The Duck Sagas: Mabel and Maddie
Mabel and Maddie have been with us a year. I totally forgot their duck-versary. Which I should have totally remembered because once again, my niece was visiting and it was the two of us who rescued them a year ago.
Once they reached sexual maturity – about October of last year – when I assume they were 6 months old (my guess has always been they were “Easter ducks” that were dumped when they got too big and messy – they are clearly hand raised) – I’ve gotten about an egg a day each from them. These get scrambled and fed to the dogs. I usually do a big batch and refrigerate and freeze until needed. This week, suddenly no eggs. None. From what I’ve read, I think we are looking at molting-season. Which would explain the fact I have more feathers than eggs each morning in the nesting box.
We will have to see if they are as prolific this winter as last – they rarely missed an egg day – even with the shorter, colder days. But they were young then, and we all know how enthusiastic and energetic we were in our teens. LOL
Pool drama. I bought them a huge pool early in the summer, which they shunned. See why here. But even after I remedied that situation, they rarely used it because it was too difficult to get in and out of – the sides were just too steep. Domestic ducks cannot fly, not even well enough to get out of the pool.
So I went back to the smaller one. Which they rarely used, either. Why? Because I thought it should stay in the “duck yard” adjacent to my veggie garden and their coop. They thought it should be in the main yard, where all the action is. Finally, a few weeks ago, I moved it to their desired location and you can see the results.
Back to my niece’s visit. I had to drive her home and since I was only going to be gone for two nights and I was taking the dogs with me, I figured I would leave the ducks out. They hate being cooped anyway and I thought I’d risk the predators – I’ve seen absolutely no raccoons in this neighborhood (unlike my last neighborhood where they ran like gangs of marauders through the street). We do have a Great Horned Owl, but these two can spot a bald eagle so high up, I have trouble seeing it, and either freeze in the grass or move into the bushes. So it was just easier than hiring the pet sitter for such a short time. And the cats are perfectly fine for two days – the litter boxes not so much – but the cats themselves, I think they enjoyed the house to themselves, especially after a month of non-stop company coming and going.
Anyway, when I got back, it was clear the ducks were traumatized by being left alone – I tried to explain to them being left to find their own way to the nesting box was not the same as being abandoned in a city park pond. But for days they followed me around, hung out by the patio door or the back door and generally moped. If I were a decent person I would have bought them mealworms (horribly expensive!) but instead, I bribed them with corn flakes, cilantro and bags of bolted lettuce from my brother’s garden. They came around.
So that is your yearly duck update (ha! I didn’t realize I had so much to say about them). If you have any duck questions, let me know. Between these two and my first flock, years ago, I’ve researched about every concern you could have.