The ducklings have reached the stage of life that I can now definitively tell whether they are boy or girl ducks.
Man-Farmer was hoping for all boy ducks.
For one specific reason only…no eggs.
No eggs would mean that there would be zero possibility of any more ducks in his future.
I had to burst his bubble today.
I can now tell for certain that out of the six ducklings that were born on our farm in July, that three of them are male and three of them are female.
I can tell that there are three boys by a few specific things that I see just by lookin’ at them…
- They are bigger than the girls
- They are darker in color than the girls
- They have sprouted a curly feather on their tails.
I have no idea why the curly feather trait evolved in male ducks. But that is indeed the best way for amateur-duck-raising folks (like me!) to tell if they have boy ducks.
See that one curly feather on his tail?
It’s super cute, isn’t it?
Do you see it?
The females are smaller than the males, their colors are a bit more subdued, and there is no curly tail feather.
Our ducks are the offspring of a brown Khaki Campbell duck (female) and a white and tan Indian Runner drake (male). The ducklings are brown like their mother was (Patty, who has since died) and they stand tall and erect like their father. We don’t really know who the father is. We initially had three male Indian Runner ducks, but with the disappearance of one the day we were to leave to go see Harry Potter in Florida, we are left with two. Any of the three could be the father of the ducklings. Their uncle is Patty’s brother Selma. I say her “brother” because I bought them from the same bin at the farm store when they were a few days old. He’s still around. I think being a babysitter has been somewhat daunting to him. He’s always been a bit aloof, but seems more so these days.
The ducklings are proving to be quite comical, just as their elders have been. One of the females (who we thought would be Alexander Quackington, but who has now been named Alexandra Quackington) loves to let out this loud laugh when we approach the group. It’s a loud “QUACK-QUACK-quack-quack-quack-quack-quack-quack” and it sounds EXACTLY like someone cackle laughing as loud as they possibly can. I chuckle myself every time I hear it.
Man-Farmer does get a kick out of it (I think), but he really does not at all like the ducks.
They are useless and messy and stinky and he tries to avoid them at all costs.
But just look at them!
Aren’t they just the cutest little bugaboos?!
They still like to sleep with the chickens at night in the chicken coop.
I’m sure as they grow in age that they will not want to go inside at night, just as the other adult ducks have shown to us. They instead will stay in the big barn stall with the pony and the goat.
And once the girls get mature enough, they will begin laying eggs in random spots around the barnyard. The chickens will seek out a hidey hole to lay an egg in. A nesting box or a nest they have created in a cozy dark spot in the barn. Not the ducks. It’s more of a “squat and pop out and get on with your day” event for them.
So, they ducklings who are now grown-upish ducks, are as follows…
the boys (drakes)-Artichoke, Bilbo, and Otis
the girls (ducks)-Bambi, Butterbeer, and Alexandra Quackington.
The elders are Uncle Selma, and possible dads Charlie and Monty.
I shall leave with you with this cute picture of Milkweed the kitten. She has lovingly taken over our house and sleeps wherever she likes, including the dining room table.