The chickens were excellent. These were the free range survivors of several fox incursions. They were battle hardened and wise. They made themselves at home. They didn’t mess with our existing small flock. Our existing small flock didn’t mess with them.
The oldest one, “Fluffy”, was remarkable. I stuffed the chickens in a spare coop for the night and fed them. The next day I let them loose for the day and Fluffly had left an egg. She’s the oldest of them but she apparently knows how to pay rent. During the day they ranged about, at night I put them in the coop. As it should be. We got along well.
The ducks were another story. There were three ducks as white as the driven snow and one that had streaks of brown along with the white. I named the brown and white one “skidmark”. It looked kind of scrawny to me. I was informed it was a young “runner duck” and meant to be skinny. Oh great; a duck that, through genetic manipulation is specifically too useless to cook?
Apparently all of the ducks were meant to be Runner Ducks but due to some mistake at the local feed store three of them turned out to be Peking Ducks. They were also too young to lay eggs. (Duck eggs are awesome for baking.) But at least three were edible. I couldn’t tell which were males and which were females (which at least held the promise of eggs) but all were incredibly stupid.
Each evening I’d herd the chickens into the coop. The ducks wouldn’t have it. I’d try to chase them around and cram them in the coop door but it never worked. They preferred to stay in their close four square formation and stand in the wide open middle of the yard… quacking.
Bright white, scrawny, quacking, dumb animals, in the middle of the yard with no cover. They were doomed. They spent all night like that.
After a few days the chickens, which had been free range 24/7 in a homestead where foxes prowl like sharks, decided they didn’t want to be locked up in the coop either. I’m cool with it when chickens assert their independence. If you don’t want to be locked up in a coop I don’t have to worry so much about feed. It’s sort of a grand bargain.
The chickens grazed the lawn all day. The ducks too. The chickens kept a wary eye on the sky and vanished like ghosts in the evening. The ducks wandered about clustered in a group of four making noise and simply begging for something to eat them. At night they stood in a group; right where anything passing by couldn’t miss them. Just to be sure they’d quack every now and then. They were in denial about their universe. The world is full of predators but the duck mind must be full of pastels and glitter.