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First Time For Everything.

I’m so happy to say that my new gray Indian Runner girls have laid their first eggs! Woohoo!!!

Below is a little back story for you, so you’ll understand just how proud I am of these eggs:

Previously, I only had male Indian Runners, and well, they were getting a little lonely seeing all the other animals pairing up during breeding season. Naturally, I decided to play matchmaker and find the guys some mates.

So, I did an internet search for Runner eggs (actually, first I checked to see if famed waterfowl breeder Holderread still had gray Indian Runners, which also happens to be the stock my guys are from – they don’t), brushed off my trusty Brinsea incubator, and waited for said eggs to arrive (Indian Runners are probably one of the least common duck breeds in our area, especially good quality ones that stand straight and tall, so finding eggs locally did not happen). And when they failed to hatch, I tried again. And again. I mentioned in the post about hatching shipped eggs, that they’re a complete gamble and this story illustrates that point to a tee. Which brings us to this past Fall.

I decided to give up for the time being, and vowed to instead search for someone with ducklings or juveniles or an adult pair or anything remotely gray-Indian-Runnerish for sale in the Spring. And I took a much-needed break from hatching.

Then, a few months ago, I walked into the barn at the Paxton livestock auction and from across the room my eyes latched on to the prettiest sight I’ve ever seen. . . .Well, that may be taking it a little too far. Besides, I’m sure Bryony would beg to differ. Heck, even I would beg to differ (Humble, much? Not at all 😉 ) But it was a very welcome sight.

My jaw dropped, I let out an audible gasp, and I practically skipped over to stand in front of three tall, straight, bowling pin-like ducks. There in all their glory were three gray Indian Runners. Exactly what I had been trying in vain to hatch out for months, and it was that easy.

Actually, it wasn’t. After overhearing someone else in the crowd refer to my gorgeous, much-longed for birds as “The ugliest looking Mallards I’ve ever seen in my life,” I was sure we’d get them for a song. Not so. Someone else in the crowd must’ve known that they weren’t Mallards nor ugly, and well, a slight bidding war broke out. Don’t you just hate when that happens? *shakes head* But they came home with me 😉

Which brings us to the present. Eggs = Ducklings. And soon. . . . or just as soon as one of the incubators is empty (it is breeding season after all, and everything, or so it seems, is breeding – more on that later).

You may be wondering what will make their ducklings so special. After all, we hatch out ducklings every year. We even have some right now:

Aren’t they cute? 🙂 But I digress.

Indian Runners are special because there aren’t that many anymore, at least not good quality ones. They’re a breed that’s known for their upright stature; in fact, they sort of resemble a bowling pin. They lay boatloads (and I do mean that almost literally) of extra large green tinted rich eggs. Runners’ personalities tend to be a little goofy, although they can also be a little on the skittish side (as evidenced by my new ducks who head for the corner any time I come near). Altogether, they’re truly special birds.

See, there they are in the corner. Oh well, it’ll take time, but they’ll come around.

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Birds of a feather.

As much as I love the goats, the donkeys, our ewe, Tunie, and yes, even the pig, Tulip, the birds are the ones I enjoy just sitting down and watching. The different colors, the different types of feathers. . . a bird’s plumage is one of the most amazing things to me. They keep their wearer warm, enable flight for some, and attract a willing mate.

Here are a few closeups of some of our birds:
Can you guess what bird these feathers belong to? 
It’s our attention hog, Jim Bob!! 🙂 
A cool thing about Bourbon Red turkeys is that once their adult plumage has come in the males will have a black line at the tip of some of the feathers, while females have white edging, instead.
This bird is named Little Man.
He’s an Old English Game Bantam, and although he may be small in stature he thinks he’s bigger than even Jim Bob 🙂
What bird could these soft and curly feathers possibly belong to?
It’s Henry, one of the Sebastopols.
Now, for some polka dots. Can you guess what they belong to?
Guineas!!! 
One of my favorite birds. Not only because they’re wonderful at controlling the tick population, but also because they’re just all around comical birds. They’re not the brightest of birds, but they engage in these intricate games of chase and keep away with each other that can go on for hours. 
Not all guineas have dots (or pearling as it’s called), though – some are completely solid colored and others only have a few dots (partially pearled). Here is an example of partial pearling:
The darker guinea is a royal purple, one of the new colors we added last year. They’ve just started free ranging and so far the older members of our flock have easily accepted them. 
Now, on to a bird known for being decidedly more colorful. Most people are dazzled by the eye and sword feathers of peacocks, but me, I love the scale feathers located on their back.
Our two peacocks aren’t displaying a whole lot right now, but over the next couple of months, they should really start showing off for the girls. 
And to end this post, I’ll leave you with some really cute baby feathers:
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Birds of a feather.

