Saturday, May 2, 2009
The first grade classrooms at Eugene Field Elementary School in Springfield incubated duck eggs and then cared for the baby ducks by letting each of the first graders have a "sleepover" with a duck. Today I met with one of the first grade teachers and a few of her students to pick up the ducks to take to our farm. The girls were sad to see the ducks go, but I promised I'd email pictures of the ducks on our farm and write the class a letter about our farm.
The ducks were filthy when I picked them up because they had been in a plastic tub and slid all over the muck on the bottom, so they took a bath first. It was hilarious to watch them swim and splash around in the tub.
For now the ducks will be staying in our dining room. Because they have been handled by kids every day and are used to living in people's homes, we are going to wait until they are a bit older before we let them run in the chicken coup and surrounding area.
Last night was a rough first night with the chicks. The garage was cooler than we expected and five got a little beat up and trampled as they all huddled under the heat lamp. We took those five out and kept them in the bathroom. Josh held and blow-dryed each of them (on low), we fed them a little sugar water and they are all doing better today. We are still keeping those chicks in "the infirmary" until they are a little stronger. We bought additional heat lamps and spread the chicks out more by using our dog crates. We moved the whole operation into the basement because it is supposed to be in the 50s for the next several days.
The Rhode Island Reds are three weeks old and starting to get their feathers, but the rest are only 1 or 2 days old. We are still researching the best way to integrate the different aged chicks, the slightly beat-up chicks, and the ducks once they are all old enough to be outside.
New setup in the basement:
We had to put cardboard boxes all the way around because they can squeeze through the openings in the crates. The green tub is the "infirmary."
Chicks in the infirmary:
They could all probably go back in with the other chicks except for the one with missing feathers. I can't believe he made it through the night. We are waiting until they are all well before we integrate them because they will be picked on too much if we move them individually.
Ducks in the dining room:
They are eating all-purpose poultry feed and hard boiled eggs for now. Talk to us in a couple of days and we'll let you know how the duck poop / smell issue is going. If the weather improves they may go to the garage.
Always happy Ben: