The boys in their new home:
Chardonnay took the departure of her kid surprisingly well, given our limited experience of these matters. She seemed a little down for a few days, lying around more than usual, but Selkie has mellowed out (or is just exhausted by still having three daughters here) and is allowing Piper, the daughter who looks like Jupiter, to hang out quite a bit with Chardonnay. Piper will nap cuddled up to Chardonnay, bite her ears, and jump on her back. I guess the acid test will come when we sell the girls. They’re all tattooed and ready to go, just waiting on the American Dairy Goat Association to complete the paperwork to get them registered, then onto Craigslist they go.
A couple of days after the boys left, we heard a whole lot of duck quacking in the backyard. For a couple of minutes we didn’t think much about this, as they get in a ruckus now and then. But it got louder and more urgent, we sent one boy then another out back, and a black cat was chased off. Jemima Dorothy was alive, but just sitting there. The only thing wrong that I could see was something “off” with one of her wings, but night was approaching, so I had Nigel fluff up the straw in her favorite corner of the barn and Gareth went about the evening milking. When Nigel went out in another 15 minutes to put all of the animals away for the night, he found Jemima dead. It was so sad – she was a good layer and the leader of the flock, just turned three years old.
So this week we bought two more ducklings. They are a different breed – Anconas. They’re currently a month old, so we’re back to having very messy ducklings on our screened porch. We do take them to the yard for a time each day. Anconas can’t be sexed until they develop their feathers, so we’re crossing our fingers for two females. If we end up with a male, the delightful seller will exchange for a female.
Meet Zippy and Tia (Zippy is the one on the right with the yellow beak):
Like our Welsh Harlequin ducks, these won’t be yellow and black when they feather out, but white and black.
We took them out to meet the big ducks yesterday. We were SO surprised by what happened. The little ducks were in the front yard, and Gareth herded the big ducks out to meet them. We were all ready to grab the big ducks if they attacked the little ones, but to our astonishment, the little ducks were thrilled and ran full-tilt toward the big ducks, peeping loudly, and the big ducks, terrified by these small loud things, ran away as fast as they could. Much cartoonlike chasing ensued.
“Wait, wait, we want to be friends!!”
Currently there are what we think are 10 females, between ducks and goats! We’re anticipating the little goats leaving soon, as we can’t all go anywhere together currently; someone needs to be here for little-kid-mischief. We have developed a new set-up for the ducks when we leave that should leave them protected from the neighbor’s cat and spent a couple of days throwing small rocks at it when it returned to the scene of the crime. So we are perhaps over-confident, but we’ll keep working with the situation.So that’s news of the barnyard.