The Gender Ambiguous Young Duck.
We are optimistically calling her Victoria, which is the name of the street where she was found wandering as a stray. Yup, a stray duck. She was unclaimed in the middle of a shelter full of dogs, so we brought her home and stuck her in a quarantine coop. She is a lucky duck, and we are lucky that she happens to be a Muscovy (same breed as the new ducklings) and that she showed up a few days after we brought home our orphaned ducklings (not really orphaned, but taken away from their mom at their last home).
Although we really did intend on keeping her quarantined, Miss Victoria (see how I did that? the more I refer to her as a she, the more likely it will become) was very lonely in her new home so we let her out to waddle the farm with the chickens after a few nights with us. She must have heard the ducklings cheeping...because she waddled right over to their coop. As soon as they saw her, they rushed up to the fence making excited, adorable cheeping noises. They hadn't done that with the chickens that walked by. Victoria seemed just as happy to see them, so we cautiously let her in with them. They took to each other like a long lost family. It was probably one of, if not the, cutest event to happen on our farm yet.
It has now been over a week and they still follow her just like they would their mother. She takes them to their food, then for a drink, and then into their pond for some duckweed (who knew that ducks go absolutely crazy over the duckweed that grows rampant in our pond?? guess the name might have tipped us off).
We had friends staying with us for Thanksgiving and the girls redid the duck house while the guys spread seed over the pastures and burned and demolished stuff.
So much food...so much EARS!
Seriously, ears. These are pissed off ears during muzzle training at a canine first aid workshop.
And this is "I will kill you in your sleep" face during the eye bandaging portion of the workshop.
After a few afternoons of tractor work, we have a cleared area to turn into pasture!
The ducks are going to be so excited when they have some more feathers and we let them out to that duckweed filled pond...
Fattest Chick Interlude:
Speaking of getting fat, Preggers 1 and 2 are steadily gaining. Because of our new farm/letting pastures recover/Zeb leaving Thomas without company/goats being too whiny to keep Thomas company without the ewes also there....we are expecting winter lambs. Not ideal, but with heat lamps and cozy barns we will manage.
Grain recall training...their recall is better than 99% of the dogs I work with.
We planted blueberries in the new hill beds and Nathan put landscape cloth around them with some fallen leaves over top. It is so much prettier out there than it used to be! Those chickens love scratching around in the driveway and luckily it has been a long time since any of them went out the gate.
The turkeys, on the other hand, are...dumb. I am not quick to label any animal "dumb" and I really wanted to give the turkeys a chance at proving themselves. I am led to the dumb conclusion by several supporting arguments.
1) 9 out of 9 of them will fly over a fence, and on average 7 of them will fly back out. The 2 (and not always the same 2) that are left will have *no clue* how to get back out. They will spent hours running the fence line, panicking, until one of us helps them find their way back out. Two of them flew out onto the road the other day and then couldn't find their way back onto the farm.
2) They forget where their coop is every.single.night.
3) Possibly related to point 2, they forget where their food and water is constantly. They'll be out running around and will run towards us like they're hungry...when we lead them back up to their coop (again, where they sleep and eat every.single.night), they act like "OMG THIS IS AMAZING THERE IS FOOD HERE!!! AND WATER!!!! WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS EVER BEFORE EVER EVER!!!".
4) They never hide when predators fly over head. The chickens race for cover even if there is a plane flying overhead. I'm pretty sure an eagle could land on the ground with the turkeys and they wouldn't even notice.
So yes, turkeys: very entertaining. very dumb.
Speaking of ..um...not so brilliant...Nathan has started foraging for chanterelle mushrooms. This makes the dogs very happy since it means lots of bush whacking:
This also makes me happy until Nathan failed on his very first mushroom find! When you get a text at work that reads "ate poisonous mushrooms", it in't usually a good thing. Nathan accidentally ate a cousin of the Chanterelle, and luckily didn't experience the nausea that it could cause. I'm just glad he hadn't decided to make a mushroom omelette or something for me...