I’d like to start this post by wishing a Happy 70th (day) Birthday to the gorgeous stars of the duckling video in this post and also in my previous posts:
I faithfully took videos of these 13 beautiful Muscovy ducklings every day for two months and will (eventually) share week by week videos documenting their growth. However, I’m only on week 3 now since I got a little side-tracked from making duck videos.
That’s because (just in case I haven’t already boasted enough) I have my first book coming out in exactly 1 month and 5 days!
On December 8th, Grow Your Own Spices will be showing up in bookstores and shipping out from Amazon and other booksellers. Then you can actually hold it in your hands, smell the paper, think about tattooing Greta’s gorgeous illustrations on some part of your body, improve your health with Lindsey’s amazingly useful medicinal spice tips, dream about the spices you plan to grow, and then prepare to start growing your own spices in 2021!
Pre-Sales Matter (A Lot)!
Of course, the book is already available for pre-order now. And if you weren’t aware, pre-sales have a big impact on whether a book does well after publication. Books with strong pre-sales get priority locations on bookstore tables and in search algorithms for online retailers.
So, if you are planning to buy my book, or know someone who might want to, it would mean a lot to me if you would pre-order or share the details soon!
Raising Ducklings Week 3 – What to Expect
Now, back to more fun details on raising ducks! In the midst of all sorts of book-related details, I did manage to get the 3rd week video together.
This is the time when ducklings really start to have personality (and interest in what their duck keepers are doing). So, even you don’t plan to raise ducks, I think you’ll enjoy this video.
The ducks notice the camera which is adorable. They also start foraging voraciously (clover and anything with seeds or flowers). They respond to their environment with greater awareness (as you’ll see in the video).
The ducklings start pinning in preparation for feathering. Their bodies elongate noticeably. They also do a lot of stretching and squatting in response to their rapid growth.
Ducklings and Cats
This is also the point in time when I start to trust my cats with the ducklings (with supervision). In Day 20 on the video, you’ll see the ducks meet Lord Gray Cat.
At first it’s a harrowing, frightening experience. Yet in a dramatic, climactic moment the ducks show (almost) no fear even as Lord Gray sharpens his fearsome claws in front of them.
On Day 21 of the video, for dramatic effect I added a graphic of an explosion. But, in fact, it was just one of my mature ducks flying overhead that caused the response you’ll see in the video.
It’s a great example of how ducks naturally gravitate to bodies of water for security. This is why I always tell people that ducks absolutely need a pond of sorts to be happy.
Yes…they can live without one. But even a 3 week old duckling’s first instinct is to dive for water when frightened. So, why not give them a place that makes them feel safe?
Making a Duck Pond
Ponds don’t have to be fancy. Personally, for this pond, I dug a hole shaped with a shallow end. Then I stuck $50 worth of pond liner in the hole, filled it with a hose, and lined it with downed tree segments dragged from our woods.
Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that to make a pond. You need to be careful how you shape the pond. You also need to extend the liner beyond the hole and bury it so it stays put. Of course you need to call 811 and get your utilities marked before you dig so you don’t hit anything critical. But small duck ponds are something anyone can make with a little planning and a day’s work.
As far as maintenance, periodically I use a bucket to dip out the dirty water and dump it under perennials in my garden. Then I fill the pond back up with the hose.
A pond like this won’t save ducks from predators, but as you’ll see in the video, it makes them feel safe. The real safety comes from my patrolling dogs and keeping them in a predator proof location at night.
At this stage in duck development, ducks start eating a lot more. I normally upsize their feed bowl so I don’t have to fill it as often. But I kept the same bowl for two months so you can see their size in relation to the bowl over time.
This is also when my 13 babies become too big to fit together in a tote for their ride from the bathtub to the pasture. So, I had to start carrying them out to pasture in two trips.
Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday when I first brought them inside using a 5 gallon bucket? How fast they grow up!
Thankfully, the bathtub was still large enough to hold them as a nighttime shelter. I wasn’t quite ready to let them live outside full time. (I procrastinated moving them outside full-time until day 34.)
In my next duck-related post, I’ll cover predator proofing an outdoor shelter for ducklings.
In the meantime, thank you in advance for your support in helping me increase pre-sales of my book. And enjoy the latest video installment in our duckling series!