Tag Archives: Broody biatch

Where have you been?????

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Soo…. my lil hiatus is officially over! Did you miss me?? So what have you been up to? How’s the farm and kids? What have you grown lately?

So I’ll be blooging regularly again. I’ve missed writing to you and quite frankly I’m not sure why I’ve been gone so long when we have so much to talk about. Here are some highlights of happenings while I’ve been gone:

  1. Nothing

Seriously though not much has changed since my last ramble. My place is still on the market, I’ve come close to getting an offer a couple of times but their finance has fallen through. I had an inspection last weekend with a really nice couple and I’m hopeful they love it enough to make an offer. It seemed to tick all the right boxes for them and it’s what they’re looking for so I’ll just have to be patient and wait to hear from them. I’ve got another inspection this coming weekend so that’s plan b I guess 🙂  One of the bonuses to having a house inspection is that my house is so sparkly and clean, it’s a really nice feeling.

Check out the sky the other day, it looked painted after the storm so I had to take pics 🙂

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One thing that has changed is that I’ve started Geoff Lawton’s online Permaculture Design Course and totally loving it. I can’t remember if I mentioned wanting to do it here before (I’ll have to read my own blog!) but it’s turning out to be more than I hoped for and I’m seriously inspired and learning so much. I’ve had a few ideas on things to do around the place but I’m still going to move as there are too many things that just aren’t right about the place for me that even permaculture can’t remedy.

BUT I have found a new plot of land recently that would be just perfect to build my straw bale house upon. I’ve even come up with a name for it but I’m not going to share just yet as I don’t want to jinx it. And I need to sell this place first before I start looking too far ahead. I may  or may not have looked up domain names and WordPress names for this place and contemplated buying a domain for it… again… trying not to jump the gun too much hehe.

Duck update: I’m down to two – Bruce and Blondie. I had 4 for the longest time and then 3 of them did a little disappearing act but came back a few weeks later after I’d rehomed the drake (Frank) who was left behind as he was stressed out living all alone. The two girls disappeared for a week a short while later and only Blondie came back so RIP Chicken, she always was a big ole scaredy cat. I was almost a grandmother again this year as Blondie went all broody in the coop again this last month but fate stepped in and the weekend that they were due to hatch, the eggs mysteriously disappeared. I have a feeling this big guy:

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snuck in the coop and had himself a lil duck dinner. I’d seen him hanging around the house for a week or two and of course now that all the eggs are gone I haven’t seen him back. It’s also starting to get colder so that could also be why. While I love the ducklings cuz they’re so darn cute I really didn’t want them right now if I’m about to move out (depending whether the new owner is interested in keeping them of course) so while it’s sad that they were eaten, it’s also, selfishly, a good thing. The circle of life n all that.

Anyway I just wanted to pop my head in and see how you are, glad you’re well 🙂  I won’t be a stranger, I promise!

Oh haaai!

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ffffffffftt fffffffffttt ooh sorry bout that… had to blow the dust off you. Hi remember me? 🙂 Still haven’t perfected that post from my head implant yet. Can you tell? Well so much has happened since my last post. Sadly Mummy and one of the boys (Doug) were taken on the same day. I found Doug half eaten and Mummy was just nowhere to be found so I’m not sure if she flew off and got lost or was taken away to be eaten in private. So now I’ve got two boys (Bruce and Frank) and two girls (Chicken and Blondie) left. I was going to post about it at the time but I think this blog was becoming The Duck Death Blog of DOOOOOM so decided not to. And I really felt the loss of Mummy as did the remaining babies, they were really lost for a couple of days. The other ducky deaths I’ve managed to kind of shrug off but I kept hoping every morning and afternoon when I went out to the coop that she’d be there, that she was just lost and found her way home. But it’s been a couple of months now so she’s gone 😦

