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Hi there! We have had a small backyard group of ladies and this will be our third summer of being a birdie family. We have had some ups and downs during our journey of raising and maintaining our little flock. Our first year of having ladies ended in sorrow as we lost three out of the four babies to a racoon. We were then given a few ladies to join our "Sweetie Pie". Last year we brought four new ladies to join the group. Unfortunately, we had a friends dog staying with us and lost three of the four babies as well as two hens within a week. The dog was quickly evicted. So we are trying again, but this year we decided to try out a group of two ducks as well as three new chicks. This year we are also changing up the way we are raising the new babies. We started out in the house with a lamp and a large tub for them to live in. After the babies started getting too noisy at night we decided to move them out to the garage. My husband had built a medium sized coop for the babies that was simply a frame with a floor and chicken wire on the sides and top. We have been having an unseasonably warm spring so we were taking them outside to do some roaming around. Soon, the ducks grew by leaps and bounds and were becoming too big for the mini coop. At this point the babies were spending all day outside when it was warm enough to be out. We are now into May. The babies still spend the night in a large area in the garage that has straw on the floor surrounded by a makeshift wall to keep them contained. The babies are now spending the entire day outside. My older ladies are very free range and I am finding that Sweetie Pie has become quite broody in her older age and is very watchful of the babies. I am finding that the integration of the babies and adults is going so much more smoothly than last year as they are watching the "grown-ups". The ducks are now nearly adult sized but I think that the chicks think that they are ducks too as they are showing copycat behavior. We still have them sleep in the garage at night to keep them safe, but now without the heat lamp. I find that the babies are a very tight knit group and just this morning when I went to bring them outside, gathering the ducks first, as the chicks will follow without having to physically bring them out. But, I had taken the ducks out and placed them in the grass, and by the time I turned around one of the chicks had already joined the ducks in the grass. The other two babies were a little more hesitant to try and get by me. I had to get in behind them to herd them out of the garage. When I finally got them to the door, I noticed that the other three were still waiting for the two to join the group. I have to say that it was so adorable. I love having my mini flock of birds. They are such a source of entertainment. Although we had a rough start with a lot of learning going on as we went forward. So far, we are having a great year with our ladies!
Edited by bhopkins224 - 5/6/16 at 7:30am