Here’s the story of how we muddled through the “teenage days” of our ducks and chickens within two months of moving onto our farm. I look back and almost can’t see how we did it, even though I’ve been the one pushing hardest on the projects concerning the birds. Our timeline is not what we had planned, but the unexpected was expected! 🙂
We had multiple storms last month; thankfully without hail by the end of May. The surrounding farms had some flooding, as you can see, and we are so thankful that all our puddles were gone within 24 hours!
Our chicks were in their watering trough bin under a warm light at night longer than I wanted. Their feathers were coming in and we were taking them outside during the day to let them roam in a grassy paddock. Since the ducks were outside full time first we were eventually able to split them up between two bins instead of cramming them all into one, which made me feel better. 🙂 I know, I’m a softy. I’m so thankful to have an energetic 3-year-old who had the energy to round up sixteen chickies at the end of the day… whew!
The men brought the chicken coop over a couple weeks ago, so now they can stay outside all the time. It’s SO nice to see them outside enjoying the grass and bugs, jumping up in the air and flapping. 🙂 Not to mention, we can enjoy them more as well. Joshua loves the white chicken and has named her Star. Fort Cluck is now in service! It takes both chickens and ducks a few days to accept their new home, so we had to pick them up and put them inside each night at first. But I’m happy to report that only three days after setting up the chicken coop, they were all upstairs of their own accord.
The ducks have been outside in their pen for a few weeks now. Three weeks ago, right after they had been moved outside, a storm came up. I have never raised ducks before, so I didn’t know what temperatures they could withstand. We found a medium size dog crate that I covered with a thick blanket and a tarp, as well as leaning an old door against it to block the wind. I also found a few sections of plastic fence to lean against the fence covering the other side. It seems that if we ever need anything, all we have to do is look around a little bit because the previous owners of this place left a lot of useful treasures.
I found one article addressing the temperatures that ducks can handle and it was so helpful to read some comments from people who live in colder areas. You can find my new friend at The Whole-Fed Homestead on Facebook. It turns out that ducks are very hardy creatures and can withstand some very chilly temperatures as long as they have a dry spot to sleep in without any drafts. After some improvements to my makeshift shelter, and a couple more very cold nights, we upgraded the duck house to what we now affectionately call “Fort Quack.” Thanks to my brother for donating this former dog house to us!
We also visited some friends recently to pick up some free hay. They had twelve new lambs born that day, along with some 6-week old Bernese/Pyranese puppies. You just can’t pass up an opportunity like that! We got to hold the smallest lambs, triplets, and feed them from a bottle. I find that Joshua is quite fearless when it comes to animals. Teaching him to be cautious is proving difficult because he hasn’t encountered any unfriendly animals yet. But the lessons will continue!
So there you have the story of our ducks and chickens…. so far! As well as a little side adventure in country life. The days are full of work and play, as I dreamed of. I love it! And I’m exhausted by the end of every day. It’s a great life! Tune in soon for part two about our garden! Spoiler alert below..