Feathered frolics

It’s more like autumn here in Wales at the moment.  I’m writing this post with the rain lashing down, the wind is bending the heavy leaf laden branches on the trees and the wood burner is well alight, keeping us nice and cosy indoors.

However, we’ve had some glorious weather this summer which has allowed us to enjoy some time with the poultry, and I thought an update on their antics was in order. 

Nemo the duckling has finally realised how to be a duck! Hoorah! She doesn’t always like being a duck mind you, and can often be seen following ‘mum’ (the chicken who raised her so well) around the enclosure, or sulking on her own.  Despite this, she is now fully integrated into the duck gang and joins in with the daily frolics and fancies.  She’s very tame and will take food from your hand which allows us to pick her up if we need to.  We found that by hand feeding all the poultry, it enabled us to be able to pick them all up quite easily.  Although this may seem obvious to a seasoned poultry keeper, it was a useful learning curve for us novices.  Nemo has also realised it’s quite good fun to go for a swim in the pond.  It’s really nice to see her integrate and interact with the ducks, we were very worried for a while that she would always be a loner, but thankfully this won’t be the case.  

Nemo being a duck – she’s the pale duck on the left

Although I mentioned the rain, generally this summer has been quite dry.  As a result the stream that runs along the side of the duck enclosure, used to fill the duck pond, has almost dried up.  Most days there has just been a small trickle of water coming out of the pipe and into the pond.  This has meant the pond has become a little stale and our efforts to clear it with a net haven’t really worked.  The ducks are still using it and hopefully the downpours we’ve endured this week will help to clear it, but we may need to invest in some waders in order to get stuck in and give it a good clear out.  

We’ve also experienced a most unexpected egg strike.  It started when Nemo moved into the duck house and we presumed it was the group addition causing a stir, but as it continued we realised they were also moulting.  The duck enclosure was filled with feathers.  Moulting apparently takes a lot of energy for a duck, which means they divert egg production energy into moulting energy.  A few weeks later, the chickens decided to join in, so from a total of ten female poultry, we would be lucky to get two or three eggs a week! Even the threat of becoming a Sunday roast didn’t bother them! Thankfully, the egg strike appears to be coming to an end! We’re now getting two duck and two chicken eggs a day, so we should be back into full egg production soon.  We have also noticed the chickens have been making their own nests around the place, so I’m sure there is an as yet undiscovered nest bursting with eggs. It’s quite good fun hunting around the veggie patch and paddock for potential best sites in search of eggs.

 

the chickens enjoying a forage
  


‘not tagatha’ enjoying a rest on the bench!
 
They are all real characters and the chickens particularly provide great entertainment.  If Mr Bumbleandme is working in the garage or I’m in the veggie patch, you can be sure there will be an audience watching your every move, just incase food is on offer. Traffic on our quiet lane have learnt to slow down in the afternoon, as there is likely to be a chicken wandering around.  We need a road sign – ‘Chickens foraging, please slow down’!  They’ve even tried to walk up the lane with us on our dog walk! 

The ducks are also good sports, and can often be heard splashing around in the pond. I love the way they follow each other around in a line quacking away. I wonder what they talk about? 

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