Saturday, June 3, 2017

My adventure with ducks so far

My adventure with ducks so far

We got ducks! We brought them home just shy of 4 weeks ago. It's been a super cute, sweet and fun adventure with a few challenges.

 Let me say first ducks are not chickens. We have raised chickens since 2010 and chickens are easy. Not a giant learning curve. Tons of websites, blogs , social groups and books that all say close to the same things. I know a lot of people with chickens I can always pick their brains. Ducks have all the resources but everything is different. I know no one with ducks and they aren't as intuitive.

So I brought home ducks thinking they needed a warmer, a place to play in water and food. What I found out is ducks are not born waterproof. They can drowned or freeze to death in a tiny bit of water. They need to be kept dry until fully featured. How is this true? I see ducklings in the pond swimming. Well they have a Mother duck. The Mother duck has waterproof oils she is always rubbing on her babies helping them survive while they grow. Ok so no water to play in? No, they can play in water under supervision for shot periods of time. They will need to be completely dried and put back in their warm brooder when done.

 Feeding your ducks. Well they are babies feed them chick food right? NO!  Chickens need different things than ducks. Chickens grow slower and should start on a medicated feed to prevent common chick illnesses. The medication in chick feed is very bad for your ducklings. It can kill them.  The feed store recommended Flock Raiser.    No medication. I didn't guess that was wrong. Made since I used it with my quail. Quail are game birds I guess ducks are too. Well Flock Raiser isn't just without medication it's also high in protein. Fast growing birds need higher protein to support muscle and feathers growth. What is didn't know is some birds are fine on Flock Raiser and some still need more. I found out the hard way. My duck had a seizure. Backyard Chickens forum has duck owners that say this can happen for a few reasons. Infection, neurological or low vitamin B3. There's no duck doctors so my inner science geek had to weigh out the symptoms and try and treat. Well the day before the seizure the duck kept sitting and had shaking legs. I thought it was cold and heated it up. Seemed to be correct until the seizure. A few places noted shaking legs and seizures could be they need Niacin/B3 I could give them niacin crushed up( not slow release) or try mixing Brewers Yeast in their food and water. I got Brewers yeast. We've been using it a week and the ducklings seems to be more active. Less sitting and no seizures that I can tell. I've been giving them a scoop in their food morning and night. 

Oh wait food morning and night. The food will get wet. Ducks dip their food in their water making a mess. The food gets soaked and will mold. Mold is another duck killer so change the food often. As ducklings they need a lot of food. As grown ducks you limit the food to a cup in the morning and the evening. Ducklings needs the food for fast growing. Ducks if they eat food all day will develop a fatty liver and get very sick. Again it could kill them.  Back to the seizure. We added Brewers yeast and are upping their protein until fully feathered. Guess what there are unmediated chick feed with higher protein that Flocker Raiser. I found this bag and will see how it goes.  I was told it's good  for duck and other meat birds. No we aren't eating these duke purpose ducks.

Other things we can add in moderation to our ducks diet are peas, mealworms and sardines. Don't worry if your ducks won't eat them. They are just as picky as kids. My ducks do not like sardines and they love peas. Ducks also need water to eat so they don't choke. They dip their food and clean their nostrils by dipping their beaks while eating. This makes a huge mess and gets the ducks messy and wet.

Next challenge. How to keep the ducklings dry. If they get messy and wet you can safely assume they will get everything around them messy and wet.  Keeping them clean and dry is a chore you can't ignore. I've set up a Rubbermaid tub as their brooder. The tub has holes drilled in the bottom for extra draining. The tub sits in a baby pool to collect the water.  

 The first bedding we tried was corn cob. We used it with our turtles and our chickens. It's ok with ducks but doesn't keep them dry. It's just easy to dump in the trash for a quick cleaning. I'm cleaning their brooder twice a day.

Since I go through a ton of bedding when I ran out of cob I used Aspen shavings. They are very clean and don't create a lot of dust. I use them with our Guinea pig and chickens.

 No dust helps prevent respiratory issues. Don't ever use cedar it causes cancer in some animals.  With ducks shavings are a nasty wet mess. Off to Tractor Supply I went for more corn cob. Well tractor supply does not carry corn cop cop so I was stuck trying to find something that I could use. The manager of the store showed me corn cob horse bedding which is a pellet that when it gets wet absorbs the water and breaks up into a dust. So far this is my very favorite I can change the ducks bedding once every other day. That's with them dumping a ton of water.  My ducks are dry.


