A Wood Duck 'Cause He's Pretty.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Tevyes Dad, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    The last several weekends, we have been stopping by the pond at our fair grounds and feeding the wild ducks (All flock 50# bag). The first time we went, we took a bunch of lettuce and the geese loved it but the ducks looked at us like we were crazy. We engage some people there and mention that we are feeding them food meant for ducks and bread is horrible for them but greens, peas, grains, veggies cut up, etc are good for them. And this huge bag of food is only $17. Most people welcome the information. We know that everyone was brought up with the idea that it is a kindness to feed the ducks bread and the ducks sure won't complain so we are very nice about it - no one intends the ducks harm. We are lucky here because most of the waterfowl at the pond should be there. Wild Mallards, Canadian Geese and Wood Ducks. There are a few abandoned domestics, I have seen a Pekin, a Blue Swedish, a couple each African Geese, Toulouse Geese and Embden Geese, but they are total maybe 20 birds out of a couple thousand I would guess. We go to a corner of the fence away from the pond so that those who are hungry can come over and eat and those who aren't can stay in their pond undisturbed. We pour several small piles so that all the ducks get a chance. We usually get 2-300 takers. So on to the point... Last weekend a pretty Wood Drake posed for me so I thought I would share.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Smurfbrew

    Smurfbrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, he sure is pretty! Sounds like you're definitely doing a wonderful service for your community. Thanks and keep up the good work!
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    X2 for sure, I imagine food is scare being winter and for that many water fowl a nice healthy meal is probably very welcome. Breaks my heart when I hear of domestics being dumped though they probably really have a hard time this time of the year.
     
  4. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Here is our logic. We won't feed them in the fall because we don't want to influence their migration decisions. We won't feed them in the spring/summer (ok, maybe a few hands full of peas or something like that to see them) because we don't want them to over populate based on over-plentiful food. In the winter, we will try to bring them 50# of food each weekend that it stays below freezing. They could probably survive without it, but with it they can run their metabolisms a bit higher and stay warmer and more comfortable through the cold weather. The amount is big enough that some ducks fly back to their pond about halfway through, but it is small enough that they completely clean it up so it won't attract predators/vermin later.
     
  5. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Here is the first wave of ducks when we arrive (and haven't even gotten the food out yet).
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    aww that looks cold, one was even limping. So glad you all are doing this. One of my drakes was limping because of the drastic wind chills. I was worried he hurt his leg but it was just the frigid temps.
     
  7. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    If I remember right, it was in the single digits and 5-10mph winds. Not too bad, but not much sun either. I've seen the limping thing with my own ducks. Their feet can get really cold as long as they don't freeze, but when they get cold, they will walk until their feet get close to freezing, then they lie down and raise their feet for a bit. Alternatively, they stand on one foot and warm the other. But sometimes they get impatient (usually for food or to stay with the flock when the flock moves) and want to walk without warming their feet so their "cold" foot touches the ground a minimal amount and it looks like a limp (kind of like an Irish jig in the case of the runners). Nothing wrong with them, they just don't want the cold foot to touch the ground any longer than it has to. Usually they finally give in and lie down for a minute or two, then off they go...
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    And your Runners were out in it and didn't seem to mind? thanks for explaining about the jig thing. Poor guy was looking alot like peg leg last evening when I went to put him up.
     
  9. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    @Miss Lydia. They (the runners - well actually all the ducks) can go into the house with the heat lamp all day (the heat lamp turns on at 20 degrees and off at 30 - it has been on the last two weeks non-stop). Every once it a while one or two do so I know they understand the concept. On really cold days the whole flock goes in an hour or so early. There have been two days so far this winter when the flock only stepped out twice for about 15 minutes each to eat and drink, then went back in the house so I know they understand the house. And once they are in the house, they take short shifts under the heat lamp, but they generally avoid being directly in it so I know they can get warmed up. Beyond that, I can't fix stupid if they are too cold and stay out.

    Here are a couple more pics from last weekend:
    [​IMG]

    In this picture you can see 5 of the places where we dumped the food along the fence. We did about 15 of these patches so the ducks wouldn't have to fight too much for position, then went back and refilled them as they emptied.

    [​IMG]

    This was the best picture I had of a girl Wood Duck (on the right). The Drake wood duck with his back to you is the same one in the first picture.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    They are all gorgeous and thanks so much for sharing your pics and what you are doing. I am so surprised that many ducks didn't migrate I always thought that all wild ducks migrated south for winter. . Looks like their water way is slowly disappearing too, what happens to the domestics when the water is no longer there. Since they can't fly off looking for open water.
     

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