Last chick hatch for 2020 is done. It started at the end of day 21. Went fast and furious. Haven't done a final head count yet. I think there are 20 chicks. 26 eggs went into the bator. 3 not fertile or did not develop. One got stuck after pipping. I opened a bit of shell and membrane for her, dampened the membrane and put her back. She came out on her own. Just a tiny umbilical hernia. Swabbed with betadine, and I expect it will heal just fine. All but the last one have been put under a heating pad cave, and are sleeping off their birth process. They'll be up and dabbling in the chick crumble and water tomorrow. Then, move out to old coop with their heating pad. 9 more chicks due Sunday, and 20+ ducks due the following Sunday.
Having issues with fencing for the ducks. The runners are almost full sized and can squirt through the electronet. The WH tries to go through the net, but gets VERY stuck. I could envision it killing her. Then, there are the littles. They can definitely squirt through. And, they don't squirt the same way a chicken does. A chicken will squirt through, land on her feet and keep running. The ducks dive, land on their belly, half way through the fence and are stuck. Definitely a killer if the fence is charged. And, they almost always are sopping wet from playing in the water. Tonight, when I went to put the ducks to bed... They are still sleeping in the garage b/c I don't have their housing figured out yet... They kept squirting through the fence, getting tangled in the fence, and running inside/outside the fence. In the mean time, Hubby had let Maggie out. I could envision her getting overly excited b/c I was stressing. When ever she sees me trying to herd chickens away from an area, she wants to get in on the act, and goes into run and chase mode. But... she just stood and watched. Then, I totally gave up on trying to get the ducks back behind the fence so I could re-group and control the mess. I opened the fence, and let them all go, including the babies. I walked beside them, and Maggie brought up the rear. The garage was dark b/c it was dusk. So, after the first 3 went in, they shot right back out again. More duck pandemonium. MAGGIE actually was instrumental at herding the ducks into the garage! And, she did it calmly, and proficiently!
When we had ducks, they never did go into their house at night on their own. We ALWAYS had to go out there and shoo them over to the ramp and up the ramp. And even as adults, one would occasionally forget what she was doing and slip off the ramp and fall to the ground. So much easier with the chickens- they put themselves to bed without any input from me; all I have to do is remember to close and latch the door to protect them from things that go bump in the night. The juniors had to be chased in for the first couple of nights when they first joined the main flock, but they know the routine now.
Sounds like Maggie has potential! Maybe try it again & hope she continues.
Yep, chickens put themselves to bed! When I've had broodies hatch in the coop, they magically taught the chicks to return. Now, I can tell you I was amazed at how she even called them to the roost at an early age. Yes, up and under her wings. Chicks are some strong little buggers!
I had given up on the hopes that Maggie would ever be a functional chicken guardian. She will lie on the ground while they range around her. But... if she gets a playful mood on, she just runs. Of course, then chickens run and squawk, so... that just adds to the excitement. She is a fair mouser. And, she wants to kill all my snakes. But... I won't let her! So, maybe at the age of 4.5 years old, she's finally found her calling as a duck herder.