3-Week Update on the Babies

Tuesday was the ducklings three-week birthday and Wednesday for the chicks.  It’s hard to believe they are less than a month old still.  They have grown SO MUCH in just a few weeks.

From week two to three, the ducklings probably doubled in size again.  This was a week ago, and yesterday the largest Pekins could almost look up over the wall of the brooder!

I started trying to get the ducklings outside because they felt too big for the space in the brooder.  One day I brought them out into the garden with me while I planted some berry bushes.  At first they kept starring up at the sky, like – Where are we?  What is that big blue thing up there?  Then one of them discovered a small clump of grass growing in the untilled section of the garden and they excitedly started foraging and running around.

I tried moving the ducks outside earlier this week but then winter came back all the sudden and I was afraid they were too cold.  So I moved them back into the workshop for a few days until the snow melted.

This morning I went to our local feed store to get some oyster shell for the chickens.  The girl there knows me and asked if she might convince me to take some ducks home.  They had a batch of ten 3-week old Pekins that were getting too big for their enclosure and a new group of ducklings had just arrived today.  They’d been marked down to $2.00/bird and she’d even give me a few extra if I took all the largest ones.  How could I say no to that?  I called Josh.  We agreed, as long as I could figure out a way to get them outside, it was a no brainer.  So, home I came with 14 more ducks: 10 Pekins, 2 Khaki Campbells and 2 Rouens.

My first task was to block off one of the runs.  I did that and shooed all the chickens out.  Then I needed to find a way to keep them warm enough.  I decided to stack some hay bales around the edge of the run to block the wind and add a few heat lamps that they could lay under.  With that in place, I filled up a waterer and feeder and carried out the new ducklings from my car.  Next I brought out the ducklings from the workshop.  I watched with a heavy heart, hoping desperately that they’d get along because I had no idea what I’d do with all these ducks if they couldn’t be together.

It was duckling magic!  They got along just fine, almost like they were long lost sisters.  They stayed under the heat lamps for a few minutes but then began venturing out to the water and food.  Tonight I’ll shoo them all up into the baby coop and add a few heat lamps in there.  Hopefully that will keep them warm enough to get through the night.

The chicks are growing fast too.  My niece and nephew have been out to see the birds every Sunday since we got them.  Bailey is getting really comfortable holding the chicks.

In just two weeks they already had loads of pin feathers and began flying!  Check out these little wings.

One night I came out to check on everyone and there was a chick running around on the floor having an adventure.  We had to add screens to the top of the brooder to keep them from flying all over the workshop.  Occasionally one still makes it out through the crack in the middle where the heat lamp hangs through.

Having baby birds is a lot of work but so fun too.  Won’t be long at all that we are ready to begin integrating them with the rest of the flock.  We really need to get moving on the new coop behind the pond and finishing up the fencing so we’ll have enough room for all these additions to our farm family and a better system for keeping them all safe.

Oh, and did I mention yet that we are putting in fencing that will work for chickens and goats?!  We might have some new four-legged friends in our future too.  Stay connected to see what’s next.

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