By afternoon, the three embden goslings had wandered outside, but stuck close to the barn. Some of the more adventurous chicks followed them out. At one point four chicks wandered around the side of the barn and seemed to get lost. An hour later when I went to check I found two of them still huddled there at the side of the barn, so I walked slowly behind them directing them back around the side of the barn. As soon as they saw the door they ran right in. This evening I found one of those two (black body, brown head cockerel with straight comb) out in the yard beside the barn, all alone, but confidently wandering around exploring.
I was out doing barn chores this afternoon and realized that the goslings seem to have imprinted on me. They followed me back and forth across the yard as I filled the bucket with water and refilled the various dishes. They watched me refill the colony rabbits' food dish, then across the yard to refill some water bins, back into the barn to feed the rabbits... It was pretty cute.
It sprinkled here and there today. Tomorrow we're supposed to get a little more with the chance of some severe weather (wind, hail, etc.). I have to be out of town for a few hours tomorrow morning and I'm wondering if I should risk baking the birds in the barn keeping them locked up, or let them loose and hope nothing picks off the new birds or that they are smart enough to find their way back into the barn if nasty weather hits.
I moved the three bigger ducks outside. Nicey, Charlie, and the rouen cross that still has no name (came with the goslings) are now out in the barn in the brooder. I had thought about releasing the rouen into the flock, but I think the runner babies are rather attached to him/her. They were splashing five gallons of water a day out over the bedding in the basement brooder. Time to go outside!
I moved Peg-leg Sue and the other baby down to the brooder with the chicks from last weeks hatch. For the few minutes it took to get their separate box ready, the bigger ducks didn't seem to be nice to little Peg-leg Sue. Gaetos kept running up to Sue and then laying next to him/her and appeared to be grooming or nibbling with his beak. At first this looked like he was being nice, but Peg-leg Sue did not seem to be enjoying the attention. The two new babies are in a big plastic tub in the brooder with their own food and water source. I have yet to see either bird eat or drink (I did dip their bills in the water so they know what it is). I'm worried that Peg-leg Sue will not do well. Poor bird hardly moves, and when it does try, it just flops in circles before tipping over and flailing until it can correct itself. I am hoping I can find a pet home for Peg-leg Sue. Anyone interested in adopting a house duck? Apparently you can make a duck wheelchair, and they make duckie diapers too! My husband has already made it clear that we will not be keeping a house duck... and with this particular leg defect, it's unlikely that Peg-leg Sue would survive very long out in the barn against the other birds. For now, I'm doing what I can for her/him. S/he has space to move around, a companion, food, and water, and soft bedding so s/he's at least comfortable (as far as I can tell).
Somehow Zombie's kitten is still hanging in there. Every time I go in there I expect to find it dead. I have no idea how it's survived this long. It won't be around much longer. As cute as it is, there's something wrong with it. I still can't quite figure it out but it just "isn't right" somehow. It's lethargic, gangly, and weak. Something you might expect from the runt in a large litter.
Tomorrow one of the colony rabbit babies will go off to her new home. Broken chestnut doe is set to meet her new human tomorrow morning on my way to my appointments for the day. Then Saturday we will be meeting a few other people to send more of the babies to new homes. No new babies in the colony yet.