On the flip side, this is our first release of ducks without a goose taking over guidance right away. Josh checked them out, the goslings didn't seem interested. Nanny (the duck that follows the goslings) seemed interested, but was overwhelmed with so many of them rushing around. There are fourteen normal healthy ducklings and they are really seeming to be in a state of panic at all times. This is probably partly to blame on the fact that most of these are Indian Runner or runner crosses, and they have a strong pack mentality. They were actually running each other over to get nowhere at all.
I'm hoping that tonight they will make some kind of a bond with some of the older birds who can maybe keep them safe and guide them a bit. Otherwise, I don't think they'll last long. Their blind fear of losing their flock keeps them so tangled up with one another that they don't seem to know how to find the food bin, the water dish, the pool, or much else. I did see them all pile out of the barn in a huddle, and go out around the side of the barn. After a few minutes I went around and foudn them all huddled up just standing there. Not grazing, not laying... Just all standing there. A few minutes later they were edging toward the woods, and since they don't know to come back to the barn at night, I guided them back to the barn and filled the food bin. They didn't seem interested in the feed initially, or maybe they didn't want to challenge the other birds for a space at the bowl right away. Either way, they stayed in the rest of the evening.
Peg-leg Sue is free from the brooder now too. She did not follow the other 14 outside. She has not left the barn except when I carried her to the pool to see if she wanted to try playing in the water (she didn't). I returned her back to the barn and she stayed in there all day. She did rejoin her flock when the other 14 went back in the barn. I don't know what will happen to Peg-leg Sue. I tried to find her a home, I posted ads, I even commented in duck groups, but nobody wanted her. Now I'm left with either culling an otherwise healthy duck, or risking her safety by letting her free range with the big birds. She's being left to her own devices for now. When she hatched we didn't think she'd ever be able to stand up. When she joined the other ducklings, we were afraid they'd attack her. When she did start to flap and drag herself around, we figured that was as good as she'd ever be. She has continued to surprise us and remind us of how resilient animals can be. She can stand and hop on one foot. She's not as fast as the other ducks, but she's mobile. Maybe she'll surprise us yet - or maybe she'll get eaten by a predator. Either way, I'm out of other options.
After about two months with no eggs, today we had three eggs laid. Three! In one day! After months without any! The kids found all three on the ground in different places, so I am not sure if these are normal chicken eggs or small duck eggs. Either way, I'm excited to have eggs again!
I did manage to get the small garden beside the screen porch fenced in. It looks like a couple cucumber seeds came up and the birds found them before I did. I don't know if either has enough leaf left to survive, but with the fencing on there, I can't reach in anymore to replant.
If I have time and weather permits tomorrow I may replant the west garden that had cabbage until the deer ate it all. The plan is to put winter squash or something in that I won't have to check back on or harvest frequently. I'm still contemplating adding some beans or peas along the fence line. I know it's probably a waste of time since the deer will probably just eat them anyway... but I really would love some home grown snow peas. Anyway, if I don't get it done tomorrow, I can work on it Friday too.
Here's a photo of Luna tonight, just because she's such a pretty girl.