Friday, May 1, 2009

Day: 4, The New Idea

Ok, so these guys are filthy. Not in the putrid, smelly I don't want to own you sense. Rather they are like all babies. Mess making, helpless, yet lovable web footed feather balls.

First off this morning rolled in like a shrill horn with Conner alerting the heavens that Jeremy needed to be up at 4:30. He needed water. Why water, you ask? Because he and his sister decided that covering their floor in it was a much more important matter of business than actually drinking it. Good morning Jeremy!

This afternoon though an idea happened upon my mind, though. The plastic tub we are using as a brooder has many options, and many friends similar in size and shape, each waiting to help me. So I took charge of this water loving situation and made a pool for the kids to play in while inside. They love it, as shown here,

and here,

It is a smashing hit!

The two of them can now be transported a matter of inches to a constantly reheated pool. A veritable lap of luxury! Spoiled rotten...

Now the whole need for this little transfer of power was that they were, like mentioned previously, filling the wood chip filled home with water, making it a sty. I am raising ducks, not pigs, so there is no room for a sty here. In fact I just spent 20 happy minutes cleaning and dumping, washing, and refilling the dry house. In it's prior condition I dare say with an oxygen tablet we could have invited the class fish for a sleep over. So needless to say the ducklings had to be uncomfortable. So I accommodated.

I hope to report tomorrow that the ducklings are living dry, and wet, but at two different times entirely.

On a side bar, these guys are drinking as much water as they are spilling. I am seriously contemplating the use of the large water bottle in place of the smaller one.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day: 3, and The Pond.

Today I introduced my niece to waterfowl in their semi-real habitat(aka the paint tray). I noticed a few things while I watched her. She has several trains of thought when it comes the the mind of a two year old, and ducklings. They are as follows;

- Since ducks enjoy delicacies such as clover and slugs they will most certainly enjoy sticks twice their length, giant rubber balls, and the stalks to dandelions.

- Baby ducks should be able to catch aforementioned giant rubber balls.

- Baby ducks should never be outside of their water tray.

- When outside of their water tray they should immediately be escorted back into said tray.

Of course I corrected the things she thought was right, but were in reality quite preposterous, aka the giant rubber ball.

Other than that the day was far from eventful, and I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of those sort. That's fine, uneventful means growth is according to schedule, and the ducks are growing well.

Now on to another item of mention. Many have asked if I have a pond for the ducks, and that answer is yes. I have two ponds. Nothing huge, but for domestic ducks who needs a huge pond right? Right.

So here are some pictures, though now that I take closer look they are not shown in reference to size. The dimensions are 10 ft in diameter, and 4 feet deep. It will be stocked with an algae eating fish or two, and is close to completion with a circulation pump[ running through a water fall. Shown here.

The main body of water is shown in a semi overhead shot here.

The idea is to find a place for the ducks to safely enter and exit without becoming too tired and endangering themselves. There are a few possibilities, and these will be modified as the remaining work progresses to completion.

So for the masses, I hope this eases the many thoughts. These bits of feathered fun will have a place to swim happily. (Plus a garden to mingle for afternoon lunches of slugs, bugs, and other such creeping multi-legged nuisances.

Now for sleep, the kids have crashed, and so shall I. Goodnight world.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day: 2

A few things while the pictures are getting in order. Today I went outside in the backyard with the ducks for some alone time, to establish the parental bond. In doing this I hoped to confirm of a few things, and try a few others.

1st. I wanted to see how quickly these ducks would take to water.

2nd. I wanted to see if they would follow me, and I wanted to see if a hierarchy was in order since there are only two of them.

3rd. I wanted to see what exactly they would snack on. The tests were with a snail, worm, clover, grass, and dandelion.

4th. I wanted to test their response to water according to whether they are preening yet.

The answers?

1st. I wanted to see how quickly these ducks would take to water.

