We ordered baby chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery. At the time of ordering, Keith decided that we needed baby ducks too! So in addition to the 15 chicks (minimum order), he ordered four ducklings - Black Swedish Ducks.
The ducklings were born April 14th and arrived a couple days later. They were adorable.
Who knew that ducks grow exponentially faster than chickens? Seven weeks old and they are full-grown ducks. The ducklings are duck-size now. The four do everything together - from one end of the yard to the other. Quacking and waddling all around the yard. We've named three: The Joker, Mr. Freckles Blackfeet and Spot. Still working on the final duck name. Well, we're still working on Spot too - just haven't come up with a better option yet.
|My Mother's Day present...a Duck House!|
Then on May 19th, the new baby chicks arrived. We started with 16 (the hatchery sent an extra one for warmth), but unfortunately we lost 5 within the first two days. There was some initial fear that we might have some disease affecting the chicks. We called the hatchery to let them know - stressing that we did not want them to ship any replacements. We never wanted 15 chicks in the first place. The rest of the flock seems to be thriving and getting bigger every day. Feathers are starting to come in and they are getting bolder. We do have one runt that seems to be well-behind the others in growth, but all in all doing well. So we have 11 left - 6 Black Giants and 5 Buff Orpingtons.
|Our brooder in the shed|
Right as the baby ducks arrived, one of the older chickens died. Reba was one of the New Hampshire Reds and was just a few months shy of 3 years old. She had been acting a little weird and sluggish for a few days and I just had a feeling that she was dying. It is so hard to watch and feel so hopeless that you can't help. From the 2011 batch, only Big Brown Betty, the Soul Sisters (Aretha, Etta and Gladys), the Wilson Sisters and Doris Day remain.
So 25 animals at the moment - 11 chicks, 7 chickens, 4 ducks, 2 dogs and 1 crazy cat. A co-worked should be taking a few of the baby chicks. That still leaves us with a whole lotta birds. What were we thinking?