January 9, 2008

Waterfowl

It's been awhile now since our ducks and geese have gone, and I miss them. We started out with three drakes that were given to us, a buff, a cayuga, and a pekin appropriately named Aflac. They stayed pretty much on our pond, and were picked off one by one till only the cayuga was left. He decided it was much safer up the hill and never again ventured to the pond. One day however our own dog killed him.

Some time later we bought some duck hatching eggs and hatched 7 ducklings of various breeds. One disappeared the first night that we put them out in the brooder cage, but the rest grew to be juveniles, when we sold 5 of them, keeping the blue swede female. She was alone for awhile until we were given a pair of embden geese by our neighbors.
I think what I like so much about geese and ducks is the social structure that doesn't seem to be there or at least noticeable in chickens. For awhile we had the pair of geese and the female duck. They wouldn't let her play any "reindeer games" because she was a duck. She wasn't allowed in the wading pool with them, for instance. Then we got a male blue swede and the two pairs went off on their own. When we lost the male goose the female goose was the outcast and hung on the outskirts of the duck pair. They were nicer to her than the two geese had been to the lone duck. And when the female duck disappeared one rainy day and we were left with the male duck and the female goose, they became a couple. Finally the goose disappeared and the male duck hung around with the pair of chickens that free-range. It was quite interesting to watch over time.
About a month ago another of our dogs got into the duck's night-time pen and killed him too. My ducks seems to be doomed. I'd love to have more someday but I will have a pen for them for protection.

Till next time...

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