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The Rouen Ducklings Arrive
The Rouen ducklings arrived today. We purchased the ducklings from Metzer Farms, in California (www.metzerfarms.com). We also purchased a "starter kit", which consists of the heat lamp, the watering trough, and the feed tray, which is the long red thing with holes in it. Since we have so much land and a large pond, we thought it would be fun to raise some ducks. The Rouen ducks look very similar to Mallards, except that they were bred over time by the French not to fly. So, unlike Mallards, the Rouen ducks will not fly away, so we will be able to enjoy them for years, hopefully.
Metzer Farms indicated that they ship extra to account for any possible loss, so they sent us 13 instead of the 12 that we purchased. However, all 13 arrived in good health. I read that immediately before hatching, the ducklings absorb the remaining yolk, which provides them with sufficient food and hydration to sustain them for 60 hours after hatching. They were sent on Monday via Priority Mail and I picked them up at the post office early Tuesday afternoon. I had to dip each one's beak in the water trough to introduce them to their water source and they all immediately began drinking water. When I offered them food, they all ran away from me, so I finally held one of them and put some food on its beak. It immediately realized it was food and began eating out of my hand. As soon as the other ducklings saw that one of them had found a food source, several of them came running over to my hand to get in on the action. In no time, they were all eating and drinking and eating and drinking. All they seem to do at this age is eat, drink, and sleep. Sounds like some people I know.
Anyway, here are some photos and a video of the ducklings. They are only two days old. I'll add more photos as they grow.
Here is a video of the ducklings enjoying their first food and drink after arriving:
The Rouen ducklings are now one week old and I am amazed at how much they have grown in just one week. Take a look at the photos below and compare them to the photos above. The little white dots that you see on the ducks in the photos below are little water droplets, like "water off a duck's back".
Here is a video of the one week old ducklings:
Here are some photos and a video of the ducklings at two weeks of age:
Here's a video:
Here are some photos and a video of the ducklings at three weeks of age:
And here is a short video of the ducklings at 3 weeks of age:
Here are the ducklings at 4 weeks of age. You can see that they are starting to get adult feathers. In one more week they can be released from their pen. I expect that they will head directly to the pond. I can't wait to see them swimming and running around the property.
Here is a short video:
The ducks are now five weeks old and big enough that they should be safe from the hawks. A few days ago I opened the door to their coop and they are now free to roam the property. They are very cautious about venturing very far from the safety of their coop and at dusk they return to the coop for the night. Each day their comfort zone seems to expand a little farther, as they begin exploring the world around them. Here are some photos and a video. If you look closely at the first photo, you can see a Great Blue Heron in the distance, by the pond:
In the photo below, you can clearly see the Great Blue Heron checking out the ducklings, as one of the ducklings keeps a close eye on the heron, while St. Francis keeps watch over all of them.
Here is a short video:
The ducklings are now six weeks old and pretty well feathered out. We will not be able to tell the males from the females until they are about four months old, when the males will begin to get their colorful feathers. Here are some photos and a short video:
And here's the video:
I'll post some new photos and videos when the male ducks get their colorful plumage in a few months.
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