As much as I love the goats, the donkeys, our ewe, Tunie, and yes, even the pig, Tulip, the birds are the ones I enjoy just sitting down and watching. The different colors, the different types of feathers. . . a bird’s plumage is one of the most amazing things to me. They keep their wearer warm, enable flight for some, and attract a willing mate.

Here are a few closeups of some of our birds:
Can you guess what bird these feathers belong to? 
It’s our attention hog, Jim Bob!! 🙂 
A cool thing about Bourbon Red turkeys is that once their adult plumage has come in the males will have a black line at the tip of some of the feathers, while females have white edging, instead.
This bird is named Little Man.
He’s an Old English Game Bantam, and although he may be small in stature he thinks he’s bigger than even Jim Bob 🙂
What bird could these soft and curly feathers possibly belong to?
It’s Henry, one of the Sebastopols.
Now, for some polka dots. Can you guess what they belong to?
Guineas!!! 
One of my favorite birds. Not only because they’re wonderful at controlling the tick population, but also because they’re just all around comical birds. They’re not the brightest of birds, but they engage in these intricate games of chase and keep away with each other that can go on for hours. 
Not all guineas have dots (or pearling as it’s called), though – some are completely solid colored and others only have a few dots (partially pearled). Here is an example of partial pearling:
The darker guinea is a royal purple, one of the new colors we added last year. They’ve just started free ranging and so far the older members of our flock have easily accepted them. 
Now, on to a bird known for being decidedly more colorful. Most people are dazzled by the eye and sword feathers of peacocks, but me, I love the scale feathers located on their back.
Our two peacocks aren’t displaying a whole lot right now, but over the next couple of months, they should really start showing off for the girls. 
And to end this post, I’ll leave you with some really cute baby feathers:
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Odd Duck Out.

Let me introduce you to one of our ducks, Chirp:

We have two different groups of ducks on our farm: the better quality breeders and the ones that have made their way to our place in various different manners – quite a few of those by being rehomed to us. Chirp is in the second group.

Chirp was raised as a single lonely duckling during the winter of 2010. At the time, I didn’t have any other ducklings his age and it being winter time, I couldn’t find any anywhere around us. So, Chirp was brooded with a few guinea keets that were the same age as him. Not the most ideal situation, and not one I would ever recommend, either.

The problem is that Chirp doesn’t think he’s a duck. He has plenty of waterfowl company now, but he eschews them for our more land-locked fowl. He doesn’t visit the pond with the other ducks, and in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him bathe in any of the kiddie pools, either. Instead, he spends his days nibbling on grass and hunting bugs with the chickens. Not a bad life at all.

And while almost all of our birds get along well together (although, I should mention that our turkeys, Jim Bob and Snoody, love to taunt the peacocks during breeding season, and we have just added a new type of bird that is not known for being sociable – more about them one day soon), it can be a little odd sometimes to see this one duck always mixed in with a bunch of chickens.

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Odd Duck Out.

Let me introduce you to one of our ducks, Chirp:

We have two different groups of ducks on our farm: the better quality breeders and the ones that have made their way to our place in various different manners – quite a few of those by being rehomed to us. Chirp is in the second group.

Chirp was raised as a single lonely duckling during the winter of 2010. At the time, I didn’t have any other ducklings his age and it being winter time, I couldn’t find any anywhere around us. So, Chirp was brooded with a few guinea keets that were the same age as him. Not the most ideal situation, and not one I would ever recommend, either.

The problem is that Chirp doesn’t think he’s a duck. He has plenty of waterfowl company now, but he eschews them for our more land-locked fowl. He doesn’t visit the pond with the other ducks, and in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him bathe in any of the kiddie pools, either. Instead, he spends his days nibbling on grass and hunting bugs with the chickens. Not a bad life at all.

And while almost all of our birds get along well together (although, I should mention that our turkeys, Jim Bob and Snoody, love to taunt the peacocks during breeding season, and we have just added a new type of bird that is not known for being sociable – more about them one day soon), it can be a little odd sometimes to see this one duck always mixed in with a bunch of chickens.

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