After a lot of reading and researching on them, I decided to add ducks to my flock in 2014. I knew I didn’t want my ducks to be too much larger than my chickens and Guineas, so I started looking into smaller duck breeds. And then I discovered Call Ducks, the smallest breed of duck, and I knew right then and there that they were the kind for me.
My adventure into ducks started off a bit rough. I bought 12+ mixed call duck eggs off of eBay in July of 2014, and 18 eggs arrived at my door. They were packaged well, but unfortunately the post office had had its way with them before they arrived. All of the eggs had loose air cells, even after a 24 hour rest. Only a few developed, and most died midway through the incubation. Only one hatched after a long and stressful assisted hatch, my little Wibbles, and she sadly failed to thrive and passed away at just 12 days old.
Wibbles at 4 days old. She never grew any larger than she was at hatch, so she was always very small.
Later that same year, my mom and I went to a poultry show in the state, and that was where we found my first two adult ducks, a pair of Butterscotch Calls who I named Malcolm and Trudi. They are so, so small, about one pound in weight each, and have the cutest chubby cheeks and teeny little webbity feet. Needless to say, in spite of the fact that they are human shy, I fell in love.
Malcolm and Trudi
Malcolm got his name from Malcolm Young, the co-founder of the band AC/DC. This was mostly because my mom and brother love that band, and also because I didn’t think the name ‘Angus’ fit this little guy as well. Malcolm is a feisty, sassy little guy with a whole lot to say about things. Unfortunately, his raspy little drake voice doesn’t travel far, and so he’s cursed to have his complaints go unheard for the most part.
Malcolm in his pretty pink princess pool. We're planning on eventually replacing this pool with a larger one.
I love Malcolm's cheeks
Malcolm is pretty laid back, other than the large number of complaints he has. Here he is, just chilling at the poolside.
Trudi, my little Trudi-Patooti, got her name because I just wanted something German-sounding and thought it was cute. Trudi really is a cutie. She also is a lot more adventurous than her man. Like Malcolm, though, she can be impatient and have a lot of complaints about things! And if I’m late opening the duck coop so that she can have her pool time, I hear about it!!
Trudi has a voice that carries!
There is nothing Trudi likes more than to walk right past the nice, clean pool I just refilled and plop down in a mud puddle instead.
Trudi's wings criss-cross sometimes, but it doesn't seem to bother her any.
The Duck Coop
I unfortunately don’t have any pictures of the duck coop as it is today, but I do have my computer-made ‘sketches’ that we used to create it and a few pictures from when it was still being built. It’s not big, only 4x6 feet, but I never planned to have anything more than a few small ducks in it anyway.
Here is the floor plan. Knowing ducks don't perch, I decided to have a shelf put in under the windows so that there would be a place for the ducks to huddle in the cold, and a more secretive area for Trudi to lay her eggs. It's hinged so I can lift it up and reach under to get eggs or clean out the bedding. We never put the kick board in, but the ducks don't kick much of their bedding out as they walk, so it has worked out fine that way.
This is the wall layout for three of the walls. The back wall is solid because it's up against another building, but there are vents along the top of it.
The people door, open and shut:
The ducky door
One of the windows. The board along the bottom of this picture, a few inches beneath the window, is where the shelf hinges attach to the wall.
A bonus picture--Trudi loves flying up onto the duck shelf and looking out the window. This is something I wasn't expecting them to do, but I'm glad she enjoys herself!
Crash has a bit of a story of her own. When I got Malcolm and Trudi, I had expected them to be human shy and so had planned to hatch eggs from them to raise more friendly pet ducks. In the spring of 2015, I did just that, collecting 6 of Trudi’s eggs and setting them in the incubator. One egg had a blood ring and another died midway through incubation, but the other 4 developed beautifully. Finally, it came time for lockdown, and I did just one last candling to make sure that everything looked right. To my horror, while candling one of the eggs, it slipped from my hand and hit the table by the incubator with a CRASH!, cracking it in two spots
I cried, so sure I had killed that precious little duckling in the egg. Cradling it in my hands, I hurried downstairs, where my dad helped me melt candle wax onto the shell to seal it back up. Returning the egg to the incubator, I mourned the loss of that duckling. I locked down the incubator, and I sat back and watched as the days passed and the hatch date approached.
On May 27, 2015, the duckling in that cracked egg pipped. On May 28, a beak started poking through its cracked shell. Finally, on May 29, a wet little duckling wiggled her way out of that broken up shell, all alone. The other three ducklings were malpositioned, and sadly, I didn’t have the experience to realize this before it was too late and they all died in shell. The cracked-egg duckling, nicknamed Crash for her unfortunate accident, looked like she had buggy eyes, and so I was braced for the worst with her as well. As her fluff dried, it soon became apparent that she was a perfectly normal duckling.
Raised as an only duckling, though, she is pretty sure she is a person and doesn’t know why I kept trying to put her in a pen with two ducks as she grew. I’m sure she’s grateful that I gave up on that silly idea and just let her stay with her flock of people. As sure as I am that she would be happier outside in the long run, I just can’t seem to convince her of that fact!
Crashie spends her time in a pen in our living room, except when we take walks or go outside to sit in the grass.
Here is Crash in the great outdoors!
Crash inherited a lot of her dad’s sassy attitude. She’s more than a little bit spoiled, and quite particular about things. For instance, ‘chicken cake’ (watermelon with yogurt ‘frosting’ ) is not a favorite for her.
Crash likes to go outside, but not if I make her walk! She’d much rather play in the pool!
Crash also likes bird watching and watching the weather through the window by her living room pen.
All in all, in spite of her rough start to life, Crash is a happy little ducky.