Just one other duck update before I tell you about everything else that’s a bit more exciting that’s going on right now… You know how I was hoping that the girls wouldn’t inherit Mummy’s super broody biatch behaviour… This week Blondie started making a particular peep that the broodies do when they’re sitting on eggs and I’ve been watching the coop but haven’t seen any eggs yet so I didn’t think that they were laying yet. She was looking a lil ruffled and manky too and low and behold on Tuesday morning she didn’t come out of the coop for breakfast and was sitting on a feathered nest lookin all pleased with herself. BUGGER!! Luckily for me as I was driving off to work I spied her out of the coop so raced down and locked the coop up to try and break her broody. That afternoon I went to have a look at the spot she’d been sitting in and the sneaky bird had half buried her eggs and there were 15 of them! No wonder I couldn’t see anything. I’m not sure if they’re both laying in that spot or if it’s just Blondie but I’ll have to keep an eye on them now dangit. But the broodiness is broken for now PHEW! Also looks like there’s been a change in leadership as Bruce has always been the boss but since the spring Frank has taken over. He’s grown up to be the spitting image of his dad so it’s no wonder. And just as big of a doofus as his dad too (although he can fly pretty well suprisingly enough!) The boys get on OK for the most part but there’s occasional pecking order reminding going on. Them getting on with their sisters is a whole other topic that I won’t go into now.

But on to more exciting news…. my house is going on the market next week! You know how I’d posted that I’d have to wait and yadda yadda, well I met a neighbour who lives a couple of properties down from me and she mentioned that she’d had a real estate agent round (who sold a place in the valley recently within a month of listing) to give an evaluation of her place and she said that he already had a buyer lined up if she was interested in selling (which she isn’t). So that spurred me on and I contacted my bank to find out what the actual payout figure is to break the fixed portion of my loan and it’s WAAAAAYYYY less that what I thought and something I can definitely afford so I’m not going to wait a year. I’m going NOW!

So lately I’ve been busy packing and painting and doing little cheap cosmetic renos to make the place look really good and the same agent is coming over this weekend and I’m going to put it on the market. Fingers x-ed that buyer is still there at the ready but if not I know it’ll get sold pretty quickly. I found out yesterday that one of the properties that’s currently for sale on my road is under offer and it’s only been on the market for a month or two so my spirits are buoyed! It’ll be great to get moving on this dream of mine and I’m keeping an eye out on the land offerings. So yay for the new blog category “New House 2.0”. SO exciting! I’m excited but I’m still trying to remind myself of the patience lesson… I’ll post some pics of what I’ve been doing next post as I’ve just changed phones and all the pics are on my old phone 🙂

Baby Duck Tales

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Hmmm so it helps if you press Publish if you want people to read what you wrote eh? ohhhh riiiight… geeez… This has been sitting in drafts without me being aware of it… blond moment! Lets get started then!

So on the 9th of January Mummy and her 9 babies appeared in the carport emerging from the nest under the house. I’m assuming that they were a day or so old by that time as it was the first time I’d seen her but I’m taking the 9th as their birthday. 9 on the 9th. They all looked identical except for one which had a slightly lighter colouring. I initially had a mini freak out not knowing what to do or what to feed them how to protect them etc as I hadn’t really prepared for their arrival (bad grandma I know!). In the grand scheme of things there’s not much I can do apart from give them food and water as I can’t keep them in the coop (Mum always flies out if I’m late in the morning) and I’m not home all day to watch over them so I just had to trust Mum to take care of them and let nature do the rest as if they were ducks in the wild. And they’re thriving! She’d taught them to chase and eat flies after the first week and they’d spend most of the day out foraging in the grass.  I got some duckling crumbles for morning and evening feeds and they loved getting the veggies in with the evening feed (which I usually do for the older ducks). They LOVE peas! Peas are like crack to these lil fellas.  It took a while for Mummy to trust me near her babies as she’d hiss at me if I got too close but she slowly worked out that I wasn’t going to hurt them and now I can even touch them without her getting narky. In fact I had to protect them from Dad at feeding time as he’d peck at them to get some of their food so I started feeding them in two separate areas which kinda solved the problem. He still pecks at them a bit when I go to let them out of the coop in the morning but it’s probably cuz he’s a cranky ole bugger.

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(this was the first day she brought them out and everyone was allowed to meet them. I don’t normally feed them in the carport but she looked so tired and hungry and I wasn’t sure if she was going to keep them under the house or in the coop so put food and water out for her and the babies there – which of course the others tried to gobble up! Click to enlarge)

One weekend when they were about two weeks old I heard a massive commotion outside and went to have a look what was going on only to spy a giant goanna in my flower bed with one of the babies in its mouth 😦 It was already dead and the goanna was in the process of trying to swallow it whole. So sad. The drake and the other two gals were all puffed up and vibrating at the goanna so I think they’d been attacking it before realising it was too late. I couldn’t look away while the goanna was eating it – I was fascinated, horrified and so sad at the same time. A very odd emotion.  I had expected snakes or foxes or even the eagles that fly around the area but hadn’t even considered goannas.

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(the babies at feeding time, still quite yellow and little feathers just starting to appear. click to enlarge)

Unfortunately he worked out that he was on to a good thing and about 4 days later I came home to find another one missing from the brood. And then about another 4-5 days later another one was missing by the time I got home from work. When I went to herd them all down to their coop for the evening lockup they were all acting really weird and I couldn’t really get them down there so I went to investigate only to find scattered bits of duckling in the coop yard. So horrible. I thought maybe it was cats or foxes as the goanna had been eating them whole. I had to pick up all the pieces and sweep out the yard before I could get the family to go anywhere near the coop. Poor traumatised things I can imagine. That one was the lighter coloured duckling who kinda was my favourite for being the oddball. I was really dying to know what colour it would have turned out to be.

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(starting to get a little paler as more feathers come in, love their fuzzy faces and black leggings! click to enlarge)

Then about a week later, again on the weekend, I could hear this banging noise on my water tanks and the ducks making a ruckus so went to the windows overlooking the tanks to spy the goanna with a dead duckling in its mouth, thrashing about while Mummy was attacking it. Not much I could do but let it eat it, such a terrible helpless feeling.

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So I’m down to 5 from the original 9 now. They’re 6 and a bit weeks old now and getting so big! Mr Goanna has taken 4 but I think they’ve gotten too big for him so he hasn’t taken one for a couple of weeks now but he’s got a new snack… more on that in a sec. They’ve started getting their feathers and are starting to lose the baby fuzz. My babies are growing up *sniff*. I haven’t wanted to pick them up but they will let me stroke their fuzzy rumps with a finger while they’re distracted and eating. Their beaks have started fading from the full black and now have whitish tips and are starting to get pink around the edges where their caruncles will grow. They still look like they have leg warmers on as most of them have black legs and yellow feet. I think I have 2 boys and 3 girls. They say you can tell by body size and also the size and shape of their legs but I won’t know for sure for a while.

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(they’ve lost all the baby yellow fuzz and only just have a bit left on their heads and backs, beaks starting to turn pink at the edges)

One thing I’ve decided through all of this is that I’m getting rid of all of them. My stepbrother has a farm about 2 hours away from me and he’s willing to take the lot. It’s a hard decision but I really only ever wanted chickens and have a plan for the orchard enclosure etc and there’s no way I could do that with these ducks as they’re used to having free reign of the entire place and would just fly out all the time. It breaks my heart to part with the babies but I’ll still be able to see them grow up a bit as my brother has promised to email me photo updates. I waaaas kinda sposed to already have handed them over to my brother but I’ve been delaying it because I wanted to see what colour the babies turn out. And I just love how they come RUNNING up to greet me, lil wing stumps flapping, peeping loudly, every time I go outside. Fair enough they think I have food for them but it’s just so damn cute and warms my heart. They will probably be going this weekend though. Which leaves me with another problem…..

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(Dad the doofus lookin cranky but he’s not, that’s Joan in the background. Mum on a foggy morning and one of the last family portraits I have)

The broody biatch Maisie, who has gone broody 6 times previously, has worked out that laying eggs under the house in the same spot as Mummy is the clever thing to do if you want your own babies didn’t she. She’s been sitting on the eggs for just over 2 weeks so I’m going to have to go through all of this all over again! Not to mention that it’s starting to get a bit colder now so it’s not great timing. I haven’t spoken to my brother about whether he’s willing to take her and the new ducklings as well as he’s already agreeing to a flock of 8 (9 if she wasn’t broody) and then to have another adult and however many babies…. And I worry about the new mum coping without the drake around for protection for the babies. That’s if any ever hatch because ole Mr Goanna has started eating the eggs that she’s sitting on!

This last weekend I was cleaning the house when I heard bumping noises coming from under the house  on her side of the house and raced out to find out what was going on. Unfortunately Muscovies are really curious birds and the whole family were all heading up to that part of the house to also have a look, Mummy and babies included. Maisie was attacking the goanna under the house but I’m pretty sure it got one of her eggs as it’s an easy feed. So I can only assume that the ducklings are safe for the time being as eggs are an easier meal to catch than lil growing ducklings. Just makes me wonder if there will be any left at hatching time as I’m sure he’ll be back for takeaway when he’s hungry again. In a way it would be doing me a favour as I can just pack Maisie up in a cat cage and take her to my brother’s farm. I’m just going to have to play it by ear and see what happens. The third option is to just catch her when she comes out and leave the eggs to cool but I’m not sure I could do that… Will just have to see what my brother says about taking more babies on!

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So all of that was written about 2 weeks ago… And just to keep you updated, two weeks ago today a fox took one of the babies and left a massive pile of feathers and a mangled corpse by the front gate so I rang my brother straight away and he came that Saturday to collect them. Initially I thought it was Maisie as it was early in the morning and thought it must have got her in the night but on closer inspection (and a check under the house) I discovered it was a baby. Trying to catch them was a bit of a challenge as they’re not hand reared birds! But they’ve settled in nicely at his farm and are all doing well. Maisie is still on her eggs under my house and I’m expecting them to appear any day now if Mr Goanna has left her any. I worry about her and the new babies safety without the rest of the flock around but I have found a new home for them all. I’ll probably wait a week after they first appear and then get the new owner to come out to collect them. I’m going to start feeding them in a cardboard box  in the coop when they appear so that hopefully I can just scoop them all up one morning and make it easier and less stressful for them when it comes to moving day. Not quite sure how else to do it but that’s Plan A.

I miss the babies a lot, they didn’t make much noise but the place feels a lot quieter without them. It’s been a week and a half since they left and they’ve left quite a gap. Which I’ll be replacing with chickens but more on that later 🙂 My brain has been buzzing this week but I’m probably giving you eyestrain with this epic tale so I’ll pop it all in the next post (and remember to press Publish this time!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to be come a *gulp* GRANDMA!!

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Yes yes you heard that right, despite not having any human offspring of my own yet it looks like I’m going to be a grandma to my featherbabies whether I like it or not. And not to the usual broody biatch who has now gone broody 4 times and I’ve managed to break it every time thank Darth Vader. No, no it’s the white duck this time and as she’s the smartest one of the bunch she’s nesting under the house in a part that is too small to crawl under and is juuuuuust out of reach of my rake. She is coming out for food occasionally but is mainly hanging out under there on the eggs so looks like in a month or so I might have some ducklings.

Completely NOT what I wanted thankyouverymuch young lady. Sure they’ll be cute and all that but I’m not going to be able to care for them properly as I’m not at home all day and the ducks roam wherever they want on my property. Their coop is too small to keep them locked up in all day and even if I tried they’d just fly out (which is usually what the white duck does anyway). So I’m sure some will get picked off by the resident kookaburras, snakes and hawks. Bit sad but I’m not sure what else I could do for them because I don’t want to take them away from their momma as she can probably do the daily care better than me. Will just have to see how it all turns out.

And for some good news! My Dad is going to build (and pay for!) a screened verandah enclosure for me! I have verandahs running full length on both sides of the house and one end is going to boxed in with flyscreen and a door so I can sit out there on nice summer nights and not be dessicated by mozzies. He’s coming over this weekend (with a trailer of mulch yay!) to measure it all up and will come and stay with me in Jan to build it. Can’t wait!! Guess birthdays are good for something after all hahah.

