"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Duck and dive...


Look what we woke up to this morning... :)
Thick snow covering down to the lower level of the
mountain ridges
(by the way, the bentonite we added to the
dam has definitely helped the dam to retain

water and to prevent it from drying out
completely as it did previously!)
The sun is shining now and the reconfigured solar panels are performing perfectly at our current outside temperature of 6°C with no over-voltage occuring whatsoever - the power input at the moment is 710 watts - and I'm sitting at the dining room table with my back being gently warmed by the roaring, crackling Rosie behind me.

Life is good.

But, on to today's post...

The ducks that adopted us a while go are happily waddling round the property - munching on all the available insects (and my strawberries when they are in season) - and run up to us quacking madly for their grain twice a day when we go out to feed the alpacas.

But, I noticed that when I scattered their grain on the ground in their nighttime enclosure I was also feeding what they didn't finish to all the wild birds, not to mention the field mice, who have, naturally, taken up residence nearby.  Very nearby.  Like in the straw I have given them for bedding...

I then tried feeding the ducks the grain out of a container - but ducks aren't the tidiest of creatures when it comes to filling their stomachs, and as much went into their stomachs as landed on the floor.

More wild bird and mouse food.

Also, on a couple of occasions I noticed that they gobbled the food so quickly that they almost choked.

So, Google to the rescue.

Searching for "Duck feeders" brought up this pic.
http://poultrykeeper.com/duck-keeping/
beginners-guide-to-keeping-ducks
I quite liked the concept, so I've adopted it :)  On that same site, I also found out that ducks have no tear ducts, and they have to put their entire heads under water in order to clean their eyes.  I didn't know that.

I understand, especially in summer, that the submerged food could start fermenting in the water, so I am making sure that I feed them only as much as they wolf down at one sitting right from the start ;)  After all, their raison d'etre at Foothills Organic is to also to eat as many insects as they can find...
Duck food in a bowl of water
I gave them their first meal in the bowl (a re-purposed plastic ice cream tub) full of water and hung around to see if they would get the gist.

No problem.  They ducked their heads straight into the water and had a field day.
Yum, yum
Isn't there one last speck...
Because the food isn't dry anymore, they're not choking on it either.  In fact, the one just wouldn't stop and spent an extra 5 minutes making sure that there wasn't one last scrap that he could find...

The wild birds are only managing to scrounge the few seeds that float on top of the water, and the field mice - well, there's nothing for them, so they'll just have to relocate back to the fields.

You gotta love it when a plan comes together :)

22 comments:

  1. It's a lovely feeling when something so simple works on all levels to make things run more smoothly. Now if only chickens were amphibious I could adopt this idea for their feed as we are just dealing with a rat again - eek!

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    1. dreamer - Rodents are my worst!! I'm thrilled that this is helping to keep them out in the fields where they belong LOL

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  2. That is a great idea! 2nd Family that lives next to our property, have a couple of ducks (that adopted them as well!) and they have had trouble with mice. I will pass this along to them! Thanks!!

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    1. 1st Man - Glad you found the posting useful. Nothing nicer than sharing what you learn, and what works, in order to ease someone else's journey.. :)

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  3. I didn't know about the lack of tear ducts on ducks. Learn something new every day! Ducks are so much fun to have around - great source of simple entertainment.

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    1. Vicki - that they are, as well as full of... healthy manure for the garden lol

      Yeah, I also learnt quite a bit from that website.

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  4. I love it when something so simple is the answer

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    1. Sol - And it couldn't get simpler, could it... :)

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  5. Replies
    1. Linda - T'is very clever. I wouldn't have thought of it LOL

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  6. My wife puts out seeds to attract wild birds. Her mom and she are both interested in bird watching.

    We had a peacock come out of the woods and live here once, but no ducks. I'd like to have some, though.

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    1. Harry - I don't mind feeding the wild birds. But not at the expense of the ducks.

      Get some ducks - they are seriously cute naimals to have around :)

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  7. Wish that would work for hens, but they'd have to learn to use snorkels!

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    1. Quick - Bwaahahahaha - I'm picturing chickens with a mask and snorkel...

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  8. Good on you, Dani, for going off and doing your homework. I can't tell you how many blogs I read where the blogger poses problems and then asks readers to give answers when just a bit of Google/Bing could turn up countless suggestions/solutions. There's one where he's asked twice, I've answered/gave links twice ... and he still has no clue. You, on the other hand, have GOT A CLUE. You go girl. Glad the ducks (and you) are happy quackers now.

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    1. Kris - That's not me. If I have a problem then I HAVE to find out the solution. Not to do so is a waste of my grey matter.

      Oh yes, we're all very happy quackers - for another reason too - but you'll have to wait until my next posting to learn more... LOL

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  9. Hi Dani, I have just returned from a Small Holders event here in sunny Sussex. Where i have been studying all the livestock on offer to us keen country and self sufficiency lovers. My husband and I were very taken with the ducks, Then I come home to find you've joined my site as a follower, how nice.

    Jean x

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    1. S&P - Thanks to you for visiting my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment :)

      Oh, to be able to visit a smallholders event... Sunny Sussex over there and snowy Western Cape over here LOL

      Ducks - they're worth every penny they cost. I can highly recommend becoming a duck owner :)

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  10. Dani I am sure Rosie has been walking over time.

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    1. AB - If it's as cold were you are you'll understand totally how hard she's been working - all day yesterday and she was lit at 3.00pm today. Nice and toasty in here... ;)

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  11. Interesting feeding method. I keep chickens and ducks, they are in movable tractors so not free-roaming. We try to use feeders with sides to minimize scattering, in fact the chicken feeders are now gallon plastic jugs with a hole cut out that is flat on the bottom and rounded on the top, there is not much wasted food on the ground. But I started also giving chickens part of their food everyday wet, I just fill quart yogurt container ~1/3 full with water then pour in dry food until it soaks up all the water. I put it in flat dishes in the yard under their runs, they act like it is the best thing ever. If I fed them that twice a day perhaps I could dispense with the dry food, I don't know. I haven't been feeding wet food to the ducks, I could try putting grain in water for them but don't know what kind...? I have been feeding them organic pellets without soy or corn but the company just quit so now I am thinking of mixing my own food...?

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    1. Hannah - Welcome - and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Minimizing scattering is critical to keeping the local rodent (field mouse) population "unfed" and this method of feeding them seems to be working :)

      We purchase a ready made duck food mixture - looks like a mix of crushed corn, sunflower seeds, oat seed and another seed. They wolf it down :) I haven't seen duck pellets here.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)