Ducking the Hen Party

It’s Sunday! The only thing better than any old Sunday is a sunny one, and today is one out of the box: clear, blue skies with just just a gentle puff of a breeze to flutter the spring leaves.  

It’s the sort of day that makes you lie back in your seat, kick off your shoes, and survey the Homestead through half closed eyes (all the better for filtering out the half-done jobs and tasks-for-another-day). That is, of course, once the animals have been fed and cleaned out, and Geraldine has graced the milking stand.  There are, however, two other chores that must be undertaken every Sunday without fail or…well, we just don’t want to even contemplate what would happen if they were ignored.

First, the chooks must have their weekly treat bowl of cat food.  Before we started sharing our space with hens, we had no idea they were meat-eaters. That all changed the morning we witnessed a small mouse scamper through the fence bound for, we suspect, the smorgasbord of delights (in mouse terms, at least) that is the compost bin. Clank, our oldest and wiliest chicken resident, moved like lightening, catching the sorry rodent’s tail firmly in her beak before the Delias moved in for the kill and a rather gruesome tug of war ensued. This partiality towards meat is something we now use to our benefit, mashing 10g of  Diatomaceous Earth into each weeks ration of 200g of good quality cat food (we steer clear of chicken varieties). It’s a great way to keep internal parasites in check naturally

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and if they don’t like it, their putting on a very good show.

So, with the chicken’s otherwise occupied, the way is clear for the ducks to enjoy their bi-weekly treat of a clean pond.  You’d think animals who so obviously prize pristine bathing conditions, would put more effort into maintaining reasonable water quality.  But, no; the phrase mucky duck is entirely apt. 

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Felicity waits for Hilda, the previous diver, to exit the pool before executing her trademark forward 3 1/2 somersault pike

Maybe it’s all a deliberate ploy: the grubbier the water prior to Sunday clean-out the more glorious that very first clean-water dip. Or maybe we’re just over- thinking things again.

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13 thoughts on “Ducking the Hen Party

  1. Cat food is also good for when the chooks are moulting, apparently, because of the high protein content. I haven’t used it, but I’ve read that more than once. I think they’re talking about the dry kibble though. The fact that you’re mashing the DE into the food implies you’re spoiling those birds with canned stuff. No wonder they like it.

    I’m fascinated by the duck pool. The removable insert is brilliant, but it’s set into – a hole lined with bricks? A box?

    And oh, that sunshine you’re sitting out in…that’s a thing of the past for a bit round here…my laundry was out on the line all day and came in almost as damp as when it went out, thanks to the dank, damp, greyness of November in my corner of the North.

    • Of course we’re spoiling them…and they still imply with their grumpy disposition that we are the worlds worst carers and that EVERYONE ELSE would give this treat to their poultry every day 🙂
      After many many prototypes we came up with this model of “pond” that works for us. A plastic bin inside a brink lined hole. Without lining the hole you end up with a bog (and the danger of falling into the mess while cleaning – don’t ask and, a pond any larger without a stream or whatever on your property takes a huge amount of back breaking work to clean twice a week, For the moment it’s working and that’s success enough in this place 🙂

  2. I love watching our ducks when they get fresh bath water. They get so excited even though they have a creek running through the property that they can play in any time they want.

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