Ducks Out of the Bathroom

Ducks Out of the Bathroom

So. The raising Cayuga ducklings in the bathroom thing? Yeah, that didn’t work out quite as well as we’d hoped. We’re still enjoying raising young ducks – just not in the bathroom.

What went wrong? The first problem was the kiddie pools. Yes, you’ll find on the internet that kiddie pools work as great brooders for raising poultry. Perhaps so for chicks, definitely not for these little black ducks. By Saturday, they were climbing out of the pools with ease. They arrived in the mail on Wednesday, which means that the useful life of these kiddie pools was all of 4 days. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, says the man posting on his blog.

This set-up seemed amazing for about 18 hours. After 24 hours, the appeal had worn off. 48 hours, we were wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into. 96 hours and they were in the barn.

Next: I would say the odor, but that implies the wrong thing. Actually, the stinky poultry smell that you might think of was entirely absent. We’d been expecting that, but the ducklings themselves gave off no odor. What DID smell was the feed. Ducklings, being of the waterfowl persuasion, love water. They played in it more than they drank from it. Everything got soaking wet, including their feed. And the smell of wet poultry crumbles baking underneath a heat lamp – just gross. Stinky I can handle. Nauseating is a different story.

On top of that, they run out of water every 11 minutes or so. This was solved by purchasing larger waterers, but prior to that the bathroom sink clogged from emptying out and cleaning their feed and water dishes. All in all, not a happy Pinterest-worthy experience. If you’re considering raising poultry in kiddie pools, just don’t.

So, all thirty of them have been relegated to the barn in a make-shift brooder. This is where they would have wound up when grown anyway. I do not know why it even occurred to us to brood ducklings in the bathroom when we have a predator-proof barn outside with an electrical outlet. Perhaps our thinking is still too boxed in from living on a tenth of an acre – now that we have the room (at least in the form of land and outbuildings), we forget to use it to its full potential. So, they are now sharing space with the French Angora rabbits outside.

Speaking of rabbits, Marianne delivered her litter on Tuesday. Luke, our middle son, was pestering Rachel while she was working on our older son’s schoolwork with him, so finally she asked him to run out to the barn to check and see if Marianne had delivered yet. We’d been watching her for days, and as she’d been checked on only an hour before Rachel really hadn’t expected anything. It was more or less just a good way to give Luke something to do so that Gabe could focus. He came back moments later, saying that there was something black and moving in the nest box. So much for school work.

Marianne's 10/16 Litter
As you can see, the chestnuts are born black with pink ears and stomachs, while their self-black siblings have no pink to them whatsoever.

Sure enough, Marianne had eight kits, one of which was DOA. Remaining in her next box are 5 self blacks and 2 chestnuts. I’ll post some pictures at a later date, but I’m especially excited for the chestnuts. And for this little guy on the left:

The Mystery ColorDon

This is the ‘blue’ kit from Hester’s litter that I posted previously about. It’s actually far more silver than the smoky blue that Don & Betsy are – I’ve got a picture of Don on the right for comparison’s sake. What color is it really? The jury is still out, but when Rachel posted about it in a group online, the response was overwhelmingly lilac or a lilac tortoiseshell. That’d be a surprise, as neither parent of this litter has chocolate or lilac (lilac is a form of chocolate) until you look several generations back on their pedigrees.

Either way, both Rachel and I are geeking out. Her, because she wants to spin lilac wool. Me, because I’m a nerd when it comes to all things genetic.

With that, I’ll let you go before I pull out the Punnett Squares.

Steve Signature

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