Purty Ducklings

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Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:45 am

My ducks have been sitting on eggs. Again. :/ These will be batches 5 and 6 of ducklings this year. And there's one more duck still sitting, due in about 10 days.

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Letting momma to one of the batches raise both lots in a pen. It's funny watching her fluff herself up and spread out to cover the lot of them!

Some silver appleyards in there, and the rest are runner-ish.
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:32 pm

well done!
the little yellow one up the back left almost looked like it has an attempt at a crest - you can't see it, but there appears to be a bit of fluff sticking out (that's what they look like) - I didn't start with Cresteds.... they just appeared!

the previous lot I hatched, which must have been early-ish January, I just removed them from the nest as they hatched and plopped them into a rabbit hutch type house with hay for them to sleep on - got 4 in total & they survived motherless from day 1, pretty hardy little creatures and its fairly warm still

little poopy machines.... :lol: :evil:
cute though
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:17 pm

It's certainly warm outside! Even yesterday at just a day old they spent almost no time underneath her. I was a little hesistant to give her 19 last night but they all seem to have made it just fine. Number 20 is in the brooder until it (hopefully) gets enough get-up-and-go to put out with the rest - assisted hatch.

Talking of assisted hatchings. Lost 3 during hatching -- had unzipped the shell just fine all the way around the egg, but failed to make holes in the thick rubber membrane between the shell and the duckling and appear to have suffocated. That membrane seems MUCH thicker in the ducks than in the chickens. Four assisted ducklings, three of which are looking great, and #20 above, which will get the cull in the morning if it hasn't acquired some get-up-and-go.

Half of the assists/lost were from under the duck, the other half from in the incubator. Half Indian Runners, half Appleyards. No real rhyme or reason I can come up with.

I may just have to go outside and poke at white runners until I find the one with the suspect hair do.
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:30 pm

in the incubator I lose a lot to not being able to rip that leather lining
and then even if you do help them - I don't like to pull them out - they just dry out & stick again - hatching ducklings in the incubator requires you to switch off your emotions and only save the healthy ones (easier said than done)
usually under a duck they just pop out (although I have found the odd squashed egg that looked like it should have hatched, but just didn't get clear)

but once you've got 19 or 20... that's probably enough! :lol:

I can send you more with weird hairdo's - they're ready to go to the races, with their fascinators already installed!
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:31 pm

oh, and a white Runner with a fancy hairdo is called a Bali, congrats on the first one!
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:39 pm

In the past I've lost more if I've left them under the duck. Either from being squashed to death still in shell by lead booted mum, left hatching on the nest while mum takes the half that have hatched for a run, or that darned membrane. Leather is a good way to describe it. It's tough as! Under the duck or in the incubator, you just cannot win!

Is this what you see in a crested youngster? The little red wormy thing at the end of the arrow -- rather similar to the turkey's red thing on their nose, only it's on the back of the head not the nose.

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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby sewren » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:57 pm

You are *really* making me want to get some ducks now - too cute!! :)
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:00 pm

it varies in size/shape etc - copying from the UK website for domestic waterfowl:

The crest is formed from a mass of fatty tissue that emerges through a gap in the cranium/ skull. From this, feathers grow. Crests vary from centrally placed, full crests, rather like powder puffs, to knobbly protuberances with just a few feathers; or the occasional earring when it has 'slipped'.

so yes, technically that could be a crest


the website also goes on to explain that you shouldn't breed crested to crested and the percentages you'll get breeding crested to non-crested etc and the lethal gene involved if you breed crested to crested

http://www.domestic-waterfowl.co.uk/crested.html
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:11 pm

Just did some reading - and yeah it looks to be an independent incomplete dominant gene that's lethal in the homozygous state. Going to hang onto this one for now and see how it goes. It may be going into the pot if I don't want to spend my life trying to explain genetics to people who buy ducklings off me. :) It's bad enough with frizzles, and the majority of my sales there are to people who can't keep roosters (making frizzle to frizzle a moot thing).
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:23 pm

sewren wrote:You are *really* making me want to get some ducks now - too cute!! :)


Let me try to dissuade you... :)

When they start to lay they lay their eggs ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE so every morning you have to have an egg hunt if you want breakfast. Eventually they get into the breeding season and start to actually stack their eggs in one location. But if you dare take any for breakfast they will choose a new, harder to find location the next day. If you don't take any for breakfast (or fail to find the new improved hiding place) they will take this for permission to sit on the eggs.

A sitting duck is a dangerous object indeed. If disturbed they will latch onto your leg with their beak and flap their wings vigorously. This makes it difficult to remove the leech (sorry duck) from your leg without receiving a broken arm or a rake to the eye (feathers - they're not soft!). This means that you don't approach any closer than 5m without both a shield and a stick for defense. It also means that you can't put a pen over the duck to contain her and her ducklings, which you really need to do because...

