My last attempt to ready a spot for wintering the ducks. I spent my time this weekend installing a duck fence around the bottom of the goat pen. This summer the ducks made a sloppy mess of the south chicken run, the rain was no help in the matter either. Unfortunately their water loving habits don’t let up just because it snows and I won’t have then ruin the floor of the coop this winter.
As much as I like eating duck I was really hoping for eggs from these guys and don’t want to eat the birds. I was going to keep Henrietta and Lucky and let the rest go. I put them up for sale or free online. One found a new home and the gal who said she wanted the rest was a no-call/no-show. This seems to be the way a lot of online deals go. A little common courtesy would be nice. That’s ok though, I didn’t really want to give them up.
After some thought about what the ducks needed and what would be possible until my bird eating dog is six feet under, I decided they would try living with the goats. There is grass to munch, bugs to eat and a wash tub for head dunking and drainage for their splashing. Ideally I would like them wandering the yard with the rest of the poultry but as we’ve found many times before, it just won’t work for now. (Chicken tractors are in the works for next spring though.) So the goat pen it is.
I used short chicken wire 2 ½ ft or so and lined the whole perimeter of the pen inside the barn and out. It started off real dandy. It was chilly and lightly misting but it was now or never because deer season starts next weekend and that marks the end of outside work until spring. While the family took their Saturday nap I headed out. Lyle, the pig of a goat, was nibbling on my fingers after the first ten inches of fence. It was annoying but fine. Then he bit me! Took a chunk right out of my knuckle little $#*! head. The next forty feet I bled all over the fence as I worked, he was no longer interested in my right hand.
After the south line was done, the rest needed to be done inside the pen because of how the corral and Hanks pen sit. I didn’t get bit again so that was nice. I’m not sure what happened to my left hand but it wasn’t too long into the last seventy feet that that began to bleed too. Gloves. I know. The tie wire was pretty fine and getting a decent tie through the chicken wire and around the cattle paneling didn’t work with gloves. Bloody hands it was. Most of my work on the west line was done with Lyle’s head on my shoulder and Scarlett’s head under my chin. Again, annoying but fine.
Then the north line. A shared fence with Hank. A couple things with Hank: He’s stinky and his dehorning didn’t go well so he has scurs (partial horns that grow kinda deformed). I’m pretty sure the scurs are bothering him as he spends a lot of time scraping them on everything (we will be taking care of that very soon). As I was working on his fence line he spent his time pushing back on the fence at each spot I was trying to tie and I spent a fair amount time telling him to back up and swearing. Of course about that time is when the neighbors came walking up to see what was going on. I don’t think they heard me… Either way I guess.
I finished up tying the bottom of the wire on Sunday and Mike got a pallet situated inside the pen in the barn so the ducks could be fed without having to share with the goats. It all looks pretty good I’d say. We’ll give it a try and hopefully have duck eggs rather than duck roast this winter.
I think the ducks are a little homesick and the chickens seem to miss them too. The Ladies have been lined up at the fence looking towards the ducks which are gathered together at their fence looking back. Poor fella’s. A few days and hopefully everyone will be adjusted.