ducks. I tried duck raising, It just isn’t meant for me.
So with the ducks gone it was time to clean the coop out and prepare for some new arrivals…because now have an extra CHICKEN coop for more chickens!! Yay!!!