|Posted on February 24, 2013 at 5:00 AM|
I can't believe how quick time flies. Almost eight months since I last blogged! I thought I would make a pretty good blogger, but I think I over estimated the dedication a good blogger should have.
The breeding season has been one of mixed experiences. The extreme weather here in Queensland put paid to my Call duck breeding programme and the Runners didn't lay as expected. Twelve ducklings managed to hatch out and eight are drakes. They are nice drakes. Tall, fine and slender. There will be a lot of birds that need to be moved on soon.
My Pekins, Bumbles and B made for a great couple. B hathced out 8 babies and proved to be a really good mum. I lost one little Pekin to a fallen tree bough in one of the windiest nights I can remember.
These little Pekins are only nine weeks old in this photo. They are as tall or taller than their tall mum and are starting to put on a little size. I am trying to grow them out slow, but Pekins are little piggys.
|Posted on June 15, 2012 at 7:25 PM|
Due to other committments I couldn't stay all day at the Caboolture Show. I didn't want to overface myself with preparing too many birds, so only Bumbles and B made it to the show. The cards went in Bumble's favour this time. Bumbles took out Pekin - Old Drake, Champion Pekin and Reserve Champion Heavy. B was best Young Duck.
It was good to see so many different birds at this Show. There were of course, the beautiful geese; crested Romans, Africans and Toulouse. There were guinea fowl and magnificent Turkeys of blue, bronze and white.
|Posted on May 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM|
The morning arrives cool and brisk. The birds are carefully put into thier travelling cages. Brookfield is only a twenty minute drive from home, and we arrive, as usual, just as morning is breaking. Charlie, (SEQWA Vice President, not Charlie the muscovy.) is already at the Poultry Pavillion going over the numerous pen numbers and matching exhibitors. My birds are penned as more exhibitors greet each other.
The day progresses well and the score cards keep rolling in. The young white drake pictured above managed a second place. I got so busy with the score cards that I forgot to shoot photos of my winning ducks. My little young drake took out Champion White Call and Reserve Champion Bantam. A tiny, mallard coloured, young duck took out Champion Call, AOC and Overall Champion Call...and Champion Bantam.
B did well!
Bumbles did OK too, although he doesn't look very enthusiastic about his day out. This is how he sleeps, with his head resting on the ground. This seems to be a trait peculular to Pekins. I think their bodies are so vast they are just unable to tuck their heads under their wings.
I certainly love to take photographs, but I find it most perplexing when trying to photograph ducks in their pens.
My fawn and white runners, Maybell and Fred. The handsome couple won Champion Breeding Pair.
All my AOC Runners were placed with my young drake taking out Champion Runner AOC.
|Posted on May 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM|
Mothers Day heralds an urgency in me for sorting my ducks . Not that too many ducks ever get given as presents for unsuspecting mothers, but rather, the Brookfield Show is exactly a week away and now, I am in panic mode.
I have a pen that is just the right size for a 4m x 6m plastic tarp to be laid flat on the ground. The sides are secured with zip ties to the existing fence. The cleanest, freshest bedding straw is sort and spread thickly over the tarp. The idea is to stop the show prospects from drilling in the mud, as ducks do, and this, I hope will keep them clean until show day. Their little, blue plastic clam shell is cleaned and bleached and filled with fresh water up to twice a day for the next three days. Ducks are very good at cleaning themselves, which is great for a time poor poluka like me. Poluka is a term used by my ducks to describe me, their person.
The runners have been caught and closely inspected for any mites or lice. Touch wood, all is clear in the creepy crawly department. My runners always look bright and shiny, but after just their first day in their show prep pen, they sparkle! I have penned 16 runners and I will make a final decision on Saturday before the show as to which ones will be travelling to Brookfield.
Unfortunately, only two of my six Pekins will be at the show. They are all of good weight, but their feather condition has let them down. They haven’t quite finished their moult, so they look a little scruffy to say the least. I have hopes for my young duck. Her name is B. Just B. She has come from the wonderful R.N.B. Waterfowl Stud. Her feathers are soft as silk and she has a creamy yellow tinge....just as a Pekin should. The older drake, Bumbles is not in great feather condition but I am hoping he will do OK just because he is an outstanding bird.
