Monday, August 29, 2016

Duckling Update

A few days after my last post, I went to feed my chickens in the morning and found two tiny little ducklings sitting right in the middle of the flock.  One had an injured leg and I couldn't find mama duck anywhere - I also found no signs of struggle (usually there will be feathers left if a predator gets a chicken or duck).

I decided I better catch the ducklings and put them in safe place.  Boy did they give me a merry chase!  It is amazing how fast a little duckling can run!

I did finally catch them, and now the little ones are growing up in my "nursery" swimming pool inside the chicken coop.  The little one with the injured leg has healed with no sign of weakness.  I'll put them out with the other ducks and chickens as soon as they grow too big to fit through the fencing.  They seem to be a bit more "wild" than other baby ducklings and are very afraid of me.  I think that they'll warm up once they get out with the other fowl and see how they react to me showing up with food.   

Sadly, I still haven't found any sign of mama duck. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Look What Came Wandering Out Of The Edge Of The Yard

Yesterday, while I was doing my morning chores, this came wandering out of the brushy edge of the yard.  

Look at the two little balls of fluff beside this mama duck.  They're a cross between a peking male and this muscovy female.  I think it's hard for them to produce fertilized eggs, so this may explain why there are only two ducklings.  

We thought that one of our ducks had been taken by a predator or, hoped, that is was hiding and sitting on eggs.  It looks like the second choice occurred!  

It's kind of cruel, but I would like to take the babies and put them under a heat lamp because sometimes predation doesn't give them a chance to grow up.  However, this mama duck is staying well away from me and I'm hoping her instinct to keep these ducklings hidden and away from everyone will keep them safe. 

Turkey update:  It appears that I have three toms and two hens.  The other day, one more started gobbling and fanning at me.

Friday, August 5, 2016

We Have Bourbon Red Turkeys...Again

Do you remember the winter before last when my beautiful bourbon red turkeys were killed by a bobcat?  It killed all five - just for fun.  

We've had the turkey enclosure and never did anything with it.  So I contacted my friend in Altoona and asked him if he had any young turkeys available.  Then a couple of months ago I drove down to pick up five pullets.  When I asked him what sexes he had he said, "your guess is as good as mine".  So we wait for them to mature a bit and even the very young toms start to gobble.  It looks like I have one tom and four hens.  I swear I've heard one other "hen" gobble, but I can't be entirely sure!    

We really beefed up the enclosure and made it, we hope, predator proof and now my young turkeys are growing up and looking really great!  I love, love, love the soft cooing sounds they make!  

Bourbon Red turkeys are different than your regular Thanksgiving Broad Breasted white turkey as they can mate naturally.  Your Thanksgiving turkey has been bred to have such a large breast that this has become impossible for them.  When my turkeys start laying I plan to put the eggs in an incubator (I've been told they don't make very good mothers and will only sit on the nest for about two weeks).  I may, as an experiment, even put a few eggs under some broody chickens.  I hope that I'll have young turkeys for sale next spring!

Aren't they gorgeous?

Did you know?  Here are some turkey facts from

The modern domesticated turkey descends from the wild turkey.

Turkeys are known to exhibit over 20 distinct vocalisations. Including a distinctive gobble, produced by males, which can be heard a mile away.

Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognise each other.

Turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals that are highly social. They create lasting social bonds with each other and are very affectionate; rather similar to dogs.

Turkeys have outstanding geography skills. They have the ability to learn the precise details of an area over 1,000 acres in size.

Like peacocks, male turkeys puff up their bodies and spread their elaborate feathers to attract a mate.

Baby turkeys (poults) flock with their mother all year. Although wild turkeys roost in the trees, as poults are unable to fly for the first couple of weeks of their lives, the mother stays with them at ground level to keep them safe and warm until they are strong enough to all roost up in the safety of the trees.

Wild turkeys are able to fly at up to 55 mph, however only for relatively short distances. Most domestic turkeys however are unable to fly due to being selectively bred to be larger than would be suitable in wild circumstances.

The area of bare skin on a turkey’s throat and head vary in colour depending on its level of excitement and stress.When excited, a male turkey's head turns blue, when ready to fight it turns red.

The long fleshy object over a male's beak is called a snood.

Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers.

Benjamin Franklin wished to have wild turkeys as the national bird of the USA, rather than the bald eagle. 

The turkey is believed to have been sacred in ancient Mexican cultures. The Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs referred to the turkey as the ‘Great Xolotl’, viewing them as ‘jewelled birds’.

The meat from domesticated turkeys is widely eaten by people across the world.