On Thursday, winds from the west blew the smoke away. Rains on Friday and Saturday cleaned the air. Sunday we could breathe again, and yesterday we were back to our blue-blue summer skies. Fall is in the air. The evening and morning chill has us wearing sweaters once again.
This is my second experiment at having a hen hatch and raise ducklings. It goes rather well, except I do notice that there is a communication gap. Baby chicks are born understanding chicken language. From the moment they hatch, they understand their mother’s calls for danger, shut up and be still, and here is something good to eat. Ducklings do not understand chicken language. So when their mother hen is screaming frantically that she has found something good to eat, they look at her with blank stares, wondering what kind of crazy has overcome their mother.
Despite the language gap, the ducklings adore their mother, especially at night when they get to sleep underneath her warm feathers. I doubt that the reverse, having a duck raise chicks would work. The first time she took them out to swim in a pond, the chicks would all drown.
These ducklings would also suffer if they went for swim. Their feathers are not out yet, and they are not waterproof. If they had a mother duck, her waterproofing oils would coat them and they would be fine in a pond, but a mother hen has no such oils, and so to keep these ducklings from finding the pond and instinctively going for a swim, I have them confined to a hoop house. Once they are feathered out and water proof, I’ll let them out so they can swim to their heart’s content.