Healthy Lifestyle Ideas

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Welcome Rouen Ducks !

Note to self: "Stay away from The Tractor Supply Store this time of year!" They have baby chicks and baby ducks in February! I stopped by to pick up some duck food and bedding for my two Pekin ducks and heard the irresistible "peep, peep, peep". I couldn't help myself. I looked with the full expectation of walking away and not buying anything "I don't need anymore ducks". But low and behold they had a shipment of black and brown ducklings with a sign that read "Mallard or Rouen". I asked the saleslady which one they were, 'Mallard or Rouen' and the she said 'They're Mallard".  I was so excited. I've always wanted Mallard ducks on the pond near my house so I bought a male and female.  Later, after bringing them home I was researching Mallard ducks on the internet and discovered that I'd actually bought two Rouen ducks, which are a domestic breed that was developed to look like a Mallard. I was a little upset because I had bought them with the understanding that they were Mallards and not another pet duck for my back yard. My backyard is just not big enough for more. My Bermuda grass is about gone and its starting to smell like a chicken pen back there as it is. "I'm taking them back" I told my kids. They responded with a resounding "NO!!! You can't take them back now."  

Above is a picture of them taking their first bath after coming home from The Tractor Supply Store.  I had to admit they were cute and I didn't want to take them back, but I did call the store to tell them: "These ducks are Rouens and not Mallards. Mallard ducks can fly and migrate whereas these Rouens are a domestic duck that have lost the ability to fly".

The above picture shows some of the wear and tear on the Bermuda grass in my back yard. Its quickly becoming a muddy mess. It's caused by me constantly walking to the pen to clean it each day. 

But one good thing has come from having the Rouen ducklings around already and that is the Pekin ducks are now interested in the pond for the first time at the age of 10 months. I was determined to correct my mistakes this time around and get the new ducklings on the pond as soon as possible. My Pekins have NEVER shown any interest in the pond and stay only in my yard, swimming out of a plastic tub each day. When I took the two Rouen ducklings to the pond, the Pekins were very inquisitive, following along and watching. Seeing the baby ducklings in the water was what they needed to feel safe about the pond, I guess. Above is a picture of the Pekins drinking from the pond for the first time and then a few minutes later... 
Gertrude's on the pond. Evie followed and they enjoyed their first bath in the pond. I was so happy. I put their food bowl near the water's edge and have left their normal plastic tubs near the house empty to encourage them to stay at the pond all day. 

Below are the female Rouen on the left, and male on the right. At one week old, they're just a little bigger than the palm of my hand. I'd hoped that the two female Pekin ducks would foster the baby ducklings, but the Pekins won't let them anywhere near them. So I keep them close by me at all times. When I need to be inside the house, I put them in a large open container that's deep enough so they can't jump out. And if the weather is nice, I put them in a secure outside cage.