Ducks Demand Their Mud Back!

The last week has been nuts. No, seriously. George worked a 21-hour shift last Monday, and it totally messed with our Circadian Rhythms. Both of us are prone to insomnia, and so we had a pretty wacky sleep schedule going for several days after that. It’s been exhausting. Frankly, we were kind of thinking about having a weekend “off” – whatever that means around here, because there are always minimum chores that must get done. But, winter is fast approaching, and so we realized we had to get some items done on the to-do list. There was some downtime, though, I am happy to report. Also, George has a new appreciation for the BBC series Chef!, of which I was already an avid fan.

Click on any photo to embiggen

The major project we had to accomplish was improving the duck’s outdoor portion of their housing. Ducks adore mud, in ways I never realized until becoming the caretaker of this flock. If there is an opportunity to create a mudhole, they are going to seize upon it. And so they did, as you can see in the “before” photo.  This meant we would have really dirty ducks, and dirty eggs, too. Even though we have nestboxes lined with clean straw available for them to use in their house indoors, there are always a few jokers who like to lay outside. In the mud. I suppose it is what they’d naturally do in the wild, so I shouldn’t be so annoyed with it, but I am. They have luxurious nest boxes! Why would they not use those? But I digress.

We bought a yard of pea gravel from our local landscaping supply (their last yard of the stuff, I might add!) and went to work. Well, mostly George went to work. Between my asthma (which is severely triggered by cold air) and my legs not cooperating with me very well of late, I was only able to scoop some with a one gallon bucket, but he did most of the work with a shovel, as you can see.

Of course, the past two mornings, we’ve gone out, expecting that we’d find the plethora of duck eggs all laid neatly and nicely inside the nest boxes. Instead, we’ve found…none. Yes, zero. Which is disheartening, of course. We were getting 12-18 a day! We are hoping it is just the shock of their new, cleaner outdoor flooring that has caused a temporary interruption, and they will resume in a few days. Of course, we have no shortage of duck eggs – we have many dozen in our egg fridge! So perhaps a brief intermission is not a bad thing right now.

There was some extra pea gravel, and so George worked on another project while I walked the goats on pasture. Our entry door into the chicken coop frequently ends up with a big mud puddle in front of it, which can create a slipping hazard (and has, on more than one occasion). So, he framed the area right in front of it in, and it is now also adorned with pea gravel. (We’ve become huge fans of this stuff!) It will make things a lot easier in the winter, too, because when we go through a melt/freeze cycle, there was often an ice slick to traverse, which should no longer be an issue.

It’s difficult to wrap my mind around it being October already. I’m going to be speaking on Using The Web To Promote Your Farm at the American Dairy Goat Association Grand Adventure 2011 Convention in Grand Rapids, MI, on the 18th, and it’s coming up fast! It’s been awhile since I’ve had the need to create a presentation, but I’ve certainly done it plenty in the past. I love that I can create it within OpenOffice Impress – did you know that there is a free office software suite out there? You might want to check it out. I’m not paid to endorse it, I’m just a big fan of Open Source software, and OpenOffice is one of the best. I figured it’s worth mentioning for anyone not already aware.

Well, I’m off to eat my lunch! Hope everyone is having a good Monday. 🙂


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One response to “Ducks Demand Their Mud Back!”

  1. Terri Avatar

    I enjoyed the weekends update and the photos!

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