10 Things I have Learned with 24 Hours of Ducklings

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Ducks can’t have nice things

So the other day we got ducklings! Its been great having them around, however I have learned a few things about ducks/ducklings in the past 24 hours that surprised me.

  1.  They are stupid– This really shouldn’t have surprised me, but for some reason I just felt that they would be smarter then chickens. While I feel there is a hint more intelligence, there really is some truth behind the insult “birdbrain.”
  2. They are hive-minded —  We have three little ducklings, and perhaps it is because they are young/ only three but boy-oh-boy are these little squirts a hive mind. Certainly not to the bee/ ant extent, but more then goats, which are naturally herd animals. These ducklings move together like a mini school of fish.
  3. Ducks are poopheads, literally — DUCKS ARE SO POOPY. So much poop coming out of these ducklings, its kind of crazy.
  4. Ducks eat a lot — You wouldn’t think that such little guys/gals would eat so much, but boy-howdy they are chowing down. I made a quick DIY food container out of  repurposed spice tupperware… they can eat through about 2 cups of feed like no bodies business.
  5. Ducks drink a lot — So  ducks need a nice long gulp to wash down their food, thus eating a lot means drinking a lot.
  6. Ducks have way to much fun with water — This one doesn’t really surprise me, but is more annoying when it’s their drinking water that we have to constantly keep refreshing. When sitting at the kitchen table I can hear them getting into all kinds of water trouble, mainly drinking water, shaking it onto buddies, standing on top of the water container, falling over making the water fall over, and getting all kinds of wet.
  7. Duck beaks are actually pretty powerful– What I mean is that if they tap/ hit their beaks on the side of the brooder I swear someone is at the front door. I have been tricked by this multiple times. Not amused.
  8. Ducks have really cool feet– I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but their feet are basically less dinosaur-y chicken feet with a pretty thin webbing. Also, 3 tiny little claws on each foot.
  9. Ducks get all kinds of dirty– For real, these little squirts get water/food/poopy gunk all over themselves.
  10. Ducks can get themselves all kinds of clean — Once they are finished making a mess, they do a darn good job getting all soft and clean again.
  11. Ducks can’t have nice things — No matter what/ space/food/water they are exposed to, get will get all kinds of funky in about 30 seconds.

 

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Dirty so very fast, but at least they clean themselves up.

Put some SPRING in your CLEAN!

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Oranges brewing away

I think I can finally say without totally jinxing it: Spring is here! I know this isn’t going to sound right, but honestly I love a good ol spring clean (my parents would be absolutely shocked, shocked at this statement). To clarify, I don’t get all excited about de-cluttering or organizing the closet but the actual on-your-hands-and-knees- scrubbing-the-floor clean kind of cleaning. A spring clean is no joke with spring sunshine filtering through dirty windows, shining on all the dust and dirt gathered in hard to see and hard to reach places. So for this round of take-everything-off-of-every-surface-cleaning I whipped up a quick batch of all-purpose orange cleaner. Now this can be found all over the internet, and for good reason. Not only is it super easy smells great, and works as well as commercial cleaners but also an economically and ecologically good choice!

I use this stuff for everything from cleaning the windows to the sinks to the counters to the coffee maker. Because the ingredients are vinegar, water, and oranges I feel completely comfortable spraying this stuff on everything — even things that that touch food products. Use like a commercial product like “fantastic” or “mr. clean,” simply spray and wipe/ scrub with a rag and BAM fresh and clean! For added sparkle add some vodka to the mixture. I don’t consume large amounts of oranges at once, so I just keep adding orange peels when I have them. Instructions after the jump.

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Cram as many orange peel as you can into container with vinegar

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After a few weeks strain oranges from vinegar

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Strained vinegar- now a nice orange color and smell

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Pour into super fancy recycled commercial container

Ingredients/ Materials:

3 Cups of White Vinegar

4-5 Orange Peels

3 Cups of Water

1 Quart Mason Jar (or Medium- Largeish container)

1 Recycled Cleaning- Squirt Container

 

Instructions:

  1. Pour vinegar into a quart mason jar.
  2. Place orange peels into said jar. If you happen to have a large quantity of orange peels go ahead and use all of them. I do not, so everyday when I finish my orange I push it into the vinegar.
  3. Repeat until the vinegar/orange peel mixture is filled to the brim.
  4. Keep the mixture (even between adding peels) in a cool/dark place like in a cupboard or under the sink. Store from a week to two weeks.
  5. Strain orange peels from mixture.
  6. Pour mixture into a recycled spray bottle.
  7. Add thee cups of water — making a 50/50 solution.
  8. Get to that spring cleaning!

PROTIPS: I always have a container of vinegar/ orange peels going under my sink so I never run out. Add some vodka to the mixture for extra shine– great for windows.

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We Got Ducklings!

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On the ride home

A few weeks ago my partner mentioned that he saw chicks at the tractor supply store when restocking on goat feed. We didn’t think much of it because we were planning on getting chicks from a local heritage breeder from Craigslist. Well, after arranging a date and getting everything read we suddenly lost contact. We figured this was probably a good thing because it would take about six months before the chicks would turn to chickens thus being large enough to produce eggs. Instead we are going to get a few more layers from my partner’s aunt who has a local egg production business. BUT today we were working on another farm’s property pounding fence posts and I got it into my head about baby ducks and how great ducks would be to have around. For goats, people always say they are the personality of the farm, and I think ducks might also reflect the personality of this little homestead. Ducks are goofy, cute, sweet, and my favorite fowl to eat.

 

So we sung by tractor supply on our way home and picked up three ducklings! We don’t know the sex or the breed. So a 50/50 on the sex and a 1/5 odds for breed. Luckily all the breeds are domesticated so we wont be getting migratory birds or wing feather’s that need to be trimmed. It will be an exciting time watching them morph and learn their sex/breed. In a perfect world it would be two females and one male, but who knows! Hopefully there is at least one female but it there are more then one male- we will be having duck in about two weeks.

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Brooder attempt #1

Currently they are set up in a brooder (fowl/ poultry nursery) in the bathroom. First we tried to set them up in a CSA bin, but it was comically too small for the ducklings. Then we re-routed our laundry bin– its sides are high enough- to be the brooder and placed a few inches of wood shavings on the bottom. While it might look easier to use newspaper, ducklings and chicks need a surface with plenty of traction otherwise they fall down and develop funny legs. The heat lamp was moved from the goat shed to being clipped on the bathroom cupboard to keep it nice and warm for the little squirts. Finally I made a DIY water and food feeder out of recycled food containers, each have holes large enough to get their beaks in but not large enough for a duckling foot. Will keep folks posted about their growth! Looking forward watching these little ducklings grow.

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In their brooder in the bathroom