Make way for the ducklings. We’ve gotten a few new additions here at Farmhouse 1820, and I’m sharing everything from how we decided to have ducks, and their care.
Since the first year we’ve had chickens, each spring I add a few more to our flock. We’ve gotten some roosters in there that have been relocated to a local sheep farm that welcomed them, but last year when we got a few of these sweet hairdo-like ones, I promised Sean that we’d hold off on getting any more chickens for the time being.
Truth is, although the coop is super cute and spacious, we’re at full capacity in there. We’ve got 26 sweet hens that give us fresh eggs daily, and also provide us with a lot of humorous joy. But for now, the hen inn is full.
Usually in January is when I start thinking about additions, and this one past, I knew that no chickens were going to be placed on order. I wasn’t sad; I was cool with it really. Until….
Until I was up in the night and catching up on a few recorded shows of P. Allen Smith. In one episode he was talking all about his ducks and the eggs they lay. Then I got to thinking about how much I love fresh duck eggs and how marvelous they taste poached and on top of a crisp frisée salad, and boy did his duck house have some serious cute factor going on. My wheels were starting to spin.
You can see where this is going…..
I grabbed my phone, went on the local farm supply’s website and checked out what ducks they offer to sell. I read up on each one; size, if they’re good layers, and what colors, because we all know we’re all about colors. I waited until waking hours, called and placed my order.
From there, I looked up duck houses for inspiration, and grabbed several photos from Google – natch, I was looking for ones that resembled P. Allen Smith’s. Of course we need to build a duck house because a) there’s no room in the hen inn, b) domesticated ducks can’t fly which leads to c) ducks can’t walk up a steep incline such as the one our chickens go up and down. And too, birds of a feather and all, even though ducks play well with others.
I waited a few nights after I ordered the ducks to break it to Sean. Luckily he was fine with getting the little quackers even though I kinda-sorta massaged the numbers a bit and told him a couple less than I ordered. Have any of you fudged a number before? Am I alone here?
We picked up these little darlings on April 2nd. I went in the store, got the ducks, and bounced back into the car with the ducks in a box. Sean was all smiles when I got back in the car. I opened the box so he could take a look and all the sudden the smile went down just a little bit. He focused his eyes a little more and I could tell that he was counting and recounting. At that point, I started to laugh.
“Yes. Two of each kind,” I said.
“You told me 6.”
“I did get 6. And then I got 2 more for extra credit.”
Make way for the ducklings.
All 8 are in a brooder, currently living in our new tool room. Here are a couple things you’ll need to know if you’re entertaining getting ducks:
- They’re wicked messy. They play in their water constantly, which gets everything wet, including their food. The food needs to be placed next to the water because ducks choke and need to wet their food in order to swallow. Bottom line, messy.
- Be prepared to change / refill their water countless times a day. Until they live in a bigger space and are able to have a bigger water bowl, smaller is the name of the game. Refill. Refill. Refill.
- They stink. But what doesn’t stink that lives in a brooder, poops and lives under a heat lamp. Such is life right now until they’re old enough to move outside and into their own house. We’re a week and a half out until then. For now, we clean out their brooder twice daily.
- Luckily, ducklings grow really fast.
All that aside, ducklings are really sweet, and their eggs are scrump-delish. They’ll share a run with the chickens, which we are planning to expand as well. Unlike chickens that have a pecking order, ducks are free-for-all’s and, like I mentioned earlier, they play well with others.
Sean and Mac are going to start building the duck house within the next couple days, and I’ll bring you along with that build as we go. But in the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to our new little waddlers.
Would you like to name a duckling? Hopefully, they’re all girls. We have 5 that still need names, so please leave your name suggestions in the comments! I welcome all of them.