Monday, April 4, 2011

No Room at the Coup

First day after delivery by the post office

At the time of my last blog I had just received my order of Sebastapol geese and ducks and since then they have kept me running. I made the comment to The Man that I didn't remember this much time and work when I got my last order of 12 geese years ago. Then I remembered that my gander, Zeus, had taken the whole bunch and raised them himself. I had taken the little guys outside on the second day I had them and Zeus just marched in and took over and I never had to worry about them after that. (See my profile picture with Zeus) He raised all twelve and didn't lose a one of them. Zeus had a thing for me anyway so probably thought I had hatched out the babes myself. At any rate the 4 geese and 4 ducks that I have are running me ragged. They play in the water (no matter how I have it set up to avoid this problem) and soak all the bedding (which I have to change at least once a day). Maybe I was wrong about that diaper thing. Because I have been playing with them to get them to imprint on me  they scream their stupid heads off when they can't see me.  I can hear this all the way to the house. They also are growing amazingly fast.    
one week old
   I swear the geese are an inch taller every time I go out to the coup and that is several times a day. I take them outside for an hour at a time, weather permitting, and they follow me all over the yard. I have to be very careful not to step on one. The ducks are not as friendly but the geese want to be held and snuggled and are very curious about everything. The ducks just want to mess in a mud puddle. Being the momma duck I can't let them do that quite yet but I have taken them into a warm bath tub of water for a little swim. 5 minutes seems to be the limit then I spend 55 minutes drying them off  with paper towels and a heat lamp so I can take them out to the coup again. Ya! I guess I'm busy. I love them though. They are so much fun.

You may be wondering why there isn't any room in the coup. A week after I got the geese/ducks the feed store called to let me know my order for 6 chicks were in. I set up another box under the heat lamp and went to get them. My original plan was to let my broody hen have a chick or two. She had been setting on an unfertile egg for at least 20 days at this point so I put a chick under her and took the egg. She seemed baffled at this but willing to keep the baby under her wing. She also kept sitting in the nest so because I was concerned the baby wasn't getting any food or water I started changing it out with another chick every 12 hours and letting the chick that had been on duty eat and drink. She was showing no sign of getting off the nest. I finally decided she was stupid and put all the chicks back in the brooder and took her out to the chicken tractor to try and break the broody habit.  She fussed and clucked all day and that night I had to put her back in the coup so she would be safe from predators. At this point I had two large boxes on the eight foot table with various babies, a broody hen under the table on the floor with food and water, a flock of chickens in the other half of the coup doing their roosting thing with two out of the three silkies that were trying to go broody perched on separate perches. Any extra space was taken up with supplies like chick grit, chick food, extra water, a carry box for taking the water birds out for a stroll, fifty pound bags of layer pellets, 2 bales of bedding chips, scratch, light bulbs, poultry dust, assorted animal pharmacy items, an egg gathering basket, two portable dog carriers, etc. All of this in an 8 X 12 ft. building.

Last night I went down to check on every one just before going to bed. That stupid hen had found her way to the top of the table and climbed into the box of chicks. She sat on all six of them all night and is very proud of herself. This morning I moved her and the chicks to the dog carrier under the table along with food and water. She and the chicks seem happy so I guess I will just keep an eye on them.                                          


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