Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Movin' On UP!

Well, we've had a few interesting days here! 

The ducklings have been spending some time outside each day.  They have had a blast rooting around in the grass and the mud.  I placed them right next to the older ducks so they could see each other.  Yesterday, as I was watching them play in their fancy new playpen, I saw one baby struggling to get up.  She was laying on her back mostly and couldn't get herself turned over.  I snatched her up and ran her into the house and put her under the heating element with fresh water and food and sat with her for awhile.  She was having trouble with her legs, seemed really weak and frail.  It scared me, so I had Anika sit with her while I went out and gathered the remaining babies back into the brooder and brought them in as well.  After getting them inside, I noticed another duckling also experiencing the weakness and lack of control.  This is what happened to the last duckling we lost as well.  Kern did some searching online and found the suggestion that ducks can get botulism from the decomposing grass in standing water, and the symptoms sounded a lot like what we were seeing.  I immediately started cleaning out the watering bowl every hour or so and adding fresh water.  I also added a splash of unfiltered apple cider vinegar to help with a nutritional boost, and the vinegar also acts as a cleansing agent in the water.  I carefully placed the affected babies near the food and water several times during the evening and went to bed, fearing I would wake up to two fewer ducklings in our flock. 

If you sleep with your beak in the watering hole, you don't have to get up to get a drink!!

I guess the quick action and getting them fresh water was a good thing, because this morning all 22 were happily peeping up a storm.  They have discovered that a few of them were now big enough to actually take a strong jump and land on the floor beyond the brooder, LOL!  Our babies are growing up.  SO.... today they graduated to the duck house.
WOOT!  Their available space just got about 6X bigger!

I'm going to keep them in here until the ground dries up considerably.  No more botulism for my girlies. 

It took a few minutes, but once they found the water, they were all over it!
They were SO excited to get on the hay.  They rooted around in it and nibbled it and chased each other around the space a bunch.  GOSH, they are still so cute!  All that excitement required a nap.
Look at those sweet babies at the back snuggling together!
And so it begins!

I'm a bit anxious about tonight when I put the older ducks in there.  I know they will be able to see over the divider, and I hope they are curious but not aggressive toward their new sisters.  When I close them in, I'll probably sit in there with them for awhile. I have NO idea what I'll do if they all freak out and start smacking each other around.

Spring has made an amazing showing in the last couple of days. 
Peach blossom

The pollen count has skyrocketed, and the bees are taking advantage of the early blooms. 

I'm hoping the plum trees will actually give us a harvest this year!

The Bradford Pears are lovely.  Too bad they don't produce anything but shade!

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