Working on the Duck Cabin

We’ve been fighting our usual Michigan weather to start building the cabin for Freckles and Penguin. One day it’s 70 degrees and sunny and the next it’s 45 degrees and raining. But we have had enough nice days that we’re finally able to begin working on the duck cabin!

Working on the Duck Cabin

The Plan –

Mr. Comfortable made a rough sketch to show me what the cabin will look like when completed. Of course he had to show the sketch to Freckles and Penguin first!

Working on the Duck Cabin

Working on the Duck Cabin has had a slow start.

First we had to come up with the plan. I told Mr. C how much floor space the ducks required and he drew up a plan. Next he began sorting the wood for suitable pieces. Our chainsaw died so the poor man has been reduced to using a mini chainsaw that is supposed to be for trimming very small branches from standing trees.

Using that saw has made the job a lot slower and more difficult but Mr. C kept at it. We now have logs cut for two walls.

Working on the Duck Cabin

It doesn’t look like we’ve made any much headway but cutting logs for the duck cabin is probably the longest part of the job. We had a huge pile of wood leftover from the ice and wind storms we’ve had over the last few years. I think we could have made a nice little tiny house for Mr. Comfortable and me with all that wood!

The front and back of the duck cabin will both have doors so we don’t need as many logs for them. Doors in front and back will make it much easier to clean out the cabin.

Working on the Duck Cabin

Ducks need ventilation so that’s part of the plan!

Under the overhang of the roof we’re putting in ventilation screens. Ducks have very moist breath and the moisture has to be able to escape. If it couldn’t the straw in their cabin would become very wet and moldy very quickly. And in winter it would make things colder for the ducks. We’ll use hardware cloth the length of the cabin on two sides. The ventilation screens will be about 2 inches high and firmly attached to the inside of the cabin.

Working on the Duck Cabin

 The ducks need light but predator-proofing is essential!

Working on the duck cabin doesn’t mean just building a basic shelter. In addition to the ventilation the ducks need light even on days when they can’t go outside. No one wants to spend freezing winter days cooped up in the dark! But the windows have to be predator proof. And we have quite a few predators here. We rarely see stray dogs but there are our foxes, raccoons, and even a couple of coyotes that would love a duck dinner.

Mr. C has made sure no would be diners can get to Freckles and Penguin through the windows. He’s using thick acrylic he had from some old plaques. The windows are being mounted in wooden frames that will be cemented into the walls.

Working on the Duck Cabin

To ensure that no predators can peek in and frighten the ducks to death the windows will have wooden shutters. We’ll make them so that those slick-fingered raccoons can’t open the shutters. The same type of locks will go on the doors.

Their entire cabin, the pond, and the “play area” will be surrounded by chicken wire. This will help keep predators away. No four-legged critters and no hawks will be able to get into the ducks’ area.

Working on the duck cabin hasn’t required much from me so far.

I told Mr. C the space, ventilation, and light requirements. I made a list of potential predators and what the ducks needed in their outdoor space. Mr. Comfortable has done all the work.

It’s my hope that when we begin to actually start construction I’ll be able to do some of the work. But you know men. I’ll probably have to fight Mr. C and Pete to get in on the building. Whatever it takes I’m going to have a part in working on the duck cabin! It’s going to be fun!

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I Married a City Boy

When the police ask, and they will, just say I was with you all day. It’s not that I’d mind prison. They have cable TV and someone else does the cooking. But I don’t think they’d let me bring the dogs and my grand kids (probably) wouldn’t want to visit for a week each summer if I lived in Cell Block C. Oh. The reason I could end up in prison without you giving me an alibi is that I married a city boy.

I married a city boy

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A Conversation with Spoiled Ducks

In our continuing duckumentary (I know but I couldn’t help myself) series CCNN (Comfortable Coop News Network is proud to bring you the latest in the lives of Penguin and Spot. We will talk to them about how their lives have changed in the last couple of months in the CCNN Special “A Conversation with Spoiled Ducks.

Penguin & Spot are very spoiled ducks!

