Archive for July 18, 2013

Daughter’s Rat Family

rat babies

Those are some lucky rat babies. If the grandkids wouldn’t have been there, SwampMan would have called the dog for a little meat treat (but the ducks might have eaten them first).

My brother was astounded the first time he saw my muscovy ducks. “Holy CRAP those are big! What do you feed them?”

“Well, mostly they feed themselves. I throw out a little corn, and they wander around eating bugs, weeds, weed seeds, mosquito larvae, small snakes, lizards, frogs, roaches, baby mice, baby rats….”

“No shit? Ducks eat snakes? And mice?”

“Well, I dunno about other ducks, but these do.”

My brother didn’t quite believe me and said so, then asked “What the heck is that one eating?”

A big drake walked by attempting to swallow something pretty sizeable. “I dunno. Maybe a mouse?”

“I think it’s a mole! That sumbitch duck is eating a MOLE.”

I shrugged. I didn’t care enough to extract it from the duck’s beak and examine its little feet and face. “Good. They’re all OVER the yard.”

“I would not have believed it if I didn’t see it. I didn’t know ducks were carnivores!” he said.

“More opportunists, I think. They’ll eat whatever protein source is small enough for them to swallow.” And baby mice and rats are definitely a protein source small enough to swallow.

I have a mother duck in a small pen with seven ducklings, five of which are hers. They’re in a pen because I’ve lost 50 to 75 ducklings and chicks to hawks this year and I decided I needed a few more ducklings to grow to release here since I’m about to sell about 25 ducks. I set out 5-gallon buckets with about a gallon of water in them, and wait a few days for mosquito larva (wrigglers) to appear. When the water is nice and black with wrigglers, I go to my duck nursery and dump that gallon of water into their two gallon feed pan/swimming pool. The ducklings jump in the water in a flurry of activity and splashing and within about five minutes, there are no mosquito larva left.

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