Last weekend (05/14/11) we decided that we needed to ditch the ducks with my dad. They were only 3 weeks old, but they were already too big to spend all their time in a dog crate/IKEA drawer. Also, they were just flat out too messy/smelly for such a small space.
Because they are still young, my dad and siblings fashioned a multi-dog crate system to help ease them into being outside. Last night (05/19/11) was their first night outside, and when he checked on them at midnight Sir Francis Drake was swimming around.
The light in the first photo was intended to give them a source of heat at night, but unfortunately Maddy was in charge of buying a new light bulb after the old one burned out and she purchased a CFL. In her defense, it is almost impossible to buy a light bulb that isn't a CFL, and incandescent light bulbs were pretty much before her time.
Life for us has been much easier since they left! The chickens poop a lot, but are still far less demanding than the ducks.
We're trying hard to convince Thor that the new additions to our household are friends and not bite size (very fresh) treats. This seems like a difficult task because many of the main ingredients in his dog food are fowl. However, it seems as though we might be succeeding as evident by the photos.
The ducks are messy. They love water and shitting so much that the minimum cage cleaning requirement is at least once a day. We like to do this at night so that we can go to bed knowing that everyone is clean, dry and taken care of. The cover of darkness also helps us get a big plastic tub of sodden pine shavings to the dumpster without raising the eyebrows of our neighbors. Of particular concern is the elderly Chinese couple downstairs who already have a distaste for us, but who I'm sure have a great taste for pekin duck.
So while we make the daily trek down to the dumpster the ducks get a quarter filled bath tub to splash around in. The pleasure they get from the water may motivate them to dirty their space more quickly if they ever make the connection between cleaning and bath time. Luckily, as cute as they are, they are still ducks, a species which I don't believe has the hope of grasping that sort of logic
I mean four ducklings....No wait, five. And four chicks? Please, how about six.
Needless to say, the search for a couple of laying chickens has devolved fairly quickly into me having 11 cheeping, eating, shitting avian friends in my one bedroom apartment.
It all started April 16th when my dad finally caved to my (long held) desire to have chickens back in my life. At the time my dad had honestly believed that he had just consented to some chickens, but already in my head I had added 'and two ducks'. The next weekend we were back looking around the local feed shops for some chicks (this corresponds perfectly to Easter but has nothing really to do with it).
At the second shop we decided on two araucana chicks (they lay blue/green eggs) and two black australorp chicks (who lay brown). It was also here that I picked up my first three ducklings, apparently they don't like being alone, so I got three in case one died so that there would still be a pair.
As far as ducks go, we got one runner duck, one campbell, and one cayuga. The runner ducks stand upright and prefer to run, not walk and the campbell lays almost as many eggs as a chicken. They are all straight run so I don't know which (if any) are female.
At the second shop they had some older black runner ducks which we had seen as ducklings at the first place we went. I thought they looked really handsome and wanted to go back and get one of the black runners. Jay let me. We went back to the first feed store but, annoyingly, they wouldn't let me buy just one duckling so I got two. Jay let me. So that brought the total duckling count up to 5. The fifth one happens to be a jumbo pekin duck so I think it may actually count as two.
It wasn't until the next weekend that we added the final (I hope) two chicks. We added them to the rest of the chicks without telling my dad, but he can count and declared it 'an Easter miracle'. The two new additions are buff Orpington's who are very pretty tan chickens.