Tuesday, September 29, 2015

And Now We Are Five

Golden Cascades, 17 Weeks Old, 4 Hens, 1 Drake
Now we've got the final count. After discovering that we had two drakes (rather than just one, as planned) we have now donated one of the drakes to a nearby Wolf Sanctuary.  I'm sure the wolves there appreciate the donation. The photo above shows the ducks we plan to keep indefinitely. Hopefully, the drake will allow us to have a few baby ducklings in the spring.

The last batch of ducks we had remained unnamed, other than the colored bands they had around their ankles (pink, green, blue, etc.)  This time they look different enough that I'm planning to go ahead and name them. The names are still up in the air a bit, but for now they are as follows:

Wily - This is the drake that fooled us into believing he was a she, and now his life has been spared. Other than the blue-gray bill, I believe his plumage is closer to the preferred colors for this breed. (Per Dave Holderread.) Also, he has better camouflage than the other drake had, which is my preference.

Next, we have Bess, until I think of a better name. I thought about "Brownie" because she's quite brown...I could change my mind.

Here is Ellie May. I just thought it was a cute name, and this duck has no outstanding characteristics.

Meet Gertrude. I just thought a duck should be named Gertrude.

This is either Spot, or Splash, or Dory.  One of these days I will decide. Spot would be because when she was little she had a spot on her right foot. Now she has a couple of black spots on her beak. Splash would be because she's the first one in the pool many a time, and runs there first thing in the morning, before going to the food dish.  Because she likes the water, Tim thought of Dory, after the fish in Finding Nemo.  So, Dory would be cute....but which name will stick? Any ideas?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Duck Population Decreases

Things were getting a bit crowded in the pool:
13 Ducks in the pool; 12 weeks old.
We've decreased the population. Now there are 6 calmer, happier ducks.
Our six Golden Cascades; 13 weeks old.
We sold two females, then butchered five others. We'd planned all along to butcher the White Appleyards and the Golden Cascade drakes. I've been carefully selecting which GC's I would keep: 5 females and 1 drake. Long ago I identified two drakes, and chose which one I would keep based on his prime coloring. I chose two GC females to remove; one was sold, the other to be dinner--one was small and not the right coloring, the other was just TOO crabby.

Just after we finished the butchering and were getting back to business, Tim noticed that one of the "females" wasn't quacking, but was making that drake sound. OH, NO! I shooed it out to make it mad; still no quack. I picked it up; still no quack. And, to top it off, I noticed a curly tail. Other than the lack of a quack, and a curly tail, this one looks like a hen. Or so I thought. :( He disguised himself by having a blue-grey beak and no white ring around his neck.
Golden Cascade drake; what a surprise!
I believe that the drakes should really look more like this:
Golden Cascade Drake
So, now we have 4 hens for laying and 2 drakes. I don't know what I'll do about the extra drake; I really only intended to keep one, and if this oddball is really the wrong coloring I don't want to breed with him.

Four hens should be plenty for eggs for the two of us, so fewer ducks is ok, although I had thought five would be nice to have extra eggs to sell. We'll be fine with the four.

It is very nice to have fewer ducks. They are much calmer, less competitive for food or pool time, and it's SO NICE to be putting out half as much feed. The two that I sold helped recoup the money spent on food, which is nice, considering we hadn't intended to keep them around so long. We've just been so busy building a house, we haven't had time for this task of "decreasing the population."