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My French Life: Like a duck to water

 

My French Life the ducklings
The ducklings when we first got them

Bell, Rapunzel and Dicky the French Barbary ducklings joined us 3 weeks ago.  They were only a few days old so they have to be kept warm and safe – this means they are in the house with us. Again with the smelly birds – I can’t quite believe I’ve done it … again. It’s not quite as bad as when the chicks were in the house – they were so smelly that I will never ever have baby chicks in a room where we have to live. Next year they’ll be in one of the workshops.

The ducklings reside in an unused plastic dog crate in what we laughingly call our summer dining room.  It’s an extension we’ve built on the back of the kitchen.  It’s north facing and it will be lovely when it’s finished but it’s got bare concrete floors and gets really cold in the winter hence we eat out there in the summer. The dog crate works really well as a temporary duck house, it has a removable bottom so I can clean it out easily and we’ve hung an infrared lamp in there to keep them warm.  It also means they get used to us and our voices and as they’re intended as pets that can only be a good thing I hope.

We need to get them used to being outside but we’ve had such horrible weather of late there hasn’t been much opportunity but yesterday we had a bit of a break – the rain stopped and the sun came out. Without a mother duck to keep them warm and protected they are very vulnerable to predators and the cold. We filled up an old tray with warm water and stuck the ducklings in a fenced off area with it.

They weren’t happy to start with – the grass tickled them and they just sat there looking around in fear and wonderment then Belle got the in the water, followed by Rapunzel and finally with a bit of encouragement Dickey got in.

We were told that they couldn’t go outside full time for “2-3 months” so we still have at minimum of 5 weeks with them in the house – especially with this weather (it’s raining again today and unusually cool in this part of France).  They’re getting bigger.  I am not quite sure how we’re going to cope with three big ducks in the house. I am sure I will get the blame… again. I just hope the weather improves enough for them to go out in the day time and just come in for a sleep at night … like lodgers, until they can go out full time with their lovely new pond.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the video of the duckling’s first outing!

A bientôt

Janine

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