From the Farm: Cute, swimming ducks; drooling dogs

Well, we tried starting our own little duck dynasty out here on the farm, but the dogs had different plans.

Several weeks ago, I purchased six ducks for Russell. I have three chickens of my own. For some reason Russell wanted ducks this year.

Baby ducks are the cutest. They are way above baby chicks on the cute scale.

Trying to raise ducks is fine by me, I heard the next big thing on the east and west coast is to have duck eggs for breakfast and for using them in baking.

Now, I realize that the certain type of duck I chose, Rouen, are best for duck meat, but they also have to lay eggs, otherwise there wouldn’t be more Rouens to replenish the lost Rouens.

The baby ducklings are adorable. And, just like the chickens when they were just a few days old, noisy. They are also a lot messier than chickens. Is it instinct that ducks have to sit in their water when they drink?

I really feel bad for mother ducks and mother chickens. I mean, they get hammered when it comes to offspring. They don’t hatch just one baby; they can hatch a dozen or so.

They can go from a peaceful stroll to a stroll with 12 squawking little dependents chasing them to the pond, where they meet up with other duck families that have just as many noisy babies.

Imagine taking all them through the duck food aisle.

If only a pair of ear plugs small enough for poultry ears existed.

Back to raising ducks as a hobby. This year, we are keeping our young poultry in the garage in used animal cages. If, and when, it finally warms up consistently, I will put all poultry in the proper caged area.

As of yesterday, the chickens are housed in a used dog kennel that was, at one point, Lilly’s. I have no other use for it. Lilly is too large to even fit in it, and it is the largest kennel available.

The day-old baby ducks were put in a cage that housed a guinea pig.

They’re small enough yet, that the cage probably feels like the Taj Mahal.

For safety, Russell and I placed the cage in a corner, on the work bench, in the garage.

Remember last weekend, when we were teased with one glorious day of warm, wonderful weather? Well, Russell thought he would be nice to his ducks.

He filled the dogs’ swimming pool with warm water by hauling quite a few 5-gallon pails of warm water from the milk house to the garage.

The ducks had a blast swimming in circles.

Quacking up a storm.

Washing themselves in that warm water.

The dogs had a blast drooling by the edge of the pool.

After the swim the ducks returned to the guinea pig home and the lid was locked.

All four of our family members left to help at the Searles Baseball Association’s Annual Fundraiser at the Searles Bar and Grill.

Russell thought he would be nice and he left the garage doors open to allow fresh air into the garage.

Well, the dogs, namely Digger and Eddie, remembered that those ducks were up in that cage in the garage.

And they were still drooling.

It’s kind of like the old Looney Tunes cartoon where a duck or a chicken is envisioned by its stalker as a fully-cooked, delectable meal.

They dogs had to work at it, but they managed to have duck for dinner.

They apparently pushed the cage off the shelf and it smashed into the floor and sent the ducks scurrying.

It made all of us a bit sick to think of our dogs eating our ducks for a meal.

It’s awful. Made me hate our two rat terriers for several days.

We have replenished our duck population on the farm. We are also keeping a close eye on the dogs, who are once again drooling.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

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