Friday, July 13, 2012

Goose, Dot and the Fox

We got the cutest baby chickens and ducks in March hoping we could again have fresh eggs. Izzy wanted a goose, but I think geese can be mean so I talked her into a duck. After doing some cursory research, I decided to let them have two ducks, so they wouldn't bond to my kids but each other. I could just see the nightmare THAT would create with separation anxiety every time my daughter left the house. We started with 10 chickens. I think they are Light Brahma, Giant Jerseys, New Hampshire Reds, Rhode Island Reds, and Amber Whites. I really wanted some Barred Rock but we were out of town when those became available. The ducks the kids picked out were a Cayuga and a Blue Swedish, I think.We kept them warm and dry in the living room long enough for them to get bigger and feathered and could regulate their own temperatures. We turned my old parrot cage into a makeshift nursery which worked pretty good and was fairly easy to clean. Unfortunately, there's absolutely nothing you can do about that smell. At first we had the ducks and chickens together until the chickens started picking (pecking?) on the ducks. Eventually we had to separate them until they got older. The kids figured out the ducks LOVED to swim in the sink from just a few days old. As they got bigger, they "graduated" to the bath tub.  I kept having those "this is your life" moments sitting and watching ducks swim in my tub and chickens waddle through the house. The things we do for our kids! It is truly unreal! What colorful stories they will have to tell their kids, though!

At the moment, I'm sitting in my lounge chair watching the horses and chickens free range. The chickens periodically come up and peck at my legs and shoes. I must look and smell tasty! This morning I let everybody out of their pasture and coop. When I went back inside I heard a horrible commotion out back and the ducks were squawking and squawking! I could tell something had gotten one because it was moving pretty fast around to the side of our house and up the hill. I ran out back but only saw the Cayuga, "Goose". I ran to the front of the house but couldn't see or hear anything. I saw the horses standing to attention watching something up the hill. I started to walk down the stairs and then had one of those flash thoughts, "I wonder if it was the fox or mountain lion"? I could see the fox at the top of the hill staring at me with Ike's duck, "Dot", hanging from his mouth. There was nothing I could do. It happened so fast! I woke Ike up to tell him the sad news. I needed his help to get the chickens back in their coop so we didn't have even more casualties to account for. Goose was in the pen carrying on and calling for Dot. I woke up Izzy so she could console Goose. When she picked her up she was still shaking. I feel so sorry for her! They've never been separated by more than just a few feet and she has been sad all day looking for her buddy. I think I'm going to have to find her a new companion. There's a thought. A pet for our duck!

Just now I came out and scared the fox off. He got an easy breakfast and figured he knew just where dinner was! Not tonight, Mr. Sly. I've got my eye, AND my paintball gun, on you!

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