Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mallard Family in the Garden

At the end of June we had a family of Mallard ducks arrive in the garden. The female must have laid her eggs somewhere in one of my flower beds because suddenly one day there she was strutting around the garden with four baby ducklings. Unfortunately one has since died. We do not have a pond so I have put our a cat litter tray for them near the bird feeder. They are doing very well and I am now putting our special duck food instead of bird food. Hopefully they will be big enough to fly away soon as my garden is looking a trashed mess as they like to take short cuts through the flower beds and I feel very guilty if I disturb them with any weeding I want to do. Mind you they aren't too distressed by the lawnmower. My neighbour opposite has a lake, so I guess that is where the mother originated.

Hemlock Weed along the Stream

Since the exceptional wet spring of 2014 the poisonous weed Hemlock Water Droplet has taken over our stream to such an extent that we are now having to dig it out. It is also known as 'Dead Man's Fingers' because of the 5 roots which look like parsnips. It is extremely poisonous to animals and man. It is very hard work to dig up so we are spending an hour each weekend working our way up the stream. It can be killed by 'Round-up' in the spring when it is small before it flowers, so I will look out for what is left in 2016 to spray. We are taking it away to make a heap and will burn it in the autumn.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

New Indian Runner Ducks

Two weeks ago we bought three Indian Runner ducks from the agricultural market at Wheddon Cross when they had a poultry & duck sale, along with farm bric-a-brac. Unfortunately very few ducks were sexed so we have taken a chance when buying these three and just hope they are not all drakes. I am not sure what colour they will be when they are fully grown, as their downy baby feathers are a chocolate brown, but the new feathers underneath could be brown or black. We'll have to wait. At the moment they are in a small run and kept in the old chicken shed at night until they are big enough to go on the main pond and join our other ducks.