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Here are the emergency replacement ducklings that I hatched in our incubator mid-November. Still working on their adult feathers, but they are wooly from the winter temperatures! Their feather down grew in much faster and thicker than summer ducklings, for sure. I generally move baby poultry out of the house after a week. Any longer than that, and baby ducks can really stink up a room!

So, these fellas were outside in the “screen porch” A-frame during the bitter teen temperatures we had a few weeks ago. Animals never cease to amaze me at how hardy they are to what we consider uncomfortable climate conditions. I might have worried about them. But, though they had a heat lamp to keep them warm, they chose to sleep as far away from it as possible, out in the open screen part of the A-frame. So, evidently, they didn’t think it was too chilly!

Usually at about this age, I can start integrating ducklings into the adult duck flock-they are large enough to not take too much harassment while a new pecking order is established. But, strangely, this time with my girl-only flock of adult ducks, these babies have had a harder time. The adult hens chase and pinch and bully them. On the contrary, the chickens, who stay closer to where the baby ducks A-frame sits, were indifferent to them from the start. I started letting the baby ducks run loose when they were about three weeks old, watching the new rooster closely to see if he’d give them grief. But, he didn’t.

So, I guess it’s no surprise that at some point, the ducklings decided to move in with the chickens at night, rather than sleep in their own A-frame! 😀 I don’t find that domestic poultry have the same imprinting characteristics that wild fowl do, but indeed these ducks seem to  have bonded with the chickens from being around them more. It works ok, the chickens all sit on their roosts at night, leaving some floor space for the ducklings. And in the morning when they’re anxious to be let out, they all jostle together at the door, oblivious to the inter-species integration that’s going on in there.

I’ll be curious to see what happens when the baby boy ducks mature, if they’ll warm up to their own kind when love is in the air? 😉

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