Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Time of the Ducklings
Actually this story starts out with chicks. I found Welsummer chicks on sale at KSL.com and thought they were too cute. I Loved the color. I got 6 welsummer and 2 welsummer/ Americana mix. The man I got them from told me to go to IFA and get them some Chick started.
While at IFA I saw cute little baby turkeys and cute little baby ducklings (actually our ducklings had crested heads). How could I resist suck cute fluf? And it seems I was already in the poultry business. So I splurged and got one baby turkey and two yellow baby crested ducks.
They have a home in our Dog run, with two plastic Dog houses (holes drilled in the bottom to drain out any excess liquid). The Dog houses have hay spread on the bottom, and we added a light to keep the crew warm. While they were small we were concerned that they would hop through the chain link, But now they are too big. The back of my dog run has an open space where they can wander out of the run and into my back yard. They free range all over my back yard looking for yummy bugs, and living lots of great droppings all in the lawn, these droppings are high in nitrogen, so it is natural fertilizer :). Now when I hear commercials about fertilizer, I just think "get a chicken". On the radio they had an add that said "no one wants to be itchy and scratchy all summer. Get X product and get rid of annoying lawn bugs." What an add "What the? I think. Since when do lawns not have bugs? Goodness get a Chicken!"
A mama Duck and her baby duckling got stuck in our back yard somehow. She was trying to head west towards the Jordan river. My house is at the end of the subdivision before a BIG ROAD and on the other side of it (the west side) is the Jordan river. Trampled weeds could bee seen all around the yard from where Mama and her waddling trail of fluff and searched for a way out. There was not way out, except for a gate that was locked. Papa and I held a conference and decided we needed to do our own version of "Make Way for Ducklings". So just like the camera man in the book we became this little families escorts. We each got a long stick and used them to guide the family out of the bushes and to the back gate. Mama was rather reluctant to go out the back gate because of all the traffic. But after all that is where she had been trying to go all this time. Her babies hid in the last bush just inside the gate, also scared of the traffic. We gently coxed them out with the long sticks. Then we stood in the road with our hands up telling the traffic to stop, like traffic cops. As we guided the ducks across the street, darling children in the passing cars pressed their noses to the windows to get a good look. Down the street towards the river, across a small field, and into the rivers water, we guided Mama and her happy little balls of fluff. It is wonderful how these little ducklings follow their mother so dutifully. I wonder if mother duck can teach me how to get this type of obedience out of my children :). We had a fun family walk and adventure.
A Mommy duck was ran over by a car, leaving 8 motherless ducklings. I was not there when this happened but a friend of a fellow homeschooler was. So, last week at homeschool dance class I start talking about my ducks. This homeschool mother makes a B line across the waiting room floor and asks me if I would like to raise some orphaned ducklings, because they are trying to find a home for them. Would I? Goodness, not only would I love it, but my kids would love it, and my WHOLE neighborhood would love it!
Unfortunately these ducklings got sick and before I got them three of them died leaving five. The first night here two more die. The next day I go and buy some antibiotics for them and a better warming light. One still gets sickly. These pictures were taken before he died. Now we are down to only two ducklings, but they are on medicine and doing quite well.