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Archive for November, 2014|Monthly archive page

Jemima’s Ducklings 2014 (and Max)

In Non-Fiction, Poultry on November 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

11th October 201420141015_162208-1

The last of my Muscovy hens, Jemima, has hatched her ducklings—a brood of fourteen. She wouldn’t go into the pen (with Twilight and her fast-growing young), so for now she’s living at the front of the property where she nested. As the ducklings get bigger I will have to try and coax them round to the area where all the other poultry live; ducks can be messy making it rather impractical to have them living in the front garden! There are tiny fluffs’ at the moment, but they’ll soon grow just as Twilight’s offspring (appears) to have grown over night. I’m enjoying having them around as one day they’ll all be gone. They’re lovely, amazing creatures and such a pleasure to observe, although can be messy and constantly hungry—gannets!

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It will be a while yet before I can tell the sex of them all. Muscovy hens

and drakes have differences that have to be observed over time, and these

will become more apparent the older they get.

 

7th November 2014

I have successfully moved Jemima and her brood in to the same area as the other ducks and chickens, although they don’t have their own pen, but they can no longer get through to the garden. They now sleep where they are fed (in a shelter I created for them at night using Max’s large plastic kennel he no longer uses. With all day access to an old shower tray filled with water they’re having lots of fun! However, they are still small enough to squeeze themselves through tiny spaces and will often waddle into the paddock and have figured out that once they are in there, they can get into the chicken area through the wire fencing and get to the chicken’s food. The mischievous behaviour will not last of course, because they won’t be able to fit through that fence in a few weeks’ time!

 

I’m very proud of our Labrador Max, and how he has been with all the new ducklings. He’s incredibly placid, but very curious about these new creatures running around his home, yet he behaves so well. I’ve picked up a few of the ducklings and given them a formal introduction, one where he gets to give them a good sniff! I did this only today with a little chick that hatched a couple of days ago. He’s always been good with the chickens and ducks, but now there are all these smaller fluffs waddling around creating interest. He’s a wonderful natured dog and although his breed make good hunting dogs, especially good at retrieving ducks from the water! He’s very observant with the animals, he knows when there’s a new addition he hasn’t seen before and displays this by barking and wanting to smell it. Once he’s seen the animal two or three times, he loses interest. I’ve seen him drop his bone and stand there watching the hens pecking at it and he’ll often sit amongst them all when I’m giving out treats waiting for me to chuck something his way! The thing he likes the best is what he gets from the basket when we come back to the house—a fresh egg to eat!

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Max hasn’t grown up around poultry and when I got my first ten chooks he was introduced to them on his lead for the first week, every day. I guess some breeds will always pose a risk to poultry and I would never allow some one else’s dog to be around them off the lead. It would be fatal. He loves to come with me whilst I do my chook ‘n duck chores and then he will go and lay down in the grass whilst they all waddle or forage around him.

 

 

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