Sunday, April 30, 2017

Honk, Quack, Cluck

We've had three male wild Mallard ducks hanging around on the pond for a few days.  We're hoping their mates are sitting on nests nearby.

Papa Pea has been throwing scratch on the pond's bank for the Mallards but I don't think they ever get much of it with our eager-eating domestic bunch.

Yes, you are a handsome boy. 

A female goose at full steam ahead crossing the pond.

Strutting his stuff.

I'm happy to say that with breeding season over, Skidmore and his sidekick are no longer aggressive.  Whew!  That's Shivers the bantam rooster in the picture with the two geese.

One of our Speckled Sussex hens.  They have the friendliest personalities.

'Tis hard to get a good shot of the ducklings as they move so fast.

Our Muscovy mama is being a very good mother.  That's the chick she hatched out at the top of the picture.

"Food?  You have food?"

Feels good to stretch those wings out.

Gossip around the water cooler?

We've got two geese on nests which are due to hatch soon.

This is the other potential Mother Goose.

Our one white Muscovy female acts like she wants to go broody.  However, she's going to have to learn where she's supposed to park her heater if she's going to be successful.

An afternoon meeting in the woods.

These are the three male Mallards . . . with three deer in the background outside the fence.

A better shot of the deer.  The one on the right is seriously shedding his/her winter coat.

I snapped this guy (or gal) in the woods at the salt block.  The deer ignored it all winter but are now hitting it like crazy.

That's all for a quiet afternoon in (and around) the poultry pasture.


Goatldi said...

Love Shiver's what a dude! What is up with that white Muscovy? Afraid she might get her bum cold? Wonderful photos and love the Mallards takes me back to when we had the water fowl. Poor deer talk about taking a molt seriously!

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Not only does that poor deer look scruffy/bad, but we're supposed to have freezing rain/snow starting after midnight tonight and lasting for 24 hours! He/she may well wish he/she had hung on to that winter coat for a while longer. I know I'm gonna be wearing mine!

Michelle said...

Lots of lovely fowl! Those muscovies sure are LONG bodies. Our Speckled Sussex were not tame at all, but I got them as started pullets so they weren't handled early.

Leigh said...

I love your photos! Of course I especially like Muscovies and your ducklings are so cute! Dan's favorite chicken was a speckled Sussex. She was very smart and he'd let her out every morning to accompany him for bugs and such. Wandering dogs killed her, unfortunately.

Vicki said...

Love your pictures. Who needs TV when you have the antics of your feathered crew to watch. :)

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Yes, the Muscovies are not the most attractive duck (just my personal opinion) but the meat is mighty fine!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - When we go out with feed one of our Sussex hens jumps up on your pant legs as if she's asking to be fed first. And, of course, will eat out of your hand. That must have felt like a true loss when Dan lost his favorite. :o(

Mama Pea said...

Vicki - That is seriously true. I could literally sit out in the poultry yard and watch for hours. I wish I had a better camera to catch the ducks and geese diving and splashing in the pond. They really look like they're just enjoying themselves and playing, playing, playing.

Vera said...

What a lovely pond you have. We have a pond as well, but it is in the woods and also close to the river so we never encouraged our geese to go there when we had them, just in case they sailed off down the river! A neighbour did give us his two ducks to rehome once because the drake was getting on his nerves. When they were let loose the drake promptly took him and his 'wife' down to the pond. Never saw her again (probably got eaten by something or other), but he survived, and attached himself to our flock of six geese, especially our best female goose. There were many tussles between him and the male goose over who would have their way with her!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Love these pictures. I just want to get in there and pick up the ducklings. -Jenn

Kristina said...

You are inspiring us to dig a pond now. I'd like to stock it with fish if we do. Love the photos as always.

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Ah yes, the dynamics of animals (birds) living together and the pecking order that must be maintained!

I wish our pond water didn't look so murky but the geese and ducks dabbling in the mud around the edges keep it that way. But no algae either which is a good thing and we've noticed they keep the cattails from overtaking the whole pond. All in all a good situation.

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - The ducklings are incredibly soft. Even their bones are still rubbery. And their fuzz! Softest thing on earth. Baby chicks are a little the same except they seem more angular to me. None of them stay that way for long though!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - If you have waterfowl, a pond is a joy.

On our first place in the county, we had a big pond and tried to stock it with fish but our winters are cold enough that they didn't survive. If we had installed some kind of an aerator that may have worked.

Rain said...

Ha ha ha, Shivers is certainly proud! Love all the photos Mama Pea!! Especially the deer, I feel like if I had an animal spirit guide, it would most definitely be a doe. I feel a really strong connection with them, they're such wonderful animals! I love all the birds you have!!!

Alex and I are hoping for a lake nearby for fishing when we buy our place, but we also thought of a pond because we would like to have ducks as well. By the way, what kind of bird is the "handsome boy"? He certainly has a funny looking beak area. Turkey?

