Duck Rescue/Release

049
Chip looking pretty regal.

You may remember Chip-Chip as a tiny duckling rescued from our cat’s and dog’s mouths. He lived for a few weeks in my bedroom, then the garage , then the woodshed and finally in our pond. He’s free to go but for the time being he prefers waddling after me in the garden and having a chat. One day I was scolding a daughter for lopping off the head of a Brussels sprout plant and noticed Chip sitting at my feet (he’s very quiet when he wants to be!). I couldn’t stay mad about the sprouts, could I?

Chip is far friendlier than the domesticated ducks we raised and eagerly gave away (we still have two Khaki Campbells Sophie and Ferdinand–our one daughter calls him Ferdiler for some reason). he gets bonus points for coming when he’s called and napping on my lap. I see him stretching his wings now and again so he may leave us someday, but for now we’ll enjoy him.

Country Life: Ducks for No Reason

We were told by the experts that Khaki Campbell ducks don’t make babies.To clarify they hardly ever get broody and if by chance they do the Khaki duck makes a terrible mother. Some of you remember the big chicken massacre of  winter 2015 when Sophie the duck managed to flee the blood thirsty fox but not without a noticeable limp.

043We assumed she’d kick the bucket but wanted a few more ducks so we stole a few eggs and gave them to a broody chicken.

Summer arrived and suddenly Sophie would go missing for hours, only appearing once or twice a day with much fanfare and noise. Ferdinand was always thrilled to see her–for 15 minutes–and off she’d go again. We discovered her 11 eggs tucked in a nest where the sheep now grazed.

Before we could decide what to do Sophie shocked us when she ran out the next day with a tiny malformed duckling dead and hanging from her mouth. My daughter and I grabbed all her eggs and found another broody chicken. Sophie screamed and cried for her eggs–so we gave a few back.

Now we have chickens who think they’re ducks and ducks who think they’re chickens all over the property. Turns out Sophie was not half bad as a mother after we rescued her baby from Ferdinand that first week. My husband re-enacted a great high school football moment with a flying dive to save the little critter. We let mother and baby bond for a while in a big tub and set them free with some trepidation. But the bonding session worked and Sophie gave Ferd a piece of her mind when he tried to get near the duckling. Now they march around as a family unit–sometimes. Other times the little one hangs out with the friends he doesn’t know are his brothers and sisters.

We’re not really sure what to do with all these ducks–but they’re so adorable and most of us don’t like dark meat. I suppose they’re just lawn ornaments.

Saturday on the Farm

First sunny day in forever!
First sunny day in forever!

First my helpers “help” me spread manure in the garden . . . kids, this is serious . . .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not a lot got done, if I’m being honest.

Corralling the chickens after they’d escaped from the barnyard proved fruitless . . .

You think you're so smart, chicky, but don't come running to me after you've been eaten by a fox!
You think you’re so smart, chicky, but don’t come running to me after you’ve been eaten by a fox!

The ducks had the right idea . . .

Sleep with one eye open, Ferd says.
Sleep with one eye open, Ferd says.

My husband spends the day productively building shelves . . .

while in the barnyard the animals and I wait and wait for Pixie the goat to have babies . . . she’s late.

Princess Kate waiting for cousins.
Princess Kate waiting for cousins.

Time to Feed the Farm

The promise of a sunny, cold day!
The promise of a sunny, cold day!

 

Phoebe isn't sure if she's more interested in a hug or some hay.
Phoebe isn’t sure if she’s more interested in a hug or some hay.

 

Oliver helps clear out the chicken coop.
Oliver helps clear out the chicken coop.

 

Chickens looking for treats.
Chickens looking for treats.

 

Did you know that you can tell the sex of a duckling by its curly tail?
Did you know that you can tell the sex of a duckling by its curly tail?

Happy (?) Animals in the Snow

"Listen here, Daisy, if you even sniff at this old rotten duck egg I found in the snow, I'll rip your head off!"
“Listen here, Daisy, if you even sniff at this old rotten duck egg I found in the snow, I’ll rip your head off!”

Yes, there is bullying on the little farm. Scolding them in a slow teacher voice does nothing to stop it, so I carry on to the barn for a fun time in the snow with the goats, cat, ducks and chickens. Maybe I’ll get a good picture for Christmas cards!

"You're kidding, right?"
“You’re kidding, right?”

No Pixie. I’m not kidding. Snow is fun. The babies will LOVE it.

"I'm game!" says Mollie.
“I’m game!” says Mollie.
"What's this white stuff?" asks Phoebe. "I want to go home."
“What’s this white stuff?” asks Phoebe. “I want to go home.”
"I'm here, but I don't like it," says Kate.
“I’m here, but I don’t like it,” says Kate.
"Okay, I just got snow in my eye," Pixie grumbles. "Who's dumb idea was this?"
“Okay, I just got snow in my eye,” Pixie grumbles. “Who’s dumb idea was this?”

The photo shoot with the chickens gets cancelled. The chickens are being chickens. Oliver the cat is being a big baby.

"Everybody knows we cats hate weather."
“Everybody knows we cats hate weather.”

What about the ducks?

"I heart you," says Sophie.
“I heart you,” says Sophie.
"Let's not get gushy," says Ferdinand.
“Let’s not get gushy,” says Ferdinand.
"Now, Sophie, please keep up. The weather is getting quite treacherous . . . Sophie?"
“Now, Sophie, please keep up. The weather is getting quite treacherous . . . Sophie?”
"Here I am, Ferd," Sophie says.
“Here I am, Ferd,” Sophie says.
"So . . ." Ferdinand says, clearing his throat. "Maybe we should, you know, get married since we're already living together in the chicken coop." "Oh, Ferd . . ."
“So . . .” Ferdinand says, clearing his throat. “Maybe we should, you know, get married since we’re already living together in the chicken coop.”
“Oh, Ferd . . .”
"I like courting in the snow," Ferd says, gruffly. "And Sophie, I do love you, too. C'mon, I'll get you home safely."
“I like courting in the snow,” Ferd says, gruffly. “And Sophie, I do love you, too. C’mon, I’ll get you home safely.”