By Lisa Huddleston
Six days-old chicks and two young ducks were added to HudFarm yesterday afternoon. We had planned to buy some chicks on March 15th when the Co-op would have some Buff Orpingtons in stock, but due to some conflicts, that date was going to be a struggle to meet. Therefore, when we just happened to be at the Tractor Supply while they were unpacking loudly peeping chicks, we thought, “Hey. Why not? And while we’re at it, why not add a couple of yellow, fuzzy ducks to the box?” What? Ducks? Yes. Ducks.
Now a couple of ducks may not seem like a big deal when we already have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 12 chickens, but it was a big step for me. You see, every new animal we add is a potential disaster in my dark, little mind. And after the recent chicken massacre perpetrated by one of my sweet puppies, all I can think of is another bloody mess.
But baby ducks are precious, fluffy, and too cute to be missed. And my husband loves them. I just had to set my fears aside.
Now we have a cozy brooder set up in my loom room. We bought a shallow water trough that we will be able to repurpose when the sheep and donkey we are planning for arrive this summer. (Yes—more precious lives for me to worry over—especially in light of the eerie yipping from the woods last night as a pack of coyotes found their prey.) The trough is filled with wood chips, chicks, ducks, feeder and waterer and covered with chicken wire to keep the cat and dogs out. (Oh, I hope so!) And all should be well.
But all our precautions are no guarantees. Dottie Pigbody made a dive for a duckling this morning, and both dogs roll their eyes and quiver with evil anticipation as they look through the chicken wire at our sweet peeps. Disaster is always a possibility, but I have decided to go for it a little more than I used to. I could let my worries control my actions but then I would never know the unconditional love of our crazy dogs, or the arrogant affection of our cats, or the wonderful flavor of fresh, warm eggs. Fear could keep me safely tucked away under the chicken wire of worry—but that’s no way to really live unless you are a chicken.
Chuck and I both have decided, quite wisely, that we will never be any younger, and now is the time to do some of the odd things we’ve dreamed about. So chickens and ducks and sheep and dogs and cats and a sweet, old donkey it is. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about duck eggs in a couple of months, the good Lord willing and the dogs don’t bite!