Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Daily Poultry Parade

The ducks are growing fast!

I still don't have a final count on drakes and hens, but I definitely hear plenty of the latter.

A couple of the birds have developed Angel Wing, a condition caused by excessive protein.


Raising a broad range of ages with different nutritional needs is tough, not to mention the fact that I kept thinking Flock Raiser was 18% protein when it is really 20%.

Oops.

I've since started cutting their ration with oats, and everybody else seems to be maturing normally.

Angel Wing really isn't a big deal. The effects are more cosmetic in domestic ducks, and not heritable.

We did try wrapping the wing on the hen.

If you catch it early as the feathers are coming in, you can re-direct their growth by wrapping the wing in the correct position.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times we wrapped it, she managed to wiggle out of it somehow.

So I guess I'll just keep the feathers clipped on that side when she matures.

The other one is a drake that we won't be keeping, anyhow, so no biggie.

The final tally on the chick hatch was 17!


There are 3 black, 5 Welsummer-colored and the rest are white.

The white ones have some additional colors appearing along their backs and barring on their primaries, so I will be very interested to see how they develop.



You can see the little partridge colored feathers coming in on the wings.
While the adult colors and patterns will remain a bit of a mystery for awhile, they all have varying degrees of leg feathering, as well as muffs and extra toes. They are pretty fancy!

I will be taking a few of them to my brother's family to raise, to help free up some space here.

In other news on the poultry front, my parents have been interested in getting another duck breed for their farm.

Right now they have 4 of my mature Silver Appleyards, which I'll be incorporating into my own flock once we move.

As luck would have it, some free ducks landed right into our laps.


A few days ago a flock of young Muscovy ducks appeared at the Park's boat ramps.

We are pretty sure they were dumped there, because they were rather tame, and stayed very close to that area the whole time.

Whether they were dropped off or traveled there, there wouldn't have been a happy ending in store for these guys if they stayed.


While life on a lake might seem idyllic for a domestic duck, predation, starvation and later on, death by exposure were all very likely prospects.

So we set about to capture them....


I wanted to first gauge how tame they were, so I showed up with a bucket of feed, my big net in tow and Mark standing ready with the pet carriers.

I approached them on the shore and dumped some feed in front of them.

They immediately walked over, tails wagging and attacked the food. These guys were obviously used to being fed, and VERY hungry.

I tried gently reaching down to see if they would let me touch them, hoping that I could just pick them up and load them in the carrier. While they let me get really close, the touching thing wasn't happening.

So I switched to plan 2 and swooped my net through them, catching two at once.

I managed to net 5 more that afternoon before calling it quits.

The following day I had more help, and we were able to catch 2 more.

Dad keeping them out of the water


This young female went to one of Mark's coworkers to be a future mate for her Muscovy drake.


The rest are enjoying the good life at my parents' farm.







I've never been especially taken with Muscovies, but I have to say, these are right pretty!

I would have gladly kept some at my house, but we are obviously a bit crowded at the moment.

It's been pretty dry, so there isn't much to eat in our backyard right now. There is precious little green matter to go around, and the odd bug that they manage to find.

The areas that stay wet are big mud wallows where nothing can grow.



Even though there is plenty of shade, the birds pretty much just sit around and pant much of the day.

I try to refresh their pool water several times a day, and give them a good shower with the hose to help them cool down.

Whenever I'm standing there filling their pools, looking around at the largely barren, crowded backyard, I imagine the lush, shaded stream and bountiful lawn and pasture at our new place, and how much they are going to go nuts when I turn them loose there for the first time.

Today, at least, a big storm provided some relief for them.


And more work for us....


Never a dull moment.





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