Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicks and Ducks

The Freedom Ranger chicks arrived this morning, the 25 we ordered plus an extra one from the hatchery.  The Post Office called me at 6:45, and I drove over to get them.  It was a much more relaxed drive than the one for the ducklings yesterday because I knew the chicks weren't likely to be dying.  When I got them home to the brooder house, I moved the extra heat lamp off the ducklings and hung it over the chicks' cardboard enclosure where I had their food and electrolyte-water ready. 
As I got each chick out, I introduced it to the waterer, then placed it on a newspaper with feed scattered on it.  When all 26 chicks were out, I watched to make sure they were eating and drinking.  It's really amazing to see that God has created them with the instinct to look down and peck for food on the ground from the day they hatch.  They were readily eating the scattered feed; soon they were pecking at the waterer and finding the water on their own.  I set the Mason jar feeder (left corner of the box) on a piece of wood to keep it up out of the shavings.  By scattered some of the feed on the piece of wood, the chicks were attracted to peck at it, and from there they took the next step--pecking in the feeder.
Here's one of them positioning himself right between the feed and the water!  I love watching them skitter around like funny, fuzzy little bugs, and I wish I could get a video of them to post.
Here's another who has just taken a beak-ful of water and tossed his head up in the air to let the water run down his throat.  These chicks will grow up to be buff, black or red.  I think there's an example of all three colors in this picture, from left to right.  Time will tell!
Of course I had to check my ducklings after I got the chicks settled.  They're much quieter than the chicks, and when I first came into the brooder house with the box of chicks, the silence that greeted me made me scared to look--but the ducklings were fine!  I'm just used to the noise of 2 dozen peeping chicks instead of the silence of 13 ducklings! 
Here's a close-up of the ducklings.  I may sound a bit British here, but all I can think of to describe their little bills and webbed feet is "cunning"! Their bills are actually flexible at this stage, and sometimes the ducklings sort of curl the tips up, like wrinkling their noses!  Yesterday they were a bit clumsy and waddly in their movements, but today they hop quickly on both feet at the same time.

It's going to be a busy few weeks, as fast as these little guys are eating and drinking up their food.  As soon as they're big enough not to drown themselves in a regular waterer, I'll switch to something bigger and less labor-intensive.  But meanwhile, it gives me an excuse to check them every couple of hours and spend a few minutes watching their antics.


  1. Sooo adorable, wish you didn't live so far away. I'd love to hold them. Boys helped me plant parsley and chives today--I'm trying chives under the apple tree--they say it helps keep some insect pest away. We'll see.
    Thanks for posting all the pics--I really enjoy your blog. Love you! :)

  2. Barbara, chives will also be pretty under the apple tree! You could even make Waldorf Salad and put some chopped chives in it. Let me know if it works on the bugs, and I'll try it, too! Thanks for your encouragement--I love you, too! I definitely hope these Muscovy ducks like flies as much as we've been told they do!


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