Sunday evening the duckling that's been slow and struggling passed away. I figured he would. I don't know what his issue was but he didn't want to get up and refused to eat and drink. He'd been down for several days, and I kept moving him, cleaning him off, and setting him near the food and water.
Sunday night when I went to close up the barn, Peg-leg Sue and another duckling were still outside. Tony had to go and get them from around the side of the barn. Weird, but not overly unusual. Both ducklings were lethargic, but I figured it was late and they were probably just tired. Especially Peg-leg Sue since she spends so much of her energy just getting around. So I set both babies near the water bowl, just beside the food bowl, and I closed up the barn and went to bed.
Monday morning when I opened up the barn, Peg-leg Sue wasn't with the other ducklings. I went to investigate and found her and the other duckling, both dead. They had gone back to their nest area and appeared to have died in their sleep. I walked out of the barn and looked at my potato towers. Sure enough, one of my once lush and full potato towers is now half empty. They must have eaten the potato plants!
I did some research and it turns out that I was correct that potato plants are toxic (as we suspected after similarly losing some potato plants the day before our old hen Henrietta died). However, everything I read says that birds will typically avoid eating toxic plants unless they are starving and have no other food options. I'm confused now. We have 70 acres, none of it is off limits to the birds. They have fields, yard, trees, brush, every kind of natural grass, weed, and wildflower, plus their daily bowl of commercial feed in case they're not getting enough through forage. If anything I suspect some of my birds are becoming obese. Further, they have a lake something like 50 feet from the back of the barn. A lake with a nice shallow area with reeds and duckweed. What on Earth would possess now three of our birds to eat the potatoes? Is it just their proximity to the barn? Am I not feeding them enough, despite also having all day to forage? Or is this like my husband says, just a case of the survival of the fittest and the dumb ones don't make it? After all, out of roughly 100 birds, only three ate the potatoes right?
I had to message the lady that I was set to meet today to let her know that Peg-leg Sue had died. The real tragedy is that she was literally one day from being a pampered pet.
Today the old washer and dryer were taken away, and the new ones dropped off. Tony installed them, we ran to town to get the new dryer vent for the dryer. I picked up a new goldfish for the fish tank in the bathroom. We'll see if this one lasts longer. Last time I got a $5 fantail and it died six days later. This one is a 15-cent feeder goldfish.
We got home from shopping and one of the kids noticed a bird died in the barn. It was our lighter black cochin hen (one of our keepers). No idea why. She didn't look like she'd been attacked, no damages obvious, and she hadn't appeared sick that I had noticed.
Then we went off to go pick up a couple new rabbits. These were supposed to be two rex does for #4 who has been wanting another rex doe since her rex Elizabeth died last winter. We drove an hour to pick them up, they came with their cages and were free - so I really can't complain too much. These rabbits are not rex. Not at all. Nonetheless, #4 is happy to have her own little girl bunnies and is thinking of names for them.