Friday, June 4, 2010
This has been a tough year for our ducks. First, we lost Ivan, our Call duck to a mink and then Rebecca, a 9 year old Khaki Campbell to old age. That left Casandra, an Indian Runner, all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. She has 7 chickens to hang out with, but it hasn't been the same for her; the chickens don't really enjoy swimming in the pond.
Last week I called our local feed store and ordered 2 Pekin ducklings and got a phone call that they were in today. Since these are day old ducklings, they need to stay in our house for a while before they can go live in the chicken coop. We have raised many babies in our house, from chickens, ducks and turkeys to pheasants and guineas. I think we have it down to a science.
We have a few large plastic totes that we saved just for this purpose. At first we tried cardboard boxes, which worked out okay for all the animals except the ducks. Ducks are very messy drinkers and it didn't take long for the cardboard boxed to become a nuisance. The plastic totes work out very well.
We first put in a layer of shavings in the tote and then a bowl of food. The water container gets set on a brick to keep it off the bottom of the tote, and therefore stays a little cleaner. Shavings find their way into the waterer much too quickly.
Since our house is powered by solar, we don't use a heat lamp in the tote, but we do have a small red light that uses very little electricity. We heat up a brick in the oven (not too hot), wrap it in a towel and place this in the box. The red light does offer some heat, but it also seems to relax the birds for some reason; they seem to find the color soothing. We first noticed that with chicks.
The tote sits on top of our washer and dryer. We place some window screens on top (to keep young flyers in and cats out) and in the evening we place a towel over most of the top to be sure everyone is warm enough.