Khaki-Campbell hens: Oona, Cortana, Morgana, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather
They arrived on July 8th, 2009 and I am extremely satisfied with my duck-raising experience so far. I can tell all of them apart except for Flora and Fauna, they're like twins. Just when I think I know whose who, I've got them mixed up again.
The ladies are 16 weeks old now. They seem to have finally discovered how to forage in the yard. Just last week I was wondering when they were going to start trimming the grass and eating the flies. They were eating so much feed, I went and bought another 50lb bag because I was sure the other was soon to run out. Then, a few days ago, they just stopped eating the pellets. I would go out there in the afternoon to see if they needed a refill, but it would be untouched except for a few pecks. The ducks would be happily munching away on grass and dabbling in the compost pile. Its like, all of a sudden, their taste buds matured and they realized, "Hey, these worms are pretty tasty," and just weaned themselves off the processed stuff. Now, if only the same thing would have to Luc.[/FONT]
On a completely different subject, here is a praying mantis that Luc found in the front yard a couple of weeks ago. He has a bug jar that we keep handy for just this sort of thing. Whenever he finds a cacoon or a larvae of some sort, he always puts it into the jar and wait for the metamorphosis. This time, the jar was home to the praying mantis for a couple of days. We gave it some flies to eat and it devoured them as soon as we put them in the jar. It really didn't seem to mind being handled either. I think it would probably make a good pet, but I don't think they live very long. Its a neat idea, though.
This past week or so, the ladies have been switching out their feathers so they look all roughed up. I was a little worried when I noticed the ground had a nice feathery coating, but, thanks to the internet, I found out it was all perfectly normal and my ducks don't have some scary disease.
I finished building a quite simple fence around my garden. The ducks had been picking off my grape tomatoes while they were still green. And I had to put something up before planting my fall lettuce and beets or the little sprites would eat those, too. I used sticks ranging from 1 foot to 4 feet long that I found in my yard; I just drove them into the ground around the garden. I ran out of twigs for the last short side, so I used some old tent poles from a torn up tent that had been left in my yard. It doesn't look half bad since the ugly tent poles are hidden by a bush and it appear impenetrable so far as my grape tomatoes have come back.
I've found that the easiest way to herd the ducks back into their coop at night, is with a long stick. I just sort of swing it slowly like a pendulum behind them and they move forward without hesitation. Sometimes my son, Luc will help me with a smaller stick.