Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Everything Is Just Ducky, Thank You

There is something fascinating about watching ducks. They bob their heads to each other, wag tails, preen, and follow each other in a line often when going somewhere. They are so comical and LOUD, especially when hungry.

Every morning when I go out to take care of the animals (I don't do this myself, Greg and I work as a team), one of the first things I do is feed the ducks. If I am late, which they believe that anything past dawn is late, they start quacking louder and louder. It sometimes sounds as though they are about to storm the castle! By the time I head out with their food, they are quacking up a tremendous storm. They come running towards me, then as I pass, they start to follow. Sometimes I stop and turn around to take a few steps, just to see them scatter. They regroup and follow me again as soon as my back is turned. It is kinda cool to have such a following. Especially ones that give us such tasty eggs.

Speaking of eggs, their egg-laying behavior is a little different than the chickens. With our hens, I was used to them occupying one or two favored nests (out of more than four). They generally lay throughout the day, and it is rare to find eggs out of the nesting area unless some very young hen hasn't quite figured things out yet.

As for the ducks, they are a bit different. They tend to lay pretty much in the morning, although every now and then we get a random afternoon egg. These random eggs aren't even in a nest. I swear, it is as though the duck (the female specifically, also sometimes called a hen) is walking along, lays an egg, and keeps on walking as though nothing happened. They are often found scattered throughout the yard as well. The other ducks seem to be more civilized. They will go to their nesting area, lay an egg, then often cover it up again with straw. Something our hens (chickens) would never do. So, every morning I go hunting for the duck eggs, to make sure none get missed or accidentally stepped on. My runner ducks, when they are laying, don't tend to cover the eggs up, but they do make a nice little nest to lay in. I'm not sure if part of it is the difference is between the heritage ducks and the more commercial ducks, or if it is an age-related issue, or if some of the ducks just prefer to drop an egg wherever they are versus those that want to make a proper nest. Whatever the reason, they lead me on quite the hunt every morning.

1 comment:

Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts.