The Ducks Are Three Months Old Today!

by Angela aka Farmer Jane on September 8, 2011 · 2 comments

It’s hard to believe three months have passed so quickly, but they are pretty much full grown and in the next two to four weeks they will start laying eggs. It couldn’t come at a better time since I can’t wait to bake bread using their eggs. Duck eggs are supposed to make the texture and flavor of bread really sing! I’m excited. I won’t let any of them hatch out ducklings until the spring. From what I can see of our duck clan, we have far more drakes than are necessary. We’ll definitely need to eat a few drakes this winter to give our ducks a break…the chickens too! I think the duck to drake ratio is supposed to be 5:1. We have 15 altogether and it looks like we have about 7 drakes in the group…maybe more! I’ll be watching the drakes a little more carefully now that they are reaching that age where they may want to mingle with the chickens. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t mount a chicken since the chickens are too fast for them, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t try! From what I understand, chickens are never penetrated by roosters, so if a drake were to mount a chicken it could do some damage to her. I’m not up for chicken rape, ya know!?

This is The Duke! We don’t have a formal name for him yet, but we do know he is the duke. LOL

There are six drakes in the above photo. Two of them we haven’t named yet. The four in the back left are the Baron, King Louie, Ferdinand and the Duke. In the foreground are the two unnamed drakes. The one on the lower left I’m gonna call part of our Turducken…yes he will be added to our Thanksgiving feast this year, and the other one that is mostly white in the lower right hand foreground we are keeping. I like the markings on his back even though he doesn’t have the standard magpie black spot on his head…his offspring might. In the photo is also Dottie and Stella.

On to our mystery volunteer, can anyone tell me what kind of plant this is? It currently is about 2 1/2 feet high with an equal spread, “jeanie” like slipper pods, pink orchid like flowers. The leaves are fuzzy and the underside of the leaves emit a sticky substance if you touch it. What the heck is this thing? For some reason it reminds me of the plant from the play Little Shop of Horrors!

The mystery plant is in the foreground. Here is another shot of it from underneath:

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather September 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Pretty, pretty duckies!! The duke is definitely a keeper–nice markings! You can tell which are the boys and which are the girls by their voices at this age (actually, you can start to tell around 4 weeks of age). The girls will all have a nice deep ducky quack. The boys will all have a quieter, raspy, hoarse little not-quite-quack. This should be 100% accurate at their age.

Depending on the drakes, you may be okay with as many as one drake per three ducks, especially if they’ve been raised together. However, the more drakes you have the more opportunities for one or two “favorite” hens to get picked on at dangerous levels. So a one-drake to five-hens ratio is safer.

Also, you are quite right about the drakes damaging chicken hens if they can manage to mount them. For one thing, they’re heavy and they like to stand all the way on top of the female–something roosters don’t do. For another thing their, ahem, “equipment” is spiraled and kinked and rather large as well, so that it can easily “snag” inside the girl and cause damage in that way. If they have plenty of duck hens, however, and if the chickens are faster and can fly, then you probably won’t have a problem. Do keep an eye on it though, for sure!

Great entry again. Wish I could help with the mystery plant but… that’s a very strange plant! I hope someone will sort it out for you. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. :)

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Angela aka Farmer Jane September 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Thanks Heather! I was able to tell early on when the females started to quack which one’s were males or females. However, the females are also in the habit of making that soft whispy hush sound like the males which made it a little difficult at times. One thing I knew for sure was that if I heard a loud quack it was a female. LOL I do notice a sort of natural selection with at least four of the females hanging around with King Louie like a bunch of groupies. Most of the males all stick together, but King Louie I guess is the big deal on the court. Their tails at this point are definitely giving them away too as to who is male and who is female. I love that curl!
The chickens are definitely fast and know how to get out of the way and hop up onto a high place to get away from the ducks.
As for that plant…its the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. It was so small when it first showed up, and now the stalks on it are thicker than some of my fruit trees. It’s really cool though, so it stays for now.

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