I finally let the chicks and ducklings out of their shed to free range today.
Because I have lost so many hens, ducks and rabbits to foxes, polecats and goodness knows what else I have been extremely careful with these new ducklings and chicks. So they haven’t got 4 acres – they have 10 square yards with a hedge and a duckpond – and a big shed. So it’s not exactly free range!
The first thing the ducklings did was eat some grass, then they ran round and round quacking excitedly, they are so delighted to be outside. They haven’t found the pond yet – I moved their water bowl outside and they are dipping chunks of bread in it.
They keep out of the way of Doris (head honcho hen) but seem to get on fine with Grace (grey hen) and the chicks. They are very inquisitive, poking their beaks into everything, trying different plants – and spitting some of them out! They like plantains but not burdock or feverfew. When they find something distasteful they quickly dunk their beaks in the water bowl. It’s lovely to see them outside. They keep together – if one runs after something – the other quickly runs too.
Grace has wandered off for a dust bath under the hedge – she seems very relieved to be out in the fresh air with some grass to eat.
The chicks are exploring, occasionally cheeping to one another when they find something interesting – or get too far apart. They have most of their feathers but are still fluffy whereas the ducklings have all their feathers.
Doris has followed Grace and gone off for a dust bath and left the little ones in peace. They are finishing off the bread and scraps. When Doris comes back to the water bowl for a drink, the babies keep well out of her way.
It’s so lovely to see them all outside.