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Life with Ducks

Since we brought Penguin and Spot (and the rather unfortunate but delicious Stu) home from Indiana it’s been frustrating and fun. People are still flabbergasted that we have these two ducks living in a tub. Mr. Comfortable recently mentioned how it’s going to be strange when they move outside. He’s going to have to get used to it. They will be moving as soon as it’s safe for them! In the meantime, enjoy these pictures and videos of our life with ducks!

Life with ducks is fun and frustrating!

Since we first began living with Ducks in the tub I’ve learned a lot. I want to be sure these two ducks and any more that come along are healthy and happy. And it’s been more than just online research that’s taught me things about our ducks. They’ve shown me their personalities, quirks, and likes and dislikes!

I’ve discovered that these two are treat hogs! They have feed that is perfect for their age and where they’re living right now. But they can pick out treats added to their feed in a heartbeat! Throw in some canned corn, parsley, or even broken up dog treats (yes, they can have those occasionally) and the feed stays in the dish but the treats disappear! This means I have to stop Mr. C (a.k.a. Duck Daddy) from giving them treats the way he tries to dispense them to the dogs! These ducks would weigh 800 unhealthy pounds!

Penguin will take treats from my hand but Spot is still quite shy!

Sometimes I add water to the feed since ducks need lots of water to get the food down anyway. And they make a funny noise when there’s a lot of water in the dish so I get a kick out of it.

Part of life with ducks in the house is that every day the ducks get to swim in the tub. We try to put a reasonable amount of water in but sometimes we forget and the ducks get a deeper pool! We were just a couple of minutes from disaster that night!

Our two ducks love swimming in the tub!

They do love their swim times and they have fresh, clean water for it every evening. It’s going to be tough to explain to Mr. C that, when they’re living in their log cabin, they don’t need a regulation size pool!

The ducks have a toy, so to speak, that they absolutely love! It’s just a couple of rubber bands tied together that they can tug. They’ll take turns pulling on it! Perhaps it makes them think of worms. I got the idea from a duck raising website the name of which I cannot remember. I wish I did. They sell duck diapers and I’d like to find out the prices. It would nice for the ducks to be able to wander around the house a bit.

A very simple toy that ducks love!

They also love knocking on the side of the tub with their bills. They’re actually getting bits of down that they shake off themselves. I’ve learned that ducks will eat anything! They eat their own feathers, the down, and anything else they can get their greedy little bills on! I’ve become an expert at snatching feathers and other things up before they can pounce!

Of course the bathroom is always a mess and both Mr. C and I find ourselves going to the guest bath in the middle of the night. We’re trying to avoid disturbing the ducks! But I’ve allowed myself to become quite attached to Penguin and Spot and I’m glad they didn’t end up in the freezer…like Stu…and their future offspring.

Quarters for the ducks are a bit tight right now but in the spring they’ll have their log cabin and a tractor so they can forage and wander. For now, they seem pretty happy in the tub! It’s been interesting living our life with ducks!

 

 

 

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A Conversation with Death Row Ducks

In a continuing effort to educate city dwellers and others about life in a rural area the CCNN (Comfortable Coop News Network) brings you the first in a one episode series on ducks on death row. Technically it’s an episode on how two ducks, sentenced to death escaped their fate due to the valiant efforts of one man and two dogs. And now…with limited commercial interruption…A Conversation with Death Row Ducks.

Deciding not to butcher your ducks

Interviewer: You are Penguin?

Penguin: Yes. I’m the one who doesn’t have a funny colored bill.

Penguin is a duck and a sloppy eater

(Loud objection heard in the background from Spot who does, indeed have a funny colored bill for a Black Swedish duck. “And wipe your mouth!”)

Interviewer: And you’re Spot? I don’t really need to ask since it’s obvious from your…funny colored bill.

Spot: Ducks can bite, ya know.

Spot is a duck with a funny colored bill!

Interviewer: You were both originally scheduled to be executed sometime after Christmas and now we’ve been informed that you are no longer on death row. That must feel just wonderful.

Penguin: Is there a question in there? Of course it feels wonderful. How would you feel if you discovered you’re not going to end up featherless and crispy-skinned on a platter?

Spot: Please excuse Penguin. He’s testy because he’s hungry. He’s always hungry. It feels great to know we’ve gone from dinner ducks to breeder ducks and won’t be eaten!

