DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. WHICH MEANS IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH THEM I GET A COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU.
Who doesn’t love animals? Especially while being stuck at home on a hobby farm. I am sure a lot of people can relate. 2020 has been a year out of a sci-fi movie. Due to Covid-19 a lot of people were forced to stay home while a lot of business’ closed. (My husband was home) I was a fortunate one, who was able to continue to work. Or at least until I got vertigo and than boom, I was home too for a bit. My dog and my cat cuddles were my sanity savers.
We currently have alpacas and chickens here on our homestead. In my “sitting/not moving” time, I like many surfer-ed the internet. This is where I saw multiple animal posts, articles, etc.
After I went back to work, I kept thinking about how much we loved our ducks before they got out of hand. They have great character and personalities unlike chickens.
On May 19th, we picked up 3 adorable little Peking ducklings (1 male & 2 females) from a nearby waterfowl farm. I was so excited! We have never had Peking ducks before (as pets) and they were absolutely little fluffy yellow balls.
We have had ducks before so caring for them wasn’t new. A bit tricky with my re-deployed work schedule: leaving by 6 am, but I managed. Back in 2005, we had 11 Rouen ducks . Okay so we started with 11 ducks! (Curious?)
We provided some chicken eggs to our son’s kindergarten class for the incubator in 2005. This went well and we received back 6 new chicks. The teacher dropped them off at our farm.
Timing is everything!
The teacher saw all 11 of our ducks and asked us to provide duck eggs next year. The incubator was bigger the next year. We provided 40 eggs! (We only got 6 chicks out of 20 eggs year before…so same idea!) Well needless to say another 2 teacher friends heard about our egg lending and so we gave them some eggs.
Now US being new to country life with animals and wild animals… we lost a few ducks to wild life. We found feathers and 3 ducks just went missing. Or did they?
Long story short…. Between the 3 teachers and low and behold 3 of our missing ducks that returned out of the woods with ducklings (within 3 days of each other) we ended up with 96 new ducklings! It was mind-blowing to us. Between mother nature and technology we would ever in a million years end up with almost 100 ducklings!
This time we would triumph!
Okay, so back to this year. 2020 has been the most stressful year for many, us included. I decided to purchase 3 Peking ducks rather than Rouen ducks as pets because 1- they don’t sit on their eggs, 2- there is no way I’m looking after 96+ ducks again!!
We housed the ducklings in a makeshift smaller area in one of our barn stalls until we could build them a house closer to the pond. (Barn is too close to our pool!) We chose to build their house in part of the playground pirate boat. Our kids are teenagers and they don’t use the pirate ship anymore! (We did keep access to the front end with ship wheel and look-out for the grand-kids)
We divided their house into 2 parts:
- one side for bedding that is pretty closed off with exception of a wire mesh window and door to food.
- the food box and water is in the other side with a gate that opens up towards the property pond.
Ducks love air. They often prefer not to be in a house at all, so we added secure wired mess windows for lots of air.
Our ducks had names, but they didn’t really know them. What they did know is “Quakers” as I call them that as a group.
The first night in their new permanent house, I found a pile of raccoon poop on the flat roof. A bit disturbing that the raccoons found them so fast but on the other hand, this was good because it proved they couldn’t get to them. House was secure! I let the ducks out every day onto the grass by their house. They didn’t venture very far at all. Every noise they waddled back into their house. It took them 8 days to cross the driveway to the grass and another 9 days of sitting beside the pond before they would actually go into it. 3 days of using the pond my Quakers didn’t want to get out of the pond to go to bed. I tried everything to get them out. Nothing worked.
Our old ducks use to stay out the odd time in summer with no problems, so we caved and let them stay out. (It was after 9:30 pm)
Well at 6:00 am the next day I went to check on them and one female was gone! A few feathers on grass but not body.
Obviously the ducks need to come in nightly now. Well that is not an easy task. The 1st few nights they were already up on the grass so easy-peasy herding them to their house. But that’s where it stops!
Our nightly get the ducks in has become a dreaded but funny time. My son pushed the canoe into the pond and chased them out 1 night. My husband tried this and almost fell into pond.. so not done again. My son used oar to hit water…well oar broke! ATV revving on the far side of the pond worked a few times than it didn’t. Tossing a few pebbles behind the ducks so that they will get out, apples (we ran out of rocks) from the ground, loud noise making and waving of arms, sticks splashing in the water, 3 people running around the bank of the pond, and even an old dog trying to wade into the pond has all been tried! Good thing we live behind the trees and not in sight of our neighbours! 😉
Now every time we do any of the above I clap my hands and call out “Quakers!” I refill their water in house every night, add a bath tub, and have started adding treats a few nights ago. The new idea is that ducks are smart, and they will associate their house with treats. Okay hopefully it will work.
If I am being honest here, we never had this much trouble with our ducks before. (Okay, we had trouble in the beginning but not after they found that the pond was better than the pool!) They just headed up to the barn around 7:30 pm or dusk for their food and lock up!
After 4 days of treats and calling them and clapping while I change their water before rounding them up… the female duck came out of the pond and started walking to her house! Of course I was unaware and turned around and almost scared her back to pond.. but once I moved behind her she headed in while quacking. A minute later my boy headed up the bank and walked right in after her!! Yay!! Finally!
Now, I am hoping this is going to happen tonight and for now on, but I am preparing myself for another round up if need be!
I love having animals and just like my kids (Teens) they really do have a mind of their own!