Farm Animal Update
It’s been a bit since I did a little post about my animals. The ducks are doing a great job learning to quack. It’s pretty stinking cute. Essentially, you don’t know for sure on the sex until they are fully grown. I got nervous recently because both Lucy and Ethel got a patch of bright blue so I was worried they might be Ricky and Fred. Turns out with Mallards that both male and female have the bright patch at first. They will fully molt their feathers twice before their final mating season colors arrrive. Of course the male mallards are bright blue/green while the females are more brown.
Another way to tell the sex with Mallards is by the beak color. Males typically have bright yellow, while females have a more brown/orange bill. Ours definitely have a darker color, not at all bright, at least not right now.
Finally, when the ducks reach the age between two and four months (which ours are) if they are males, the ‘sex feather’ should be visible. Females do not have a sex feather. This is described as a small upwardly curled feather near the tail.
At this point in my blog writing, I thought to myself, hey I’ll go outside and look at Lucy and Ethel right now and see if I can notice a sex feather.
While I was out with the ducks, I was a teeny bit careless with the doors to their house. There are two doors. I opened one and then went over to the other side and opened that side. Meanwhile (surely Lucy’s idea) they ran out and took flight down the hillside. Well at this point I made a little phone call to Tom to let him know that I needed his assistance outside and without the dogs. He simply replied ok. I love the way he doesn’t ask for more details and just hustles right on outside to me.
Unfortunately, Rita took great offense to the ducks being out. Apparently this is her hillside. One duck took off and Rita sprinted (which chickens running is very funny) towards the other duck to start a fight. Squawking and quacking and feathers flying. They get separated and all that does is give Rita more space to take another run at her. Finally the ducks ran into the goat pen. Their final mistake was running into the goat house, where we could corner them. They ran into the barrel chicken roost for safety. Tom picked up the barrel to return them to their house. Halfway to the duck house, Lucy (I’m sure of it) flew out and landed right near the chickens. Betty walked off, meanwhile Rita attempted murder again.
Ethel was returned to her home as I ran to try to separate Rita and Lucy. Tom got there and rescued Lucy just as Rita started puffing up to take after Tom too. That was a poor choice.
I did hold Lucy after she was rescued to try to calm her down a tiny bit. Her little heart was beating like crazy.
For what it’s worth, I see no sex feather. I did however witness her near death experience(s). Poor baby girl. I’ll have to take out some bread later as a snack.
All of the other animals are doing well. Here’s a little family picture. Of course Rita is not currently in my good graces.
Left to Right: Betty, Maizy, Tilley, Bailey, & recently-charged-with-attempted-murder-Rita.
For what it’s worth, Rita is doing a good job with egg laying.
Betty is less enthused with laying eggs, but she hasn’t tried to murder anyone else on the farm recently so there’s that.