Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Keeping warm in the cold - Dec 12, 2017

Last night was bitter cold for central VA and I was worried about my pets ducks, worried they wouldn't go in or stay in our little 8x4 duck house heated with heat lamps. You see SpitFire, our little rescued cat, is also apart of our tiny flock of backyard ducks. She is best buds with Beau, #1 drake in the pecking order out there. Her #2 rank in pecking order, coupled with the fact that the girlie duckies don't like the way she runs around when she is in her playful mood, means they tend to avoid her and aren't willing to walk past her or approach her unless Beau does first. (Trust me when I say that this little cat and Beau are good friends who play with each other and look out for each other. Missy (now passed) and Beau were key to SpitFire's acceptance into the flock, and apart of the flock she is!)

Now since September when the temperatures started falling, SpitFire has taken "ownership" of the duck house; and I have rarely seen the ducks being willing to walk past her into the house, not even to stay warm. Our ducks are climatized and do well in cool weather, even in the snow, until the temperatures dip below 20°F. Last night with it getting close to 10°F though I was a little worried about the ducks (mostly about their feet). Would they go in the duck house? Would they stay in there?

Last night, after plugging in the second heat lamp, I put treats up the ramp to encourage them to go in. (There was already a small thing of fresh water inside the house; has been for weeks.) Then, after a little calm patient encouraging on my part, and some hesitation on Beau's part, Beau took the ducks inside. After the ducks were inside the duck house SpitFire followed and laid down right in the doorway. YAY! Success! (But I wondered would they stay inside?)

Later, when I checked on them before going to bed, all I could see was SpitFire laying near the doorway sleeping. I couldn't see if the ducks were still in the house or sleeping outside.

This morning at first light was the same. But as the sun rose a little more I saw that all four ducks were in the house along with our little orange cat,SpitFire! I was SO SO happy!!

Later, Beau ran out of the house with the others behind him (because the sun came up). I thought, "Well at least they stayed inside last night." The ducks all got a little bit to eat. And then a joyous sight for me: ALL of the them (our four pet ducks and little cat), all of them, went back inside the duck house to stay warm.

It made me so so so happy to see that! I know that they will be safe and warm.

You can't tell much from these pictures but I know that the whole tiny flock is in the house (Beau, #1, Welsh Harlequin drake; Darrick, happily #5, Cayuga drake; Little squeak, #4, small Pekin hen; Sweetie #3, small Pekin hen, and SpitFire, #2, small orange cat duck-wanna-be) so these pictures make me happy!!

Nothing makes GrMa Duck happier than all her little loves, happy, safe, and getting along.

P.S. It is always in the back of my mind that Spring is coming and with it loads of duckie drama. But for now I am enjoying and celebrating the winter peace. 😃

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Treats and Posing "boy duckies"

Morning treats ... and silly "boy duckies"  striking a pose"

Treat Time
Darrick looks like he is "striking a pose"
silly boy
handsome Darrick
Beau acting like a "model" duck
STRIKE A POSE 
There goes Beau again!
"STRIKE A POSE" 

Our duckies are just too cute!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hurting

It's been a hard couple weeks for us. As for me (MamaDuck), I haven't really had the words yet to write it down.

A week and a half ago our sweet, Missy (Miss Adventure) passed away and went to be with her sisters Queenie and Keelyn. She had dealt with severe arthritis in both of her legs and her hips. Eventually she couldn't walk. We take comfort knowing that she's not hurting anymore.
Her personality and namesake never faded. She never stopped being loud, bossy, and stubborn; always wanting to be close to her boys. Even on her hardest days she always "said "thank you"" for treats and food or getting to eat yummy grasses, with her sweet, high-pitched mumbles.  She is sorely missed.

Sadly, at that time we also knew our big love Kouta didn't have much longer. Also suffering from severe arthritis, he was unable to walk anymore and did not want to be separated from the flock.  This past weekend he let GrmaDuck know, in almost the same way Keelyn let us know, that he was ready to go. We are grateful that he is also no longer suffering.
He most certainly earned his name. Kouta is japanese for big and large and peaceful. Besides Queenie, he was our biggest cuddler. He always looked at me differently than the others did, if I can I would compare it to the way a little boy looks at his mama. He always had such love in his eyes. He was our "big love" and we miss him greatly.

Our hearts are hurting. I have hand-raised 2 separate little flocks. I lost my first babies Alex and Bianca, 7 years ago today. And our little flock of 6 that GrmaDuck and I hand-raised together is now down to 2.
As I now live far away, it is so hard that I did not get to say goodbye to them. But I am so thankful that I got to be their MamaDuck and that Missy and Kouta are both resting next to their sisters Keelyn and Queenie, and my first babies Alex and Bianca.

As GrmaDuck always says, raising ducks is not for the faint of heart. They are a tremendous undertaking and a huge responsibility. They are fragile creatures who love their people so deeply, that it leaves your heart open to be broken. We are heartbroken, but we are so thankful for the joy they have brought to our lives.

Miss Adventure - "Missy" 10/12/10 - 3/2/17
MamaDuck snuggling 2dayold Missy    GrmaDuck with teenage Missy

Missy's best friend Queenie                        Missy's love Beau 

Our beautiful, sweet freckle face



Kouta  10/12/10 - 3/11/17

 Week old Kouta snuggling            Treats with MamaDuck

 Kouta's love Keelyn                          Darrick was Kouta's best bud
                               (Such and odd pair)


 He was always the king of the pool


Our sweet, lovey big boy


~MamaDuck

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Treat Time


Morning Treats! 

Pictures taken looking down as they "nom nom nom" on treats.  
This angle is a little funny but I love their cuteness.

Darrick, our Cayuga drake (black), is looking especially beautiful with bright iridescent green plumage. 

Our little SpitFire duckie kitty also loves peas for treats!