Sunday, July 24, 2016

Orphan Two

Two weeks ago another duckling hatched and was left behind. This is the second one this summer. Raising a single duckling is tricky. They will either thrive and bond with us or they will always be afraid. This one is afraid of us. I think because she was hatched by a chicken, and left without food and water for some time she has brain damage. But she eats and swims and is growing. When she is big enough she will go out into the duck nursery AKA bunny yard in the cooler months to grow up. Then after she has her feathers in she will be released into the flock with her adopted bonded older duck leader. The duck leader is always an older female I put in the nursery yard to show the baby how to be a duck. Ducks tend to bond for life. They stay with the ducks of their flock. When I get a single baby, I have to force a bond. The older duck will show them how to eat, where to swim and how to hide. Now my older duck gets to raise one more in the coming weeks. This small flock of three will rejoin the farm flock as soon as they are fully feathered. I could have euthanized both of these orphans or let nature take care of them. But I hate to see an animals suffer on my farm. Life is a gift and worth saving. And if they grow up to be females then I get a bonus of an egg layer. If they are males, I can sell them at the farm auction if I do not need them.

Here is the duck nursery. Shade overhead with cattle panel hooped over and two dogs that guard at night. They go into a large dog crate at night that is raccoon proofed. This is until they are big enough to use the coop.

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