If a picture is worth a thousand words, then is a video worth a million?

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sit in the bottom of a feed tub:


Whisky loves to be vacuumed:


Lazy summer days:


Bernard, the Energizer Bunny of Morning Bray Farm:


Baby duck bath time:


Bernard and Ellsworth demonstrate what being content looks like:


Coyotes heard at Morning Bray Farm:

 

What happens when the doorbell rings at your house? Here’s what happens at ours:

 

Fergus the goose herder:

 

Enzi playing “Hubba” with Don:


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Up until Monday, we were referring to Izzy and her brood as “Izzy and the kids.” On Monday evening, after making what was for us a very difficult decision, Don took Izzy’s two boys (drakes) to a new home. I never figured it would be so hard and that I’d feel so bad seeing them leave Morning Bray Farm.

Izzy wasn’t happy about seeing the boys go either, but she still has her girls.

They’ll be nine weeks old on Sunday and they’re still growing like weeds.

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Izzy became a mother for the first time on Sunday.

She’s a very protective mom and is doing a great job with her five babies. One duckling in particular is a carbon copy of Izzy as a wee babe. Recognize the Izzy smile?

Izzy as a wee duckling:

Everyone hatched out just fine, but Don thought it best to give duckling #4 a bit of help since it was taking an extremely long time to break out:

Interestingly, Izzy was completely okay with the help.

Everyone is doing just fine now:

Eating and drinking and frolicking… even if never far from Izzy:

Meanwhile, Emmy is sitting on 13 eggs, which we expect to hatch next week. 

It’s a good thing we love little baby ducks.

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I haven’t done Saturday Parts or Saturday Stuff in a long time, so I figure now’s as good a time as any to share pictures that I don’t know what to do with or don’t fit in a post of their own.

The ducklings. Back when innocence ruled and they all sought each other out for comfort. I think this photo was probably taken sometime in June of last year:


This jack used to live on the other side of the alfalfa pasture behind Morning Bray Farm:

Sadly, he was alone and brayed a lot, especially after Gracie came to live with us. We called him the “donkey in the distance” or DITD (Diddy). Later, because we believe that all donkeys deserve dignified names, we named him Eugene and called him E. Diddy. We walked to visit with him and give him scritches every weekend. He’s gone now; we don’t know what happened to him.

And last for this week, a nest in our barn. I’ve never seen a “sideways nest” and am wondering what kind of bird this might belong to. Sparrows, maybe?

Confession time.

If you’re one of the minority out there who actually checks the Morning Bray Farm egg counter, you might have noticed a recent drop in the number of eggs that Emmy and Izzy have been laying.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, the girls were laying eggs for us like gangbusters. But so far in March? Only four eggs. And three of the four eggs didn’t have a shell, only a rubbery membrane.

While Emmy and Izzy otherwise seem fine, the sudden change was very worrisome. I scoured the Internet for possible reasons, but wasn’t able to find any good answers.

Earlier this week, I took a trip to the feed store to see if Junior; our local expert, had any ideas. When I explained that our girls had laid like crazy over the winter and had suddenly stopped, a puzzled look came over his face. “Your girls should just now be starting to lay. They shouldn’t have laid eggs over the winter,” Junior said. Uh-oh.

Our duck expert’s first question to me related to *light*. It was then I had to tell him (shamefully) that our ducks were kept in lighted conditions 24/7 the entire winter. “Yes, we keep heat lamps on in the barn when it’s cold – for both our goats and the ducks,” I said.

Junior explained to me the significance light has on egg production, and we figured that Emmy’s and Izzy’s sudden decline in laying coincided with when I stopped leaving the heat lamps on overnight a couple of weeks ago. Crap.

An increasing day length (January – June) brings sexually mature ducks into egg production and a decreasing day length (July – December) slows or stops their egg production. When I started leaving the heat lamps on, I increased day length for our girls and they ramped up their egg laying. When I stopped leaving the heat lamps on, I decreased their day length and they stopped laying eggs.  

If only we knew what we don’t know. Junior said it’ll be a little while before they start laying again. Uh-oh.

When it comes to being cold, I’m a pansy.

I know they’re ducks…

…but I still worry about them. It’s their first winter, after all.

Izzy, honey. You’re so dirty.

Look at how brown you are, sweetheart.

You need a bath.

Alfie loves taking a bath:

No matter how cold it is:

Because Muscovies aren’t known for being cold-hardy, I fill their pool at lunchtime only on days when it’s warm and sunny. This gives them ample opportunity to dry off before it gets dark.

Jake gets so excited that he starts bathing even before he gets in the pool:

It’s just the cutest thing ever:

But it’s still cold:

And I still worry about them being completely dry before the sun goes down:

Izzy! You’re finally getting in the pool:

And look at how beautiful and clean you are after your bath!

An interesting article, for those who are interested: http://www.muscovyduckcentral.com/marvelousmuscovies.html

Although these waterfowl relish swimming when given the opportunity, they tend to be more terrestrial than other domestic ducks and their feathers seem to have less waterproofing.  As a consequence, a pond isn’t necessary for Muscovies and can even pose a hazard during icy winters, when these ducks of tropical origin may become chilled or suffer frostbite.

August 2011

Welcoming our beautiful Gracie Belle to Morning Bray Farm:

Being mesmerized by Patrick’s transformation:

Always being amused watching Bernard amuse himself:

 

And always being amused watching Bernard amuse us:

September 2011

Loving all of my Ds:

Realizing the way to Nigel’s heart:

March 2011

A rare, quiet moment for Meggie Moo:

A tender moment between Momma and Baby Boy:

Ellsworth being an incredible big brother and officially welcoming Patrick into the herd:

A hug from Fergus. I will always cherish this photo:

The simple joy of taking Bernard for a walk around the block:

April 2011

Kassie watching squirrel television:

Patrick learning how to be a donkey and giving his very first hug:

Welcoming the ducklings to the farm:

May 2011

Donkeys and ducklings meeting for the first time:

Whisky romping in the Rio Grande:

The ducklings loving the lawn sprinklers:

One of our many donkey play dates. Oh, how we love our play dates:

Remember if you click on any of the photos, you’ll be taken to the original blog posts.

Emmy getting out of her bath at 31° F:

Canada goose in the alfalfa field:

Gracie Belle and Buck:

Izzy, with her beautiful, blue eyes:

Colors in the barn: