At long last we have our whole flock together in feathered harmony. No longer are we living in fear of the owl or going to the yard, craft room and playhouse to feed them all. The ducklings, now a month old have just moved in with Mr. Drake who is four months old and he is a proud and happy drake with a purpose again. No more moping about for him!
The chickens are two months old and seem to have developed a good hierarchy. There’s always some kind of commotion in there. Especially one of the Buff Orpingtons who will randomly flutter across the coop in a frenzy for no apparent reason. She is the same chick who would escape the brooder and is always trying to get through walls instead of doors so I think it’s safe to say we have a head crazy chicken in the flock. Here she is pecking at the mesh to get to the food (instead of going through the chicken door that’s RIGHT next to her…).
The coop was installed on what must have been the stormiest Sunday of the year. Jeremy from Dare2Dream farms who built the coop drove all the way from Lompoc. He was undeterred by what appeared to be “a little drizzle” and we were anxious to get the coop so we proceeded in spite of the weather forecast.
This picture doesn’t show the severity of the storm at all. Rain was coming in sideways and hard! As you can see I took this from the comfort of the house through a window:
When all settled down though we had this beautiful coop! It has a nesting and roosting area for the chickens, a shelter underneath for the ducks and two large runs that can be open for them to intermingle or closed off to keep the ducks and chickens apart. The duck run has a little tub for swimming, we will upgrade that to a big swimming trough once the lady ducks are fully water safe. The chicken side has a chicken water fountain.
It wasn’t quite ready for them to move in right away. Dan spent a couple of days leveling it and digging a trench around the perimeter to recess hardware mesh in case of a digging predator. We put wood shavings in the coop and best boxes and a combo of shavings and mulch in the runs.
At long last we brought everybody up and it’s such a relief! At first we kept the ducklings in a small coop just outside with their heating pad. They would never sit on it though, they would go to the closest corner to Mr. Drake and coo at him. Likewise he had no use for any of his space except to sit and swoon at his ladies.
After a week or so we put them together and kept an eye on them until we were sure all was fine. He is always on guard and watching after them. We moved the heating pad into the wooden nest box in the duck shelter so they can all snuggle up. It’s been COLD outside! A couple days later we opened the door to let the chickens in with the ducks and they seem to be doing fine too. It was actually the ducklings that snapped at the chickens vs the anticipated other way around.
Currently they are all out there feasting on some overripe pumpkins and having a ball. I could watch them all day, they are hysterical! Maybe I’ll set up a chicken cam someday.The ladies have discovered the ducks heating pad here
Although it’s not the free range rotating pasture set up I had imagined it’s what will work for us now given our predators. We plan to set up the fencing still so we can let them out to roam and eat grass when we are home.
Stay tuned to get more scoop from the coop