Last and something you have to do is allow your ducklings to bathe. They are dirty. Their features are coming in and itch. It's also super cute and a great time to talk to the ducklings and bond. Find a sunny or warm place. Put enough water for them to cover their feet and sit and watch them play and clean themselves. Limited time. We do it 15 to 20 minutes. Dry them off and put them in their warm brooder. They end up cute and fluffy.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

We decided to film with a Co-star

If you've read our blog or use to shop at Lovely Eco Chic you know Declan. Well he's no longer my potty training toddler but my hilarious Second grader. He loves to be in home movies. The funny part to me about this movie is he wanted to be called Dan. You see if you move some letters around in his name and take some out his name is Dan.

We planted Sweet potatoes. I'm going to give you the link here for my inspiration  so you can actually see the How-To I tried to follow. I hope you enjoy.

As always a huge THANK YOU to our daughter Tanner Lutz for the filming and editing.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's been over two years since our last post.

Wow did life takeover in a hurry. My kids are grown. I have have three in high school all in and out of braces. Both my little cloth diaper models are well in to elementary school, soccer, basketball and wrestling. I'm still working full time and trying my hardest to give my kids experiences and memories they will keep with them for years to come.

My husband and I bought a bigger home for our family back in December. There's still much to to do. I thought I would start blogging again. Hopefully we still entertain and you all can take something with you.

On that note.. Tanner my second oldest is very talented and see and I are doing a Vlog about our garden and other DIY things that we do around this new home. We will be posting written blogs and links to our YouTube videos here just in case interested in the stuff we are doing and want to be a part of our fun.

Here's our first video. I hope you like!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My beautiful daughter on vacation with her Dad

One perk of a blended family is having two families in some cases. Both of our daughters have this blessing.  My oldest Marysa's dad has been sending me breathtaking photos of her and texting me. Per my request as the idea of my daughter at the Grand Canyon has me a bit freaked out.  Photos of her happy calm my nerves. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wow! You get what you pay for I suppose

I'm nine months into running my on-line shop. Lovely Eco Chic I have been working with a lot of bloggers. Mostly I've been very please with the reviews I've had done. Since I'm really pick y about what I carry to the point of being crazy almost I get really bummed out when I know a product Rocks! and the blogger makes it sound blah!

So far this has happened twice where I felt like asking them to just take the review down. In fairness to my fans I like them to see as many points of view as possible. This last one hits home. It's my favorite product. The review makes me look like I'm trying to sell moldy bread. I noticed I lost a few follows on FB today. I'm wondering how this affects my creditability.

I'm just sick to my stomach wondering what's the right thing to do. My business is just now getting weekly sales. I hope this wont stop them.

Where is my Start up an on-line for Dummies book. There has to be a what to do if your bloggers don't agree with you. Ugh!

To top it off I've been dealing with this drama and Sonny goes and tries to wash his hair with the left over chicken fat in our frying pan from dinner. It smells so bad. I just wanted to puke.

I love today! That is all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Broody Hen

Some of you know I have 2 sets of hens. Last years hens Blacky and Sally and this years chicks. My hens will be a year at Mother's Day. They are pretty solid egg layers at this point. Over the last couple weeks we had a huge BOOM of eggs. I was giving them away to everyone.

Well I now know the reason. Blacky thinks she should have chicks of her own. She's Broody. Poor thing doesn't realize that she needs a rooster. This is were it becomes a bit strange. Sally is our dominate hen. Definitely a hen. She too lays eggs. However now that Blacky thinks she's having chicks Sally is playing Dad. She struts around the yard protecting to coup. If you're any one besides me she pecks you. Blacky sits patiently in the nesting box. Waiting and waiting for these unfertilized eggs to hatch.

Looking at various websites how to deal with this poor Motherless hen I'm following none of the advice. I take her out of the nesting box a few times a day and make her hang out with Sally. I keep taking the eggs. Some have looked weird, jelly looking on deflated. Some are shaped strange  with ridges. Every website says this could be from stress.

I almost want to replace an egg Blacky sits on for a few days with a baby chick. As hard as this couple is working to raise some chicks I think they should have some. Just a couple of things are stopping me. I have six birds already. Who's to say the trick will work? That kind of borderlines on animal testing to me. I guess I keep making sure she socializes with Sally in the yard and get plenty of food and water. Heck I  have thought I was pregnant a few times when I wasn't.