Our journey of fowl all started when a friend who owns chickens told us that there were chicks and ducklings at Tractor Supply. Of course we had to look, it was spring and there were DUCKLINGS! I am a sucker for animals, especially cute ones, and I don't know why my mom let me go look at ducklings all those years ago, because she probably knew it would start a fixation. If she did, she was right. Now, chicks are cute. So are quail chicks. But ducklings are probably one of the cutest things we have ever had, other than some wild baby bunnies. The ducklings were very cute, but as much as I pleaded, I was not allowed to bring any home, especially because the minimum purchase was six back then, and we still lived in an apartment. That was a good seven years ago. For every day after seeing those little balls of fluff, I was determined to get some ducks. Eventually, I decided begging would do no good, and went for the "need them" approach. "Hey mom, did you know ducks are some of the best layers?" was my first approach.
We went through several dozen organic, free-range chicken eggs weekly, and those costs add up when you have to pay $6 a dozen where we live. Mom did not go for that immediately, although we ended up coming up with a system where, I was not allowed to ask about, talk about, hint about ducks, and someday, I could get them. Eventually, I asked if I got 50 math lessons 98% correct (I was homeschooled) out of my math book, we could get 3 ducks, 2 female, one male. I made a chart, saved up $80 of my allowance, which is very hard for a ten year old who loves to spend, and did my math. After about a year, We decided to order the ducklings through Meyer Hatchery. We decided on Welsh Harlequins, because they are known for their personality, friendliness, beauty and productivity. About a week before the babies were to arrive, a friend of ours decided to sell his bantams. We had been visiting and getting eggs from him for a bit, and had decided they tasted great. He put up a sign that proclaimed to the road that he was selling his chickens. We went over and said all six would be free if we bought the feeder with some food in it for $10. We went home and slept on it and decided to get the chickens. We had to name them, of course. We were pleasantly surprised on the first day by a miniature blue egg and a miniature pink egg. By then, all the chickens had names: Henny Penny, Mama Hen, Smarty Pants, Frisky, Gimmly and Watchman. The last two were our roosters.
We moved them into our coop, a humble little A-frame made to fit three standard hens. We had it for the ducklings, but decided to use it for our new half-sized arrivals. The ducklings arrived about a week later, and cute as ever. We christened the male Tiger, and the first female Runner, because she ran around our kiddie pool brooder, and the second one Buttercup.
They were so cute when we got them! But we had no idea how fast they would grow, and how much work three little ducklings would need. They soon got to their "spiky" stage and we called them dinosaurs.
They became so beautiful so quickly!
But, sadly, raccoons do not appreciate beauty. Buttercup and Tiger were killed before their first birthday. We still have Runner, even now. She will be 3 years old this August. I am hoping to hatch some more Welsh Harlequin babies soon so I can have a beautiful drake like Tiger again. The chickens continued to surprise us. Frisky decided to scare us by hiding, making us think she was dead. Turned out she was not, but sitting on 10 eggs, of which 7 hatched.
Meanwhile, Runner was lonely, and suffered from PTSD, as she had been in the coop while the raccoon had been as well. She stopped laying, and we decided to hatch some of her eggs that we had in the fridge while they were still fertile. We ended up with two ducklings, Hope and Dragon, both of which turned out to be girls. We had hatched them under a friend's broody hen, whom we named Horton, because the ducks thought they were chickens. Runner later adopted them.
Hope sadly passed away a year ago, we do not know what happened. Along the way, because I cannot exactly explain it, we lost and collected more chickens, ducks, and now quail! We currently have six ducks, Runner, Dragon, Illya, Daisy, Taru, and Leroy. Taru is our drake.
Our chickens include Frisky, Mama Hen, Sunflower, M&M, Hazel, Crackerjack, and Jenna, our only standard chicken. We have three roosters, M&M, Hazel, and Crackerjack.
We have three quail, Ferris, Zeetha, and Maxim.
Well, that's about it! I think Frisky is broody again, so there may be an update soon. Thanks for stopping by!