This afternoon I will attempt to catch the calls who are entered into the show. They are quieter than the runners and easier to catch and handle. I think their quality is very high even though I have kept most birds for different attributes. You never seem to be able to get all the right points on one bird. You will get the tiny bird with the longest bill or the shortest bill with very long legs or the boat shape body with a big boffy head. So not many show birds amongst them, but just the same, I am proud of them.
|Posted on April 13, 2012 at 8:25 PM|
You can’t buy loyalty they say,
Well, I bought it though, one long ago, winters day
You can’t buy friendship, tried and true
Well, just the same, I bought that too.
I made my bid and on the spot
Bought love and faith and the whole damn lot
Of happiness, so all in all
The purchase price was pretty small.
I bought a single trusting heart
That gave devotion from the start
If you think these things are not for sale,
Buy a brown-eyed, blue dog, with a stumpy tail.
Always by my side, rain, hail or sunshine. My shadow.
My heart is shattered. Angel was only a medium, smallish size dog, yet, I feel the grief of a hundred tons of spirit. After all, the sadness of letting go has so little to do with earthly issues, like weight and form, or human and pet. It’s a matter of the heart and it's a heavy and unbearable sadness to let go of something so sweet, so precious, and so connected to me.
|Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:45 AM|
With the breeding of ducks to a "standard", comes the down side of letting go of the birds who don't quite fit into my breeding programme. It happens every year. The ad goes on to the internet and I await the emails of persons interested. The lovely little birds who just don't quite fit the bill, get penned in the "for sale" yard and await someone who comes along to take them to a new home.
I am always apprehensive at this time and when the interested parties visit, it's an an anxious time for me.
This weekend was a little different. A couple showed interest, and after an email and quick telephone call they arrived when they said they would. Cathy and Rob were the ideal "customer". Keen to learn. Rob asked many questions about the ducks and I was assured the little birds were going to a lovely home; 200 acres in the Brsbane Valley. By the end of their short visit with a few ducks in a box, I was happy indeed. Rob and Cathy also share with me, an interest in gardening of all sorts, horses and the environment.
I am sure I have not seen the last of Cathy and Rob.
|Posted on March 25, 2012 at 5:05 PM|
I have been a keen gardener for a very long time. However, it's only been in recent times that I find myself holding onto the ideal of growing our own food and lessening our footprint on the planet.
My vegie patch is an old disused, and falling to bits, round yard. Those of you who have ever trained horses will know what this is. But it is exactly that; a round yard. The posts and rails have become a trellis for choko, ceylon spinach, passionfruit, winged beans, scarlet runner beans, cherry tomatoes and a native wisteria.
With my yet limited knowledge of vegie growing I have been able to produce an abundance of snake and bush beans, tomatoes, the sweetest corn I have ever tasted, perpetual spinach, chillies, sweet potato and pumpkins.
My vegie patch has been completely pesticide and weedicide free since it was first dug. Fortunately, I have my own pest extermination team.
This is Charlie. Tracking down flies is her favourite pastime. She has the personality of an angel. She is the Princess in waiting!
And this is Zena, Warrior Princess. Zena was named by my daughter over 16 years ago. She has survived fox attack, eagle attack, and dog attack and has defended her subjects like no other. Zena is Queen, and she rules!
Charlie and Zena are my only two Muscovy ducks.
After a busy day in the garden, it's all about getting to bed. They have eaten their fill, swam to their hearts content and then the grooming starts. It's infectious. After the grooming the wing flapping.
After the wing flapping, they start to nod off. But don't be fooled. Ducks sleep with one eye open!
...and this is Angel. Angel by name, angel by nature. My constant shadow; a heart beat at my feet. She mingles with ducks and they pay her no heed. She manages to sneak an egg every day. I turn a blind eye. She is sixteen years old and age is taking it's toll. She walks slowly and lays down often but is never away from my side.
|Posted on March 17, 2012 at 1:25 AM|
My very first blog. As you probably have guessed, I love ducks. Not to say that I don't love any other animal. In fact, I am passionate about all animals. I must admit that birds, for me, are a constant source of amazement and entertainment.
I am a keen amatuer photographer, so my blog content will be filled with images that I hope you will enjoy looking at as much as I have enjoyed taking them.
So, welcome to my first day as a blogger!