Wednesday, April 13, 2011


April 13, 2011--I've been posting on various yahoo lists my latest adventures with baby birds.  Those stories reminded me of this blast from the past one from 2004.

July 28, 2004

First of all let me say to those of you that don't know me personally that despite my towering height of 5'0" I am not a petite person, I am quite round, so scurrying quickly is not a thing I do. Nor is bending over, crawling around easily or any other such aerobic activity.

Today, so far, has had a series of valuable lessons that I thought I would share for those of you who may or may not be new to homesteading:

1. While leaning a board inside the coop for guineas to nest behind may sound like a good idea consider how you will retrieve eggs from behind said boards if they extend well behind the roosts for the birds. We didn't and today I had to. On hands and knees with my Gopher Grabber reaching tool and basket I crawled under the roosts it was not pleasant. The Muscovy duck, Lady Rachel, who had decided she liked the guinea accommodations better than her own small coop and thus had gone broody next to the nest of guinea eggs I was robbing was not amused at being disturbed. I became very thankful for the Gopher Grabber which kept my arms away from her hissing bill.

2. When you have a guinea hen broody in the coop on 66 eggs REMIND your dh that when he puts the birds up at night he should MAKE SURE Mama hen is on her nest and not locked out of the pen for the night. The eggs are in the 'bator now, but it was a very cool night for OK, we'll see. They were near their hatch date.

3. Day old baby Muscovy ducklings can march right through chick wire. This lesson was learned when I was preparing my lunch and heard baby ducks in distress. Running outside I saw 4 ducklings marching straight out to guinea hens who thought they were pecking material.

4. Day old baby ducklings are EXTREMELY fast!

5. All larger duck backsides look the same to baby ducklings.

6. Older sibling ducklings DO NOT want their younger brothers and sisters under their backsides and will peck the newly hatched ones HARD!

7. All older ducks will flog you if they think you are going to hurt a duckling.

8. Even the best trained dog will get excited when Mom is chasing a small tasty morsel and the bigger ducks are chasing Mom. While they didn't eat one they barked and snickered at it all a lot not great for Mom's ego or ears.

9. When blocking all the bottom wire one should remember the chick wire that runs BEHIND the feeder and ramps.

10. Once baby ducklings get under a coop that is surrounded with chick wire on all 4 sides you better figure out a way that you can get Mama duck out of the coop and away from the other 10 to call those other two. Because they are faster than you and you aren't going to get them out on your own.

11. The only way to put additional boards behind the feeder and ramps once the other two are back to Mama Duck is to do it from inside the very messy duck coop. ON HANDS AND KNEES. YECH!

12. Once you are certain you have blocked all exits for the baby birds one will climb a corner and go out above the boards just to prove it can, it too is extremely fast.

13. Once you are certain AGAIN you have all exits covered and you are now ready for a scrub down and have lunch another will escape just as you take your first long swallow of Pepsi.

14. The third time you are certain you have them all blocked safely in you thank God that it is a cool day and you can keep the windows open to listen for more escapee sounds.

15. You contemplate bird netting on the outside of the run wired up tight to the chick wire, all the way around and very high up.

16. You cancel a much needed shower until reenforcements arrive to help you untangle the bird netting and get it up for fear they will escape again.

17. You now know you MUST enlarge the duck housing facilities immediately . Those older siblings might hurt the younger ones when it comes time to settle down for the night in the too small coop.

18. You develop a headache when you realize that you have a broody duck in the guinea coop and you get to play this game all over in three weeks when she hatches her dozen out.

19. Cedar needles in the hair and under clothing hurt.

20. You better learn to laugh at yourself because everyone else is.

These are valuable lessons learned today, hope they save someone else my scurrying around trying to nab little and yellow and black ducks as they flee under the low lying cedar trees. Jan who is most certainly glad no one had a video camera going today in OK

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