Boy - are we having frost this year.
Check out the layer of ice which formed in a puddle of water on RMan's trailer this morning...
|Scaallywags inivestigating this new phenomenon in|
.. that ice is roughly 1.5 cms thick! It has wiped out my sweet potatoes, and is even affecting my peas - for goodness sake!!!!
But, I love the cold :)
On to other things...
I have discovered that I am very slow on the uptake.
Very, very slow.
And I have proof positive.
I first mentioned that we had been adopted by a pair of fully grown (adult) Quacker (or Peking) ducks back in November 2013.
Well, it has taken me all this time to realise that they aren't "ducks" per se, more drakes.
No bloody eggs is how I figured it out. And given that they are sexually mature at 18 - 24 weeks...
The past (almost) year has scuttled by at such a pace - I still thought of them as ducklings. Until I suddenly thought, hang on, they've been here a while - how come they're not laying eggs? So, naturally, I Googled at what age are quacker ducks fertile.
|Curly tail feathers indicate that both of the ducks|
are, in fact, drakes!
No wonder they didn't produce any eggs.
I discovered that our two ducks, who have curly feathers at end of their tail feathers, are, in fact not ducks, but drakes.
I need some female ducks.
Our ducks have given us so much pleasure - they made us smile at how they greet us so vocally every time they see us, they've made us laugh out loud whilst watching their comical waddling round the yard and they've helped contain the insect population.
So, what's not to love?
So, the word went out. Where can I buy some female quacker ducklings?
In May I finally found a lady who lives in the nearby village of Suurbraak. Suurbraak was established as a mission station back in 1812. The land around the mission station was given to the locals by the Moravian Church and the village that sprang up around the mission station is now inhabited by the future generations of those early members of that mission. It is a very quaint village - in an extremely scenic setting. And, as there is very little work / industry nearby, it is a very poor village - with most of the villagers living from hand to mouth.
Anyway, the "duck lady" told me her duck was sitting on eggs, and that they should hatch shortly and be available in June / July.
I booked two immediately LOL
Sure enough when I mailed her, she told me that the ducklings were ready to go to their new home. We organised to collect them last week on Monday.
|Arriving at the "duck lady's" home - this was the|
view which greeted us as we stepped out of the car.
The "duck lady" (she also has rabbits) lives high on the north facing hill above the village. And has a stunning view from her front gate.
|This is the duck lady's chicken coop -|
quite cute, I thought :)
Just to the left of her chicken coop I spied our future ducklings - nestling in the grass.
|Three little Quacker ducklings catching some|
rays whilst they nap
|The duckling on the right has the black tail|
feathers - so he's a future drake.
Oh man, they were just too cute. I wish we could've taken the male, but apparently too many drakes round ducks means drake duck fights. And we have two drakes already. I hope they remember their long sabbatical and behave themselves in future...
Time will tell.As soon as we got the ducklings home the drakes were immediately inquisitive. Walking round and round, and up and down the outside of the duck enclosure - quacking, quacking, quacking...
"What is this? Oh, my, they are ducks, just like us" seemed to be the translation of all the quacking that was bandied back and forth.
In the meantime, the ducklings weren't fazed by the drakes, and whilst they quacked ever so softly in reply, they acquainted themselves with their new surroundings. I have been advised to keep them within the enclosure for 7 - 10 days - to acclimatize them to the enclosure, their surroundings and to me. And to being fed in there - that is so that they happily return to it every night ;)
|Inquisitive drakes outside and two curious|
|Travelling from their old home, arriving at their new home,|
and having a quick welcome munch made them thirsty
|On the first night the ducklings refused to even|
inspect their shelter, and just settled down
on the straw I had place inside and in front of it.
But, at least they are under cover and protected
from the rain and wind
|This is where I found them on the second night|
- floating in the small pool made out of the
repurposed stainless steel kitchen sink that
we scored off Freecycle so many years ago
|Did she mean to leave the gate open, should I|
|Hmmm, it doesn't smell too bad, perhaps we|
should venture out...
|The drakes rushed up to finally meet and greet the|
|...and then proceeded to start nipping at|
their tail and neck feathers!
The drakes proceeded to make their lives hell for the first 24 hours. So much so, that I didn't allow the drakes into the enclosure that first night.
|Settling down (hopefully) before their insect|
|The drakes are in the front, and the ducklings|
are against the fence at the back
...and, after their forage, have even taken up voluntary residence in the enclosure together.
Peace reigns - for now. But, from what I have read, one of the drakes is probably going to have to find a new home...
And, within the next 3 - 4 months we will (hopefully) have some real (yellow) baby ducklings waddling round the farm :D