Why we chose to move our ducks back up to the house

Moving Livestock

Pendleton Family FarmApril 20, 2021

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Living on the farm means you are constantly tweaking things in order to keep not only the livestock safe, but alive. Moving livestock is part of that plan. Here’s what we mean. You can also learn all about our ducks here

Why we chose to move our ducks back up to the house

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WE LOST TWO DUCKS

PREDATORS

In a matter of two weeks, we lost two ducks. Not to predators you may think of first…coyotes, bears, raccoons, etc. No, snapping turtles. We knew we had turtles in our pond, but had no idea the size. How are we sure it was turtle/s? There are no signs of feathers anywhere on and around the pond…no where, the ducks refused to get in the pond (only around the sides for washing and drinking), and finally our neighbors told us of the story of a huge turtle they saw a few years ago while fishing here. 

DUCK HOUSE

Another issue we were having was that the ducks would not go into their duck house at night and there was no way to make them. All they had to do was swim away from us and it became a cat and mouse game. This comes back to being our (my) fault. I never trained them before we moved them to the pond to actually go into the duck house at night. 

SWITCHING GEARS

I was a wreak when Charlotte went missing. After breaking down in tears, both Scott and I searched our entire land around the pond to find any signs of what might have happened to her. We set up the trail cam and still didn’t see anything on the grounds. A week later, I was walking out to feed the ducks when Daisy made a distinct sound…like she was telling me all about what had happened. Before I reached them, I already knew. Greta was gone. 

Ducklings Week 3

OPERATION: MOVE THE DUCKS BACK

After Greta died,  I became angry. Not just at the snapping turtles (they gotta eat too), but more so at myself. I should have been more prepared. So, we moved the remaining 4 ducks back up to the house. The duck house was moved, along with putting up chicken netting around a nice size area for them to get used to. I’m training them to now go into their duck house, providing them a kid’s swimming pool with fresh water everyday, and I’m hoping we catch the turtles to relocate them to a more suitable environment. 

Poultry Fencing

So far they are doing really well. I know in my heart they love the pond way more than up here, but until we get the predator situation under control, they can watch the chickens all day 😉

Duck house set up on farm

To the left of the duck area is our compost pile and the chicken coop is now next to that as well. 

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    GRIEF PURCHASE

    That Saturday after Charlotte was gone, I told Scott that I wanted more ducklings. Yeah, yeah, I know. Off I went to our local Tractor Supply and picked up two Khaki Campbell ducklings and then a week later, added two more, but this time went with a local breeder and I’m so glad I did. Christina from Firefly Farms is just incredible. 

    They are “members of the Livestock Conservancy and the APA and are working with 13 different breeds of rare ducks. We show our ducks and work to promote them as the farm production breeds that they were developed for.” We chose Anconas (a great layer duck with spots and speckles in different colors. They are the Dalmatians of the duck world). They are absolutely gorgeous and we are beyond excited to have them here. 

    Two Khaki Campbell Ducklings

    Fannie & Henrietta (Khaki Campbell Ducklings)

    ducklings playing in the pool
    ducklings in the grass

    Polka & Dot (Ancona Ducklings)

    The four new ducklings are around 2-3 weeks old and are housed in a brooder in our garage (just like before), but spend warm days outside with their pool, food, and additional water. I lucked out and found a child’s play yard so I don’t have to sit with them while outside. It keeps them contained and I can go about tending to the garden and they’re not stuck inside the brooder. I move the play yard around everyday so they have a fresh patch of grass to nibble at. 

    PLANS

    The adult ducks will stay up by the house until the turtle situation is under control and my hope by then is that they will be very used to going into their duck house each night. When we know everything is safe, we will move them back down to the pond. We will not introduce the new ducklings to the established flock unil they are fully feathered and can protect themselves in the pecking order. 

    Two brand new baby goslings are being added to our farm soon. We’re anxiously awaiting their arrival and will eventually be used as guard geese for the flock. Purchasing from a lovely local friend named Tammy Carper. Roman Tufted and Brown Chinese is what we have chosen. 

    This is all a learning curve for us, but we are learning as we grow. Live, learn, adjust, and continue. Happy day friends. 

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