Hey everyone, I had posted elsewhere about building a coop and caring for my livestock dealer-neighbors sick/rejected chickens he lets loose. Him and I have never spoken and probably never will, I've reported him three times for animal cruelty and nothing has been done. He buys and sells constantly (small livestock) and doesn't care for the sick or hardly even feed any of them. When it rains some get stuck in the mud and die there. It's pretty gross and sad.
So I have four of his rejected hens (one of which is in the house taking a course of antibiotics right now) in my new little coop (big enough for 6-8 hens. And I have 26 muscovy ducks in my front yard right now. I threw scratch out for six of them one day and ever since then they arrive at dawn, bringing friends, and leave just as it's getting dark. Of course I throw scratch out in the yard for them when I leave for work along with a tub of fresh water, because I just feel so bad for them. At night some of them stand and look in the henhouse door and walk back and forth before finally leaving. I have a feeling they want to stay but I assumed they had shelter somewhere.
So the original flock looks fairly healthy now. My favorite, a dark drake, comes up to me and hisses and wags his tail. He follows after me and gets the first bite at every handful I throw down. This morning it was drizzling and along with his crew he brought a whole other flock of very sad looking muscovies. Some are so thin you can see bones through their feathers. Their feathers are ruffled and muddy and ragged, a few of them were standing on my porch visibly shivering. All of them were soaking wet but there were no puddles around that they could have bathed in. So I'm wondering if they were outside all night.
So what do I do? I really don't want 26 ducks (and however many more friends they might bring), but I'm not one to turn my back on animals in need either. Do I build a little shelter for them next to the henhouse (they nap during the day all around the henhouse), or do I just stop feeding them (which would be really hard to do and sad) and they'll go away? Here's my concerns:
- If I stop feeding them they'll starve and/or freeze to death and I'll feel horrible
- If I continue to feed them I could end up with 100 ducks in my front yard
- If I build a shelter it wouldn't be predator proof and not large enough for all of them