I got flooded in again this week as it was just bucketing down all weekend. Apparently Cooma got a record 66mm of rain so I’m not surprised there’s so much water coming down. I’m building up a nice collection of flooded river crossing photos haha.  The good thing is that I got to meet one of my closest neighbour who seems really nice. He even offered to help me chop down the big tree that is dying and in the way of my proposed orchard area so that was really great. I was working from home… and by working I mean pulling up weeds and trying to stop the bloody rabbits from digging up my flower beds. I’m going to have to look into some sort of control mechanism for them as they’re starting to be a nuisance….

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Hope your week isn’t as soggy as mine! Happy 70th post 🙂

Like sands through the hourglass…

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So this post is a bit of a duck ramble so you may wanna miss it if ducks bore the stuffing outta you. If not, read on!

So an interesting thing is going on in my newly minted duck ownership… I’ve got a broody duck. I really don’t want ducklings so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the interwebs on how to break the broody and apparently Muscovies are really broody ducks (dammit). The general suggestion was to break up the nest and routinely take any eggs laid. Well the taking of the eggs which I have been doing daily since they started laying has led to a different problem with the Snow Queen but I’ll get to that in a sec.

Maisie has been sitting on her nest for the past week and on Saturday afternoon I noticed that during the nightly feed and lockup that the broody biatch was attacking the Snow Queen for food which she has never done up until now. She only generally picks on Joan so I’m assuming it’s the broodiness and probably the fact that she’s starvacious as she hasn’t been getting off the nest all day and only comes out for food during the night feed (and then helping herself at the feeders). So I was thinking that I could break up the next when she came out for food I couldn’t get her off the nest so… I kinda removed the nest from under her including two eggs. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She wasn’t very happy about it, I used a rake as she is an attack duck when on the nest. Quite rightly too. I feel really bad about it but it just has to be done a) for the no ducklings thing and 2) so that she starts foraging and eating with the others again. Monday morning when I went to let them out in the morning she came out happily enough and I actually locked the coop so she couldn’t get back in there and she moped a bit but then went foraging with the others.

Cue me breathing a sigh of relief too early…. Yesterday morning she didn’t come out and was sitting just inside the coop door on eggs. 😦 I tried to shoo her out of the door but she wasn’t having a bar of it. I had to get the rake again. I’m hoping she associates the rake with all the bad stuff and not the person on the end of the rake. Anyway after a bit of a scuffle I managed to get the two eggs and get her out the door so that I could lock the coop up again. She hadn’t built a nest yet but I did rake out the straw just in case. I feel really rotten for her.  But she just can’t be broody, I know it’s natural and all that but I’m not having it. I’d really welcome any other suggestions on how to stop this behaviour or whether I’m doing the right thing. From everything I’ve read I’m doing the right thing but it just feels bad yknow. Hopefully I’m not traumatising her too much. Last night when I locked them all up and opened up the coop she made a beeline for it and went straight inside, my heart dropped. But this morning she came out and was acting kind of normal. No eggs anywhere in the coop though so she’s probably going to do as the others and hide them.

The Snow Queen was laying them in the box but I think she took offense to me removing the eggs every day. She started flying out of the coop early in the morning and was laying them in a box under the house where they like to hide during the day. I accidentally discovered her climbing out of the box one morning and when I crawled under to look in the box I found 6 eggs in there. Since she was busted she hasn’t laid any eggs in there and I have noooo idea where she’s laying them. I’ve tried waking up early to spy on her but no luck yet. She’s taken to flying on top of the coop in the mornings and I assume that she flies out afterwards.

This morning I got them out early (even earlier than their normal time as it’s daylight savings since Sunday) and I sprung Joan trying to fly out of the coop. The Snow Queen was already on the roof poking around up there. AND the best part… Maisie was out and about and one of the first to walk out of the coop so I hope that I’ve broken the broody. I locked up the coop anyway just in case and I’ll probably keep doing that for a week just to be sure but I’m really hoping that it stops.

Oh and I forgot to add in the last post that when the bestie and the monsters were here we also found a turtle. So that’s another one for the Spot the Wildlife list 🙂

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