I think our ducks are going through their awkward teenager times right now.
They’re starting to lose their down and I even see a few pinfeathers coming in. (Sorry for the picture of duck poop, but you know, that’s part of this whole experience.) We took them out in the grass on Saturday, but it was a bit too cold here yesterday, so they stayed inside all day. Despite The Boy’s pleas, I’ve nixed playing with them inside; they’ve just gotten too stinky and ready to poop on the floor. When it’s warm out, though, they can head out for a very supervised run around the side yard.
I’m really ready for them to be out of the house, but it won’t be warm enough at night, even with a heat lamp, for at least another week. At that point, they’ll move into the shed for another couple of weeks while we (by we, I mean Peter) finish up the duck house.
The plan is for the duck house to mount on the side of the existing shed. It will include a nesting box, a ramp for them to get in/out of the box, a buried water trough with a spigot for cleaning and saving duck water for the garden, and a duck run that goes down under the nesting box and along the rock wall.
The Boy and his daddy dug the holes for the posts one evening this week. This child LOVES his shovel and digging holes. He’s obsessed with the duck house, or as he likes to say, “The Big, Giant, Little Duck House!”
Pete’s been finalizing the layout (with help from The Boy– all the help he can take, I imagine).
The nesting box is framed and actually has a floor and maybe walls on two sides, and a couple of cattle panels are up. Those will get chicken wire on the inside, and the whole thing will get a lid for protecting the ducks from anything that can climb the fence or drop out of the sky. Eventually, I’ll paint all of it so it doesn’t look like an eyesore.
I’ve done a little research on landscaping around poultry houses, and I think I can make it both pretty and practical. The key is picking things that ducks can eat without getting sick, which also provide them some predator and sun protection. I plan to plant some black eyed Susan vines to climb up the trellis and give them some shade, some nasturtiums to do similarly, and maybe some sunflowers, as well. It’ll depend on my space and whether the north side of the pen gets enough sun.
I’m so ready to plant and dig it’s not even funny; I’ve been hoarding bulbs that go on sale at Aldi.
Generally, it’s not my style to buy the cheap bulbs at the grocery store, but they were there. I’m really excited about the peonies, which can be super expensive; they may not do well, but at about $1.69 per package, I figured I’d take the gamble and only be out a couple bucks if they fail.
I also put in my perennial order at Romence Gardens, and expect that to arrive on May 2. It’s become an annual tradition that I order a few hard-to-find things from them. This year I forced myself to only order things I’ve ordered before so I can get some repetition going in the garden and carry certain colors through the whole thing. I can’t wait to document how all of this looks this summer!