Can you tell me about the salt lick? :)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hi Mama Pea! What a great post! I love seeing all your birds! Love the name Shivers!! He's a handsome one! If our city ever decides to allow backyard chickens I would love to get Araucanas. Love the colors of eggs they produce. I even have blueprints of my hen house all ready - I just need the city to realize this is a very good thing!

Have a good day!

Mama Pea said...

'Morning, Rain - The deer truly are beautiful animals. If only they didn't destroy so many gardens and plantings! That's why we couldn't grow a garden or have berry bushes or fruit trees or flowers (!) if we didn't have it all fenced in with 7' high fencing. Our deer population seems to be up this year from what we've seen around our place.

The "handsome boy" is a male Muscovy duck. The red on his head is what they call caruncles. Both the males and females have them but they are much more pronounced on the males. Yes, they are kinda like the red wattles on a turkey. I'm not really fond of the look but the Muscovy ducks sure do taste good!

A salt lick can occur naturally in nature . . . a place where there is a natural deposit of salt. Farmers place a manufactured salt block in their pastures to insure the healthy growth and develop of their livestock. Folks provide them for the wildlife around here, too, for the same reason. It's said deer and moose (and other smaller wild animals) need them for bone, muscle and other growth especially in the spring which is why we've seen ours used so frequently lately. The blocks can be purchased at farm supply stores and are heavy, weighing around 25-30 lbs. They're about 99% salt and 1% trace minerals. Ours is on the ground, set in a crude wooden tray so it doesn't leach away into the ground so readily.

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - Little Shivers was the bantam rooster given to us by friends who were getting out of keeping chickens, but because Shivers was hand-raised (sickly as a chick and always shivering -- hence, the name) they didn't want to see him go into a stew pot and asked if we'd give him a "forever" home. He adapted beautifully into our flock and seems to be quite happy.

Our close "city" does allow you to keep chickens, but only a small number. And, I'm not sure, but I don't think you can have a rooster because of the crowing possibly upsetting neighbors. Here's hoping you can have yours soon. There's nothing quite like a fresh egg!

Rain said...

Yes, I've heard about the garden destruction! We do have deer here but they avoid this area of the village. I see them mostly in the woods across the river. There's a community garden nearby and they put up a 6 foot fence...didn't keep the deer out, they're upping it to 8 feet this year! know, when I think of ducks (besides Daffy and Donald), I never think they look that way! I have to say though, the few times I've had duck is was so nice. I'm a dark meat chicken fan, so the duck was quite a nice treat!

Thanks for the information about the salt lick! When I lived further East many years ago, I had deer in my backyard and I had a nice feeder for them. Never thought of a salt lick though.

Susan said...

What beautiful poultry you have! How my ducks would love that pond...they have only a tiny kiddie pool. I like the Muscovy duck - do yours fly? I had a heck of a time getting mine to stay in their yard when I had them.

Athanasia said...

I enjoyed all the poultry pictures. So every one has a purpose, eggs, meat, is that correct? Did you build your pond? We have a good sized pond, natural, populated with "plain old" ducks .

Mama Pea said...

Susan - We have more than we really need/want right now, but we still don't know which ones we should keep for breeders. And apparently we won't be able to make that determination accurately until they are at least another year older. At this rate, we'll have so much feed invested in the ones that eventually are culled and end up on the table that we'll truly be eating a pricey goose . . . or duck!

We clipped the wings on both the geese and ducks and so far none of them have tried to fly off into the wild blue yonder. Or maybe they did try and crash landed!

Mama Pea said...

Thank you, Athanasia. Yep, they have to earn their keep! Well, okay, except a couple favorite chickens that are living out their old age in retirement. We plan on thinning down the geese and ducks and only keeping breeding pairs (or trios) who would raise babies each year for meat.

Yes, we did dig our pond. Both with the thought of having waterfowl and to have for fire protection since we're in heavily forested land. One year we had about 40 wild Mallards stay with us for most of the summer, but in recent years no number anywhere near that. When they do frequent our pond, the domestic ducks and geese don't seem bothered by them a bit. Everyone has a splashing good time together.

Athanasia said...

We've never had geese, probably due to the stories my mother would tell us of the mean geese her grandma had. We do get Canada geese that try to outstay their welcome around the pond so the dogs keep them moving on. Our deer population loves the fields along the wood edges, the compost heaps in the winter. There are enough dogs that they stay pretty much away from the gardens. Mostly.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Have any of the wild birds made a home with your domesticated ones? We've been attempting to attract the geese or ducks to our pond with no luck.

Now that's a lovely clutch of eggs!

Great pictures of your 4 legged visitors. And that one is shedding it's winter coat. True signs of spring/summer coming.

I will keep the Speckled Sussex on my list of birds to get in the near future.