Surprise! Quack! Quack!

About a month ago, I walked into Nice Farmer/Lawyer's Guy's office and said, "OK...so I'm going to ask you a question, and no pressure or anything, I understand if you can't or don't want to, so feel totally free to say no, but, ummm....would you like to split an order of ducks with me?"

Poor man--he probably said yes purely out of relief that I wasn't asking him to rob a bank!  

The minimum order from the hatchery I chose was 10.  Originally, he got eight pretty Buffs, and I got two Indian Runner Ducks--one fawn and white, one blue.  However, when they all got here, I decided that having six poultry would be bad luck (particularly when I could so easily have seven) so I asked to take one of the Buffs and he generously let me keep one.

IMG_0867Sweet Husband agreed to all of this only after I promised he could name them.  However, when he picked up the ducks from the post office today--I had a work obligation that sadly prevented me--he immediately started texting about how cute they were.  I believe he is completely enamored of the ducklings.  

And the naming thing?  Well, in the end Sweet Husband could only come up with one name that he liked--Kaki, after guitarist Kaki King.  So, the Buff (the slightly darker yellow one) is Kaki, the Blue Runner is Macy (Gray) (the grey one), and the Fawn Runner (the almost white one) is Ella (Fitzgerald).

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Why ducks, you ask?  And, in particular, Runners?

Two words: Squash bugs.  

Far as I can tell, ducks are good for three things--eating, eggs, and bug control.  I don't like to eat duck at all, so my goals were the later two.  And, Runner's, according to the internets, are average egg producers and excellent foragers (read: squash bug killers).  If they take down our mosquito population a notch, that won't hurt my feelings either.  (And actually, we caught little Ella making her first kill tonight already!)

They will live with the chicks eventually.  This is a teeny bit controversial amongst fowl-keepers--ducks are messier and wetter, hens prefer to be dry--but with careful management, it works for many people, and I think we have a good plan for letting everyone live as it suits them best.

Welcome little quackers!

As a chicken update, the girls have moved from their little brooder box to a bigger pen on the floor of our shed.  It's extremely ghetto--cardboard boxes taped up to the sides of a dog x-pen--but it's giving them a lot more space to roam and scratch.  It's also taken a little pressure off of us to get the coop finished rightthisfreakingsecond.  

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They're actually starting to look more like chickens and less like fluff balls.  They're now feathered out enough that they spent a good chunk of the evening outside with me today without getting cold. 

And the coop?  Much closer to finished than when you saw it last.  Much closer to finished than even this picture shows.  It now has walls and even doors with latches.  All we need now is a roof and some fencing!

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