Sometimes things on the farm can truly stump you.. this is one of those cases.. the “what” case.. the “how” case..
You see the three duck hens with their chosen drake have been spending the winter in the duck pen. It has two lovely duck houses made from straw in it, we built one and then when we moved the ducklings into grow up, we made a second so that they would not have issues with the drake, most of the ducklings are butchered out now, with just two left in the big bird pen inside, in their own area now..
They have been doing great, good weights, they grew in their feathers and took to flying up and out of the pen.. see this lovely sitting up on the top of her pen, just waiting to fly down the other side. not a good thing.. so wings were trimmed and no more flying..
now these are not run away duck hens, if they get out, they will wait in the front yard by their door to be allowed back in.. or they will use the kitty door and go back into the little barn..
So when the last massive storm came, we prepped the houses, we knew that the wind was blowing in a way that could mean that it would blow in and we were right, we opened and then blocked the door to the pen and we did have to shovel them out to get the doors cleared (like many other things in the farm)
We have had even more snow.. it means that tracking is not possible.. but it also means that most things are hunkered down as well.. well we went to feed the ducks in that pen yesterday and we only have one hen and one drake..
WHERE DID the other two hens go! We dug out and crawled into the house with flashlights.. nope..
We dug out the front pen area, can’t find a body.. we looked under the building next to the pen, nothing.. no ducks, no kill site, nothing.. we went to the little barn and checked all over, if they did let themselves in..
Then hubby got out the snow shoes and went on a trek this morning, he has looked all the back area, nothing.. now nothing does not really mean nothing because of the snow falls, but honestly.. where did two.. not one! TWO of the keep back, overwinter duck hens go!
I know that these things are not to suppose to happen and we have not given up looking yet, even if its just confirmed that something used the snow drift to climb into a area that is normally not available and they were took, I would rather have a kill site and know what happened then to just have them missing
Did they climb over the huge drift and get out.. if so, where are they..
So we looked at each other, sighed and then caught the remaining hen and drake and moved them into the big chicken pen for safe keeping.. this is a issue with my water pan for the chickens but I can deal with that easier then with the last breeding pair going missing.
What a set back on my duck breeding program for 2017.. to suddenly go from three proven laying, sitting, hatching hens to one is a big hit! All three females were proven to do two hatches of 10 to 14 ducklings each..
I do not know if I am going to try and buy young females for the spring and hope that they will be good girls or if I am going to buy ducklings and just let the one female sit and keep back from her females and get a new drake..
I can honestly say that this while we do have losses, it happens, the hawk, the owl, the fox and more all think anything with feathers are very much game to hunt. We spend out time between protecting and trying to give them a bit of freedom for a more natural lifestyle.
But this.. this is just huh.. the unknown, the no answers will make you a bit crazy!