Up until now the chickens have been living in their new semi-completed coop, and the ducks had been living in the old coop on the side of the house. J decided to turn the old coop back into a tool shed, so the ducks were then moved into a separate small house made from scrap wood and the shed was reclaimed. To let them stretch their legs during the day our temporary solution was to lead the ducks into the garden enclosure where they could swim in their kiddie pool.
They very quickly trashed the enclosure, ate all my nasturtiums and lemon balm, and turned the wood chip ground cover into a big mass of duck poo. *sadface* It was also becoming a big deal to have to herd the ducks back into their house every night (sometimes they cooperated, sometimes not) plus make sure the chickens were secured. It seemed to make sense to combine the two into the one large coop and get back garden enclosure back. We also got some snow this week and thought having all the birdies together might help them keep warm.
A few mornings ago we woke up to snow in the yard! I went down to let the chickens out and they weren’t sure what to think of all the white stuff. In the pic above Flip takes one peek out the door and thinks “No way am I going out innat stuff.”
Also, notice the raccoon prints on the wall beside the door? EEP! We have been securing the chicken hatch every night at dusk when the chickens head inside, and it appears that during the night those sneaky raccoons are trying to open the door to get at some dinner. This freaks me out pretty bad, and hearing about the other chicken massacres happening on the island doesn’t make me feel any better! So moving the ducks in with the chickens is also in hopes that we can keep all the birds safe in one location… the duck shack would have been pretty easy to breach, but the coop is fully secured once we have locked the doors. We hope to start raccoon proofing the enclosure in the spring, though mink proofing the enclosure is probably impossible (those things can fit through a hole the size of a quarter!)
^ The chickens discuss their options inside the coop. Notice how we now have two cockerels? Flip and Butters have both grown into very pretty roosters-to-be, but haven’t started crowing yet (apart from some weak 4:30 in the morning squeaks). We really hope to be able to keep these two to lead the flock, but we will have to see how much noise they make. Butters has a pretty impressive comb!
^ Scully also debates whether to go outside. Look at her adorable muffs!
^ See the black hen on the floor to the right? That’s Britney! Her head feathers have all grown back in and she looks great. On the very far right side of the frame is Squeak up on the stairs to her loft. I say “her loft” because every night when they go inside all the chickens perch on the roosting bars with the exception of Squeak who sits at the top of the ramp to the loft and keeps everybody from following her haha.
The duckies seem happy to have a larger area to run around in, and the introduction was totally painless! I expected at least some quacking or pecking, but everybody seemed fine about being roomies.
The ducks have taken over the floor of the enclosure, which means we have to re-jig things a little. Ducks are sooo messy! I opened the door to the coop this morning and they had knocked over the waterers and the entire floor of the coop was like a mudslide. Plus, they ate all the food while the chickens presumably stayed out of the way on the roosting bars and in the loft. We will have to find a way to have water readily available but not in a place where the ducks can hog it all or knock it over. We may build a separate enclosure on the floor of the coop for the ducks to sleep in, or maybe find new locations for the food so the chickens can reach it from higher up. It’s all a learning experience.