 

Interviewer: Why is Penguin hungry? Don’t you get fed in here in the tub cell?

Spot: We get fed 4 times a day which is one more than the average death row prisoner but then again, most death row prisoners aren’t being fattened up for consumption.

 

Interviewer: So how did you get this reprieve? Was it some group of skilled lawyers and their band of eager law students?

Penguin: You really think ducks can afford lawyers? We can’t even get a lawyer pro bono. Duck rights are not big in legal circles.

Spot: We had a lawyer recommended to us by those dogs that live outside the tub. They call him F. Lee Daddy and they said he can get any animal off any charge no matter how guilty the critter is…or in our case, isn’t.

 

Interviewer: And just what did F. Lee Daddy do to get your sentenced commuted?

Spot: He talked to that lady who feeds us and washes our tub and makes the water for swimming come into the tub. He told her we were cute and sweet and that we look at him and our eyes show we’re smart.

Penguin: We are smart! We learned that when F. Lee Daddy or the lady come in the room to make the water noise in the white chair at night that we aren’t supposed to quack when they say, “Shh.” That’s practically genius level stuff when you’re a duck!

 

Interviewer: And did the dogs that live outside the tub help in any way?

Spot: They told the lady they love us and they told her they kiss our bills and should not be eaten. They said they would be crushed and heartbroken if we got cooked, especially if she cut our heads off first. Like Stu…who actually had it coming because he was mean and just look what he did to Penguin’s tail feathers!

Penguin: I hate when those dogs lick our bills. There’s no way to preserve your dignity when there’s a big, wet tongue sliding over your face.

 

Interviewer: So now that you’re no longer condemned to orange glaze death do you have plans?

Penguin: It turns out I’m a boy duck. This makes me really, really valuable so…

(Interrupted by Spot)

Spot: I’m a duck. Girl ducks are ducks. Boy ducks are drakes and yes, Penguin is a drake. It’s a good thing his drake feather finally popped up because the lady really didn’t want to keep either of us but two ducks would be one too many! Now girl ducks lay eggs even if there’s no boy duck around but the lady said if they were keeping one they might as well keep both. What she meant was that since Penguin is a boy and now can help make baby ducks he has a purpose. I always had one.

 

Interviewer: So what’s in your future?

Spot: We will live in the tub for a little while longer. F. Lee Daddy has decided to build us a log cabin duck home in the backyard (whatever that is). But the lady has promised to stop poking our breasts and picking us up to weigh us while we’re still in there. She will continue to feed us, wash the tub, and make the swimming water come. And the dogs will keep adoring us from outside the tub.

Penguin: A log cabin? Like this?

Log cabin in the woods

Spot: No. That’s a people log cabin.

Penguin: What about this one? I don’t like this one. It’s scary and there’s a small human trying to break in!

Spooky little cabin in the woods

Spot: It’ll be more like this one.

A great poultry log cabin

Interviewer: Penguin? Can we get back to your future?

Penguin: Sex is in my future. A lot of sex. I have to make lots of little ducks the lady can put in the freezer with Stu so she doesn’t start looking at us like food. Again.

 

Interviewer: I’m really happy for both of you. Does the lady know ducks can live more than ten years?

Spot: SHHH! Don’t get her thinking about ten years of quacking and cleaning the log cabin!

 

In a follow-up interview with “The Lady” our dedicated team of reporters (okay.one person) asked the following.

Interviewer: Now that you’ve shown you have at least the possibility of possessing a soul and may not be the world’s only living heart donor do you feel better about yourself?

The Lady: *sigh*

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Ducks in the Tub

Mr. Comfortable went to our oldest son’s house for Thanksgiving and on Saturday, before we headed back home, I went with my son, Paul, to pick up a couple of ducks. His friends got an unexpected brood from an unexpected dalliance between one of their Pekin ducks and one of the Black Swedish ducks. And it was the mallard that sat on the nest! Because we got home late Saturday and I was tired and more than a bit sore I didn’t want to do much. So the ducks (three instead of two) got rinsed off instead of bathed and now I have ducks in the tub!

Ducks are delicious but right now they're in my tub!

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