Ducklings: One Month Old

Caesar and Cleopatra: our one month old Pekin ducklings are halfway grown now

They quack quack (yes, they found their quackers finally! No more peeping!) when they lose sight of us. Co-dependent is a word that comes to mind. It's a little troubling at times as I feel compelled to sit with them in the yard longer than I intend to every morning.

But who can deny these sweet faces...


are you our mother?

sweet babes...

who love a good watermelon party...

nom nom nom

it's so tasty they're oblivious to the deer party going on behind them...

in just another short month they'll be considered full grown and will have lost all their yellow fluff

and their awkward teenage gait

our ducky up, a chicky update!

*You can see pics of the ducklings during their first two weeks here.

Our Ducklings: The First Two Weeks

Here's how sweet Caesar and Cleopatra looked when we first brought them home...

they seemed a little lost, a little needy, a little messy, OK a lot messy, but oh so cute

bright yellow fluff balls

who immediately imprinted on us

These little cuties are Pekin ducks

they are timid and shy and always right next to each other

Cleopatra has a higher squeak, while Caesar has a deeper peep...that's the only way we can tell them apart at this age

Duck TV...this is what you do when you don't have cable

even the pup likes this channel

But LOOK! In just a week they lost their bright yellow coloring and nearly doubled in size!

At two weeks they're in several inches of water ready for swim lessons! What happened to our babies?

And BTW, ducks are really messy...seriously...after two weeks they had outgrown and made complete mess of their brooder box in the bathroom (which was a double size rabbit cage) so they were moved to this outdoor rabbit hutch lined with hay.

Yay, outside!

Who knew ducks would grow so big in just two weeks? We couldn't be more in love with these duckies. They follow us around the yard and squeak and peep to let us know if they are lonely or hungry. They love to eat carrots, lettuce, turnip greens, cabbage, grapes, watermelon, green beans, peas and just about anything else we offer. Except no bread or crackers! And in exchange, they eat flies, mosquitoes, weeds, grass and any other crawly flying bugs they can find.

These Pekin ducks will eventually be all white like the ones in this pic (we stumbled on these cuties at the Botanical Garden). We were told they are sold as meat birds. Yuck. Can you imagine eating these sweet things? But because they are sold for consumption, their ability to fly has been bred out of them, as has their interest in hatching their own eggs. Cruel, isn't it? So while our gals will lay about 200 eggs a year, we probably won't see too many hatchlings unless we incubate them ourselves or let one of the broody hens hatch them.

To us they are pets, no different than the hens or the rats or the pup and the cats (hey that rhymes!).

Not food. And not just egg producers. Companions.

Quack Quack!

PS Here's how the duck ducks looked at one month

A Paper Mache Day

Earlier this month (or was it last month? Geez, I really need a calendar) we set aside a day and declared it Paper Mache Day. We tackled not one, but two gooey newspaper projects and had such fun doing it we've decided to do it again soon...and next time I think we'll invite our friends over and have one big Paper Mache Party! 

So, the first thing we did was tear paper into strips. This was both therapeutic and chaotic.

Kids love a good excuse to rip up paper.

Once the paper was torn and the flour/water goo was mixed we got to work on our projects. We each made two bowls and the girls worked together on the second project, which involved a blown up balloon for the base.

The basic process was we laid strips of paper across the bowls we were using as molds and used paint brushes to brush on the goo. We worked this way piece by piece, layer by layer.

My older gal decided to tear up the comic section of the newspaper and use those pieces for the base of her bowl.

We each put about 5 layers on our bowls (some less some more depending on attention spans)

and set them out to dry for a few days...

After they were dry we popped them out of the molds, trimmed the edges, and painted. And painted and painted. (Note to self: Put a base coat of white on the bowls next time before painting...or use thicker paints)

The darker colors only took about 3 coats...but the lighter colors needed more. But that's OK, painting is a peaceful therapeutic process (yes, even with kids...well, at least sometimes) and we took our time and had fun with it. At least that's the story I tell myself.

These are Little Bear's.

And these are Older Bear's. Her comic strip idea turned out really well and all she had to do was paint the outside and add varnish. Both girls were so impressed they could make bowls. They were so proud of themselves and I learned that while paper mache is messy, it's not difficult or time-consuming - at least not so much that it's not worth setting aside a day every now and then to make something fun and interesting.

Little Bear was so excited about hers she took them to a Girl Scout meeting to show all her friends during a discussion about recycled art. I love when they get excited about their projects.

And here are a few that I did.

I think on our next Paper Mache Day we'll make a set of bowls to give as gifts to our family and friends.

So the other project we worked on was from the Arty Facts book series that I've mentioned before here and here and here. During our study on all things Ocean I let them pick several projects from the book to work on and a paper mache whale was a project they both agreed on. So we went for it.

We covered a balloon with about 5 layers of paper and goo and let it sit out to dry for a few days. (You'll also see in the next few pics that we added a tail constructed out of cardboard, taped it on, and paper mached it to the whale's body)

Once it was dry I cut out a square hole on the side...(see the tail?)

and it was ready to paint!

This is the picture from the Arty Facts book. And Older Bear drawing accessories to go inside the whale.

The girls took turns painting the big ol dude.

And added a face...

and glitter and sequins...and a small blow-hole with tissue coming out to look like water...and a coat of varnish (we used Modge Podge)

We hung accessories up inside the top of the whale with string and tape (fish, seaweed, tin can, etc)

and off he went on his journey (he became a home for Little Pet Shop critters). Awww, isn't he cute?