Once the ducklings hatch they only need a few short hours to sleep off the trauma of hatching. This is generally the ideal time to catch the ducklings and put them into a pen, except momma duck is now every more ferocious than before and can attack both of your arms and both of your legs at the same time. By the time you've found a second human to assist, the ducklings have become not just mobile, but darned fast and are now impossible to catch as you're trying to reach for bars of soap moving randomly at 30mph while dodging a beak that appears to be attached to an extendo neck as well as the previously mentioned wings of steel.

If you decide to forgo natural incubation and opt for the incubator and brooder, you will soon discover that ducklings are excellent modern artists, making use of any and all materials they have to hand (or beak). Generally these materials are brown and of dubious origin. Any water given to them for drinking will be dirty within 30 seconds, and within another 2 minutes will be all over the bottom of the brooder, as well as used to create works of art all over any walls or ceilings near their brooder. While 90% of this art is removable with water and a cloth, there's always that last 10% that will not come off the walls. It does not make good polite dinner conversation if the brooder was previously located in the dining room.

On the plus side, our runners and appleyards are great layers. Second only to the brown shavers. When they're not sitting. They like to sit. :/ They also seem to be disease proof. (Famous last words...)
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby sewren » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:14 pm

seatil wrote:
sewren wrote:You are *really* making me want to get some ducks now - too cute!! :)


Let me try to dissuade you... :)


Ha ha - ok, i'm sticking to chickens for the moment! :lol:
Pea (?), Martha (L Sussex), Bess (Australorp), Elsa (Orp), Petal (B'velder), Dottie (Sp Sussex), Olive (Welsummer), Peggy (W Leghorn), Gertie (SLW), Maureen & Doreen (NHB), Hazel & Tilly (SPW), Lilly & Ivy (Orps) and Silver Appleyard ducks!
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:50 am

:lol: :lol:
oh yeah, been there - particularly like the 'catching bars of soap' - they can change direction with incredible speed, I spend half my time trying not to stand on them but still catch them, without falling into 'muddy' puddles the other ducks have made - and ducks can see in the dark, so there's no point in waiting till nightfall to catch them, they can see better than we can!
generally a round up requires a shower afterwards

my family melts away when I mention I've got ducks/ducklings to catch :evil:

but they never get red mites.... major bonus! :D
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:58 am

Yeah, ducks (and ducklings) are definitely caught during daylight hours!

Momma duck is actually being really quite awesome. Not only looking after the ducklings, but has accepted a random day old chick that I chucked in there this morning as otherwise it would a sole chick in the brooder (random half-incubated nest I found). Her ducklings are 5 days old at this point.
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby seatil » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:05 am

Another hatch later, and 3 more crested ducklings! I'm suspecting one of our ducks is sporting an invisible crest as four random mutations is a little beyond the realm of what I consider probable in the random mutation department... Either that, or we have a different crest mutation that's recessive, not incomplete dominant. Anyway, the best bit... pictures :)

The Original crested duckling. Currently being treated for angel wing, but I have his best (unbandaged) side toward us. Pretty sure he's a boy:

Image

One of the three ducklings from the second hatch had to be dispatched. Every time it tried to drink it would fall over backwards and one day it couldn't get back up again, just kept falling backwards. :/ Apparently crests are associated not just with pretty hair dos, but the same gene also codes for other issues including balance.

This is the other duck from that hatch that also fell over while drinking, but managed to develop a rather odd looking technique to deal with it. It drinks normally now. It has an absolutely enormous hair do which is just starting to get adult feathers instead of down. No idea if it's a boy or girl yet.

Image

The middle fawn duck in this one is the other crested. Probably won't be much more than a couple of sticky out feathers.

Image

And this is a gratuitous photo of the whole family. Momma duck adopted the second lot of ducklings as her own, right after I sold all but two of hers at a few days old for brooder raising.

Image

I also have a theory on ducks and why they get rap for being bad mums... It's not the ducks that's the problem, it's the darned ducklings... This lot regularly walked out of the paddock where they were supposed to be with mum and lounged around for hours leaving her quacking madly at the gate for them! Fortunately they're now big enough to be kept in by the fence.
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Re: Purty Ducklings

Postby Kracka » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:54 am

Cresteds looking good!

I'll have to show you a photo of my current drake who's doing the rounds with the shows, he's got an impressive hat

I've also gotten hold of a magazine with an article about angel wing & the current theory being its a genetic tendency to get it, rather than what I'd been told about it being too high/low protein while they're growing - I'll see if I can scan it & send it to you
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