Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welsh Harlequin Ducks at 17 Weeks

Welsh Harlequin Drake, 17 weeks old
The ducks are now 17 weeks old.  They are now looking like adults, with the most obvious difference being the Welsh Harlequin drake, with his pretty green head and black butt and curly tail.  He's quite handsome!  Whitey also now has his curly tail, and must weigh twice as much as the others.  I haven't weighed him, but he's awfully heavy in comparison to everyone else.  The girls aren't very different from the last photo I posted, but I'll post a couple with them anyway.

Duck House, with nest boxes at the left
Ducks behind house
We have completed the exterior of the duck house and painted it.  The ducks pretty much have their daily routine.  They are locked inside their house at night, let out to their paddock for breakfast and a morning swim.  The cat gets to go outside at this time, while the
ducks are locked in the paddock.        Later on, the cat comes in the house, and the ducks go out to the larger yard for foraging and lounging under the shade of trees or behind their house.  Sometime in the late afternoon, they begin to squawk and beg for dinner.  Sometimes they get to enter the garden, where they head immediately to the tomatoes, which they seem to enjoy eating.  Sometimes I'll take them a handful of cherry tomatoes and throw them out to them one at a time for a game.  The two drakes are the most eager to snap at them.  In the late evening, after dinner and around dusk, we'll lock them back in the paddock for safety, and sometime before we head to bed, we lock them back into their house for the night.  If we leave their access door open for them, they'll put themselves to bed, and we don't need to herd them in.

One of the "Silver" Welsh Harlequin females
We are anxiously awaiting the first eggs, which we expect to see sometime around 20-24 weeks of age, per various resources.  We will start increasing their daytime light artificially next week, to indicate that it's getting lighter, and therefore time to commence laying eggs.  We'll see how that goes!  We'll also be putting some fake eggs in the next boxes to show them where they should put them.  Again, we'll see how that goes.

"Golden" Welsh Harlequin female

Whitey, of course, is still the one standing out of the crowd, and is quite handsome with his curly tail.

Whitey, the White Appleyard Male

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