Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ducks

Buddy and BD are two male Muscovy ducks that are the last of 8 that were the original ducks that were bought. 4 males and 4 females. In the first year of their life in early December they were attacked one night by coyotes who killed one of the males and all the females. It broke my heart at the time and I still dislike coyotes. I know they were doing what coyotes do, but why my ducks??!

By the summer, the 3 remaining males were not getting on too well so one was sold to be companion to a Toulouse goose and that worked out fine. The remaining two stayed here and are inseperable. They lounge around and are large and slow moving, preferring to stay in the shade and snooze than wander around like all the other ducks.

Muscovies don't quack. The males give a sort of soft hiss that sounds rather like a large dog panting. To those who don't know them, it sounds agressive but they are far from that. When I come home, they see me and start hissing and wagging their tails like little dogs. Its so funny to see.

I noticed the other day that Buddy has become rather pale around his eyes. These ducks have strange growths around their eyes and beak called caruncles which are usually bright red. After a little research it turns out that these ducks are prone to anemia!

Each evening Kit, the horse, is fed sweet feed which consists of oats and grains and corn mixed with molasses and the other birds have access to scratch mix, a similar concoction without the molasses. The ducks come waddling over to claim their fair share and stuff themselves with it given half a chance. Unfortunately it isn't high in protein, unlike the 18% feed which they had been eating previously.

Also Buddy had a great time eating mice (yes, I know ewwwwwwww) but the barn was full of them and he was doing us all a favour. But the mouse population got out of hand and poisoned bait had to be used to control it (there were hundreds, literally, of mice caught) so the ducks mouse entrees were no more. It seems the lack of protein in his diet caused the anemia. The solution? Tinned dog food. So now, without a dog, I'm off to buy dog food then ensure the happy ducks get back to their rosy glow of health once more!

Technorati tags: , ,

4 comments:

Mary said...

This is a beautiful duck, Jeanette. I had no idea ducks could be carnivorous, or I imagine it is just these. I love that green eye against the red around it. I would make a beautiful CP sketch.

Jeanette Jobson said...

These are very large ducks Mary and often called geese. They love to eat insects and in fact are recommended in Canada as environmental mosquito control. If they don't have enough protein, they become anemic. And diminishing the mouse population in the barn helps a little.

Maureen said...

Jeanette,

Fascinating! I love your description of how they greet you when you come home by hissing and wagging their tails like little dogs! And I'm very surprised to learn they are carnivorous too.

I've just recently discovered your blog and enjoying it a lot. I've also recommended your blog for BlogDay - a bit late since it was August 31st - but better late than never!

Kind regards,
Maureen

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thanks so much Maureen, I'm glad you're enjoying your visit to my blog. And thank you too for the recommendation for Blogday.