Week 1|Week 2|Week 3|Week 4
Day 22 November 8, 2005
How can we resist these ducks? Well, we can't so at least once every day they are in the house with us for an extended time, snuggling and bonding. Greg has Double Trouble on his lap relaxed and happy watching Walker Texas Ranger (yeah, we like that show so call us geeks!).
Dad is the BEST and check out my pedicure while you're at it
Not much news in the physical development today. I was holding the girl when I took the photo of Trouble. Her wings are just starting to sprout tiny pinion feathers and her legs are a nice orange color. Her beak is still very peachy colored.
Everything I've read says that ducks don't have nerves in their legs and don't bleed, but I can easily see the veins in Trouble's feet even in this photo closeup. His nails are perfectly formed. Ducks nails don't normally need to be trimmed. Even on soft ground, that was never an issue with any ducks we've had.
Day 23 November 9, 2005
The down is really fluffed up with the weather changing to cool and rainy! They seem a little less tender than they have been while their feathers are coming in. Even when ducks molt, they don't like to be handled much because their feathered areas feel a bit "bruised". I'm very careful to handle them extra carefully and if I must pet them (and I must), it's better to pet in the direction the feathers grow, no backward fluffleuppagus!
I'm too fluffy for my self, too fluffy for my self, ...
Despite the cooler weather the ducks aren't staying under the brooder light. They like to have it on, but they keep their distance. We were worried about the rain so we moved their entire enclosure and pool onto the patio where we have a solid overhang. Greg found a piece of pond liner, which is smooth rubber made from Goodyear tires, 80mm thick. That's now the bottom of their enclosure to protect their delicate feet. It's also coincidentally what the bottom of their duck house is lined with, so they will get used to it now, what a great idea, Greg!
In their new locale they can see Thunder Bunny and be out of the rain - although they might very well like it. At least their light and heat source is safe in case it gets wet, whew!
Day 24 November 10, 2005
What a fantastic day! Aside from all the rain, today was the concusion to the Name the Pekin Girl Drawing. The winner is all the way from Fairview Ohio, and the name we chose is Munchkin, which happens to be David Gregory's stepdaughter's nickname. David generously donated the prize for the drawing from his Just Ducks website and was thrilled when he saw the name on the list of choices. I heard that "Munchkin" herself was equally thrilled to hear it was our final choice.
Mom, what's with this weather, and why are we out here?
The ducks are doing pretty well in the rain so far, but they aren't too sure what's going on. Munchkin is the Little Lady on the left, and of course you know Double Trouble. It's really uncanny, but that duck has so much of his namesake's characteristics in him already. I'm very excited because I've never had any experience with female Pekins so I didn't know what to expect. My Little Miss Munchkin is so affectionate and sweet, it's hard to believe she's ours!
They both let us pick them up, pet them and cuddle with no complaints whatsoever - until it's time to go back of course.
Day 25 November 11, 2005
Happy Veteran's Day everyone! The ducks had their first swim in the big pond today. They weren't too sure what to make of it. Greg put them up on the duck house and they stayed for about 30 seconds, then plopped back in the water. They enjoyed exploring and nibbling whatever they could reach.
Looks like there's good stuff under here
That feels good, says Munchkin
Nice house, whose is it? Oh, ours!!!
The water's cold!
That's Trouble on the left and Munchkin on the right. You can really tell them apart by their beak color now.
Hey Mom, check me out again, I'm getting good at this!
In just a few more days, they will be in the pond full time and live on the Duck Cam. We've made some changes to the pond before they go in, including removing some of the taller plants that predators are able to use to climb over the fence. There will be none of that!
Day 26 November 12, 2005
The ducks are enjoying how we're moving their day pen around the yard. Some of the reason for that is because of waste management and also for them to get to know their surroundings before they can explore freely and more safely.
Getting them used to the pond is critical so they are swimming in the pond alot more often. And this makes them much more confident, paddling less frantically and floating a bit more than before. Their bouyancy gets better every day, so by the weekend they should be allowed free access to the water with no restriction. Their feathers are still quite downy and growing slower than expected so their heat light is still on if they need it.
Swimmin' swimmin' swimmin', keep us ducks a swimmin'
They are very happy in the water and loving the new experiences in the pond. So far they are afraid of worms, but that'll change once they get a taste of them!
Day 27 November 13, 2005
Greg's getting pretty antsy about putting the ducks in the pond full time. I'm still not convinced they are ready, but I understand why he wants to lessen the workload of having them in the pen. It's much easier and cleaner when they are in the pond rather than not.
Another chance to dig in Mom's flower garden
Double Trouble sure likes to dig. He has a bit of dirt on his beak as you can see! Noticed too, the left photo shows how their pinion feathers are starting to come in nicely. It's hard to see, but they are almost completely feathered and not quite a full month old.
Day 28 November 14, 2005
One last day in the pen for sure. Greg is ready and I am confident they are ready too. They keep looking over at the pond like it's where they'd rather be than the confines of the pen with the day pool.
Do we have to stay in here Mom?
A short swim and back in the pen. They seem to be slowing down on growing and eating. Funny enough, Muchkin is bigger than Trouble. Normally drakes are bigger so we'll see if that evens out over time or if he's just a smaller Pekin than usual. Notice that the photo on Day 24 shows them with alot more fluff than you see now. It's amazing how fast ducks mature.
Day 29 November 15, 2005
What exciting news! Today was the first day the ducks are on the pond full time. They had been looking longingly at it from their pen, and we felt they could handle themselves on the pond and were ready to be "launched". After a short romp in the yard, off they went into the pond where they will live permanently.
That's where our pen was but we'll gladly call this home
We kept a close eye on them all day and they did very well. I'm nervous about their first night, but Greg says not to worry, they'll be fine. We made sure they knew they could get on the island without struggling so we put some food there and encouraged them to feed there. They are still experimenting with all the plants around the pond and like the Papyrus roots and blood worms that grow under the rocks.
Day 30 November 16, 2005
Whew!!! They made it through a full night on the pond and were happily playing in the water when we got up in the morning. They just love the water. Because everything's so new they are afraid of feeding time. They don't use a bin feeder anymore, the food is tossed onto the island and it scares them. That won't last long. We feed them there to discourage predators from using the feeder too and also so we can easily rinse off the feces when it gets messy. Ducks will poop where they eat and bacteria builds up fast. They should avoid ingesting their waste for that reason.
Life is good on the pond
I've been trying to get a picture of them in their duck house, but everytime they see me they hop off and swim right to me. Munchkin eats right out of my hand at will and Trouble is shy but continually sees her doing it so he's getting quicker so he doesn't miss out. Greg brought some meal worms home and they were afraid of them at fisrt, but curious nonetheless!
Their first month of life was an exciting journey for them and for us. They are beyond adorable when they are ducklings, yet just as beautiful and fun as adults. The next page will contain periodic updates and milestones in their lives. I hope you've enjoyed the Duckling Diary!