The ducks, like the saying, were tried and true. They saw, and recognized our flat black painter's tray. They ran/waddled to it immediately and dove straight in. The answer, a resounding yes. The test, a certified success.

2nd. I wanted to see if they would follow me, and I wanted to see if a hierarchy was in order since there are only two of them.

They do follow, after their attention is gathered from the big world around them. Was, or is there and established hierarchy? I don't believe so, not yet. Conner (the eldest) seems protective of Sally. When we walked he lead all the paths first, but once it was confirmed that they were safe she had free range. Which I thought was a bit adorable. So as of now, no "pecking order".

3rd. I wanted to see what exactly they would snack on. The tests were with a snail, worm, clover, grass, and dandelion.

They love all of these foods. Snails, clover, and worms were a confirmation mostly. The dandelions were my own test. I have read that you don't give the "junk food" (Breads, choc., and other candies.) because it will seriously hurt, or kill them. But a sweet, natural weed? I wanted to see. So far the test is proving triumphant. They loved the petals, and have shown no adverse reactions. Further examination will continue of course.

4th. I wanted to test their response to water according to whether they are preening yet.

They made preening motions, which is a good thing I assume, but the feathers were still showing signs of soaking the water up, therefore clinging together. No oils yet.

As I watched them I noticed a few things quickly, Sally is catching up with Conner in size, and when separate, they are hard to tell apart, and it isn't until they are together that you see which is which. I will need to invest in colored velcro soon.

Aside from all the scientific stuff, these two are hilarious! Sally is quickly becoming the food attacker. She loved the idea of me throwing a worm in the "pool" with them, and actually managed to engorge herself on the whole thing after a tussle that Conner gave up on when presented with a slug. Why fight with food elsewhere, eh? But no fear, Sally is still growing a lot. She is the proverbial weed.

Below is a list of pictures, I took today of them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day: 1

Yes folks, the actual day, the first day of the rest of our lives, as the old adage goes. Today we came home, the ducks and I. They were stared at heavily by my niece who absolutely refused to pet one, but demanded I hold one.

Before we left we took the ducks out at school, sadly no pictures of that event, but we do have this beauty of the post swim lazy ones.

I have a few other pictures of today, but I have had no time to put them up because the new caretaker had to coach a soccer game tonight(Shameless plug, we tied the 1st place team 1-1!) So I have not had time to properly sit down and post the pictures, yet.

But to other issues at large, the ride home, new behavior in that home, and fun!

The three of us are still working on bonding, and they are still quite timid of me, and shy of everything. Conner has come to me once, while Sally is playing things defensively and that's fine. They will come around. I think all the excitement of the day got to them. Which is to be expected.

They are causing a lot of heat in my room though, but that's fine, it's a heat lamp, and I expected as much.

Tomorrow I plan on taking them out for a bit to romp in the grass, and to have quiet time together, so they become accustomed to me. For now though, I will sit with them, and let them see me, and rest.

Good night all, and cheep cheep from the ducklings.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day: -1

Tomorrow I get the ducks, Conner, and Sally.

To begin I would like to say that this is or was a class project for Ms. Aslinger, and my, Pre-K class. This blog is possible for their parents to keep tabs on the ducks for the kids in a semi real time manner, to post pictures and milestones of their development. I will never us the names of our children in this blog.

Now, disclaimer aside, tomorrow I am bringing the ducklings home. I am doing this because I volunteered to. I said I would love two of them for myself, and sadly we only have two, out of the dozen we were given. (No we aren't unable to hatch eggs, someone messed with our humidity, and temperature settings on the incubator. Ms. Aslinger has hatched them for the past several years.) So with the hatching of our first, and sadly his subsequent death that night, we worried about the others.

Happily Conner came on Friday the 24th, and Sally on Saturday the 26th. The other eggs were duds, never hatching. Ms. Aslinger took the home over the weekend to watch them closely. Today we all gave thanks for two healthy, and rather mischievous Ducks. Tomorrow I will bring them home and rear them as mine.

More to come soon.