Posts in Chickens & Ducks
The chicks at 10 days old

The chicks at ten days old. The first ten days of keeping chicks is quite straightforward. They're too small and too sleepy to do or want for much. It's basically check their food (they eat a lot of chick crumbs) and give them clean water (they will poop in the water they've no self-control). 

But now they're getting leggy. They want to play and flap about. They can jump and they're inquisitive.

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My Stories: The males of the flock

I didn't deliberately set out to create a girls only chicken run. I thought cockerels looked glorious, strutting about in the sunshine. Chest puffed; proudly looking after his harem. 

In fact, I thought if I did have a cockerel it would be the noise issue, the early morning crowing, that would convince me not to have one.

With drakes this wouldn't be an issue. Because their quacks are softer, though no less urgent, than the females. A constant wack-wack, wack-wack as they walk about rather than a QUAAAACKK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK of the more rowdy females.

But with six years of keeping ducks and chickens you learn a few things.

Like, a cockerel doesn't just crow in the morning. It crows all day long. 

But, it turns out, the noise a cockerel makes can be the least of your worries. They can cause no end of damage to your hens if they're feeling a little amorous

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Summer evenings means avoiding the hedgehogs

Ok, so the pros of chicken-keeping in the summer is that I can just pop on a pair of flip-flops, walk out the back door and Get On With It. 

In the winter I have to wrap up, pull on wellies, put on a hat and find the second glove from the pair that my dog has wandered off with. And the floor in the utility gets muddy oh so quickly.

But the summer time means I get bitten by night flying insects (and day flying). I think I currently have about twenty bites on my left leg alone. 

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The Story of a Hen and her Ducklings

Wincey the chicken was broody. She had been making quiet cluckling sounds for a few days and I'd been crossing my fingers that this meant she was thinking about becoming a mother again. But now she was refusing to come out of the nesting box. 

This was good news. We'd recently lost some of our ducks and only had one left. DuckFace had the company of the chickens but would love someone to go swimming with again. I knew, before Wincey became broody that we'd try for some ducks. Specifically Indian Runner Ducks. The comical and beautiful ducks that don't fly but walk upright, like penguins.

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My 14 Duck Keeping Tips

For five years I’ve been watching ducks, literally, shake their tail feathers. As we inherited them with our house we’ve had ducks longer than we’ve had chickens, our cat and our dog.

Sadly, we no longer have the original trio – Vanessa, Jemima and Neville. We actually currently only have the one duck. Her name is DuckFace (not as pretty a name as the originals!) and she is the last of the quartet of ducklings we had four years ago.

Over the five years we’ve had a total of ten ducks. It sounds like we’re a bit careless with them – eight have died, only one survives and one we gave away. But in the beginning the adults ducks were practically wild. They were used to fending for themselves and refused all offers to keep them safe. They thought we were the dangerous ones. And by doing so they left themselves wide open to the fox.

We’ve learned the hard way how to keep them safe from predators.

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