Monday, July 2, 2012

Birds of a feather.

Recently I had been feeling guilty over the smallness of the run I had designed when I built my chickens' enclosure. Jamie and I mused about how the run could be expanded whilst not absorbing too much more of our yard. We decided to expand the run along the fence, enclosing a large bushy tree, mondo grass and a pond. I have read that chickens feel safe hiding in shrubs, so I figured the girls would enjoy hiding in the bushy bits near the pond.

You see, chickens don't find ponds very interesting (they don't like swimming!). But boy do ducks like ponds and swimming...

A Gumtree advertisement, one phone call and a half-hour drive, and we were in the presence of our new pet ducks. A breeding pair of Indian Runner ducks.

The white duck is male and the brown and white duck is female. She lays 5 eggs per week, and if we ever have a broody chicken we may be able to hatch some baby ducklings (though we have no plans to do this at the moment).

We have named them Oxford (male) and Cambridge (female). Cambridge is already laying and her eggs are larger than those the chooks produce. Speaking of the chooks, they hardly bat an eye lid when Oxford and Cambridge were introduced to the run. Honestly, I was anticipating some sort of territorial display or intimidation behaviour, but nothing happened. The chooks were more interested in their food and the ducks more interested in the pond!

I honestly don't know why we didn't get ducks sooner. They have the most beautiful nature and don't tear up the grass like chickens do. They absolutely LOVE their pond, and spent most of their first afternoon swimming around in the water, duck diving down (the pond is deep enough!) and eating what they could find on the pond floor.

They needed their own living quarters though, so I spent today making a very thrifty nesting box. But more about that tomorrow.

Sam xox