Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Like Ducks to Water

From egg to table ready in ten weeks!  I'd been meaning to post updates on the progress of our ducks but time has flown and they now reside in the freezer.  With a hen as a mother, they had to learn to swim by themselves and they took to it ... well, like a duck to water !

Almost as soon as they could waddle, they would dabble about in their drinking water and we gave them ever larger receptacles to play in.  The video above is of them still in their chicken tractor nursery.

They moved to more spacious accommodation and benefitted from a large fenced area to safely free-range within.  They got the lid of a child's sandpit to swim in.  The delightful commentary in French is supplied by our 9-year-old neighbour, Camille.

The intention never was to let them onto our pond.  We've read too often how ducks generally trash and mess up any pond they're put on but we were keen to see them on a larger expanse of water and couldn't pass by such a photogenic moment.

After about thirty minutes of fun, the ducks would climb out.  We got in the habit of putting them on the pond once a day and, in the end, they would get out and return to their paddock all by themselves, only needing one of us to close the gate the next time we passed by.

We're going to re-evaluate and re-design the duck raising infrastructure for next year.  We need to have a water supply close to their enclosure to allow frequent changing of their bath without having to cart heavy watering cans and buckets about and then use gravity to take the duck-poop-enhanced dirty water to our potager.


DOT said...

Re: your last post on scything, I was reminded by Andrew Graham-Dixon presenting a programme on Russian art that scything plays a significant role in Tolstoy's Anna Karenin. Section 5 in Part III is devoted to the art, it representing, in Tolstoy's thought, the ideal of man engaged with the land in honest toil as opposed to the frivolity of the courts.

Renovation in Galicia said...

Do you know what breed your ducklings were, twelve weeks seems great. Will try to find out the author of The Lesson.
Ireland is everything we remembered it being, but better. Veg all doing well except the carrots, bad year so we are told.

Stuart and Gabrielle said...

Hi David,
You'll remember that the first part of the mural on our house wall that Alastair painted was of a man sharpening his scythe and it seems to be in the style of Soviet socialist realism!
Simon F, my scythe instructor, is currently involved in the filming of Anna Karenina and he has this quote on his website: "As Levin says to his brother after a day's mowing, in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina You can't imagine what an effectual remedy it is for every sort of foolishness."

And to the Irish retournees: we were told they were Aylesbury, renowned as big meat birds but this term seems to include any large white duck, so I'm not sure if ours were truly pure breed. Best of luck back home in Ireland and please let me know if you find the author of The Lesson