Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turkin (AKA naked neck)

Just had too, it fit the picture :) This little girl is getting pretty adorable! She is MUCH bigger now but she sure was a cute chick.

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Pekin ducks

They are totally feathered out now (they are now six weeks old) and there is no yellow on them at all, they are really enjoying the pool and is pretty much the first place they head when I put them in their run.  They are still a little freaked out by ppl even though I did handle them when they were young.  I guess when the new crew comes in I will have to handle them even more.  These guys are going to their new home today.  We will really miss them! 
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Duck house/ run area

These little ones are going to a new home in a few days but we are getting a new crew in a few weeks from now.  I will miss them but I don't want to take the chance of them hurting the little ducks because I would have to home them together.  I wanted to try out ducks to be sure I enjoyed them before I got too many.  Now I realize that I want a few more :D  I was going to keep two but I can't separate them :(  The white house in the back will be the new ducks home (can fit about 20 in there but only getting 11) They really do enjoy their yard here and we will really miss them!  I hope they love their new home.  They are pretty much all white now...just a few days ago they still had a little yellow on the back of the head but that is now gone and feathers have grown in. They really enjoy the pool too.  Most times all four are in it at the same time. 
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The chicken crew at 5.5 weeks.

They are getting pretty feathered out.  Still keeping a heat lamp on them and they are still using it so as long as they use it, we will keep it on for them.  It still gets pretty cold at night.  We are on the forth bag of feed (50 lbs per bag) and the 4 ducks aren't eating much of the feed now that they are outdoors.  They eat more grass/bugs now :)  Their brooder is staying MUCH cleaner now that the ducks are out and I do plan on keeping them in here as long as I can before putting them out into the big coop (which means I may have to postpone the little ducklings another week) but if it's for the good of my chicks I can handle that, Plus that gives us another week to work on the "hall way" to the duck coop.  We're adding a portion of fencing from the garden to the coop door so they can easily be corralled to their coop every night. 
We were replacing their gallon sized waterer three times a day when the ducks were in there but now we have to refill just in the morning and the water stays clean :D  Same with the food...just once a day refill.  I fear that I just MAY have two roosters in this bunch...I hope not, but I'm thinking so. 

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Well, I talked it over with the hubby and we have agreed to get more ducks (about 10-12) because we feel it's doable!  I didn't know what ducks were like or exactly how messy they really were so we wanted to start off with a small amount.  Yes, they are messy but at four weeks of age they can go without water/food in their coop overnight and it's MUCH cleaner that way.  So we decided to possibly re home all these ducks and get another crew in to be raised together.  Although I have fallen in love with two of them I think it may be best to give them as a family since they do all love each other so much.  Still thinking on this though, I will really miss them and it's going to be a couple weeks before I get any others in.  More pics to come soon :D  We call these our "practice" ducks.  We figured if they were just a lot of work we would only keep these four but if we really enjoyed them we would add a larger crew and find these a new wonderful home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How to tell hens from drakes at 5 weeks old.

This is my first time owning ducks so this is MY opinion on how to tell a hen from a drake at just 5 weeks old.  I was reading a lot about ducks and listened to A LOT of youtube videos on how ducks should sound etc and here is what I found:  You pick up each duck (make sure they are 5 weeks old because they DO sound different all the time before this time from what I have experienced)  and you walk away from the crew with this duck.  If it's just peeping then you have a boy,  If it's quacking then you have a girl.  I should have two boys and two girls here in this crew.  We will see in time if I'm correct.  Watch for details on that!  I'm planning on recording what they sound like also and posting it, I know how helpful that is to ppl!  Stay tuned for that info, it may be a couple days.  

I found this website to help HEAR what your boys and girls should sound like and this is exactly what mine sound like: Click on the highlighted area and it will bring up the link to click on.
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It's six AM, frost on the ground and 30 degrees but the ducks don't even care!

The ducks are right about 5 weeks old now and I had them in an insulated coop (about 4X6) now away from the chicks at night  and they did just fine without a heat lamp all night.   I also took their food away and just left them with a little water in a dog bowl (MUCH cleaner then using the reg chick waterer which they spill ALL over).  My plan is to give them NO food OR water through the night.   I was a little worried about putting them outside right after sunrise because it was still only 30 degrees and the frost was still on the ground but they jumped right in the water and were drinking up a storm and didn't seem to mind the cold AT all.  One thing I noticed is that when I look online for 5 week old ducks they all seem to look like they all have their feathers (my pictures look the same) but in reality they are still yellow looking and have only some of their feathers in.  This made me think that maybe others were off on their dates of exactly how old their ducks really were because I was positive I knew how old my ducks least until I seen my own pics with white looking ducks.  Now I can feel better about putting them outdoors on cold mornings and letting them jump in the water.  I still did not give them their pool...waiting another week at least for that.  They were hatched in the incubator and not by mom so it takes longer for them to spread their oils around.If hatched by mom they will have their natural oils right away and can go in the pool from day one.  Hope to be able to see that when my girls start to lay eggs and brood their own chicks! :D  Maybe someday! 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The crew is right at 4 weeks old.

The Crew hit 4 weeks old and we are now (as of a few days ago) filling the gallon sized waterer 3 times a day.  Once in the early morning, once about 2pm and again after dinner.  Same with the food.  We are on our 3rd bag of the chick starter (NON medicated) because the ducks cannot have the meds in the food.  So that makes it just over 100 lbs of food they have eaten so far.  Our third bag will last a few more days yet.  We get the 50 lbs bags of feed.  They are getting more friendly, especially when they are out of food or water.  They have been flying up out of the box if we don't watch them close.  We use a screen on top of the brooder to prevent that but sometimes they sneak out while cleaning it.  So far I have taken 1/2 of the shaving outs twice (that was around the waterer) and cleaned the whole thing once (took all shavings out and put new in) The ducks LOVE the clean shavings and will spend a lot of time playing in/eating it for a while after cleaning.  So far one is quacking like a girl.  I sure hope I have more then ONE girl!  Time will curl of the tails yet so still not sure.  We have also added new roosts to the brooder and a few of the chickens use it.  I'm sure more will later on as they get used to it.  The ones that do use it usually end up getting pulled off by the other chicks.  We added them about 12 inches off the floor.  The ducks are no longer laying under the heat lamp and in fact last week when it got up to 65 outdoors and the heat lamps were OFF one of the ducks were panting.  They seem to like it cooler.
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Sunday, April 8, 2012

The crew is getting big!

At this time our gallon sized waterer needs to be filled twice a day instead of daily.  And the food is also being refilled twice.  They are not eating every bit of it YET but still refilling when I refill the water.  The ducks sure know how to dirty up a waterer that's for sure!  I do love them though!  I took them outside in the fenced in garden area for a few hours today.  It was in the 60's and the sun was out.  They didn't seem to enjoy it much.  They pretty much crowded together and laid there. Pecked in the grass where they lay but not much walking unless we made them. 
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