The Ducks Go for a Swim
Over the weekend we decided that it was time to give our little ducklings a chance at swimming. Did you know that ducklings know how to swim at birth? Animals amaze me. I was a bit hesitant at first because, as only two-week-old ducklings, they have figured out how to begin activating their oil glands and preening feathers. However, they're not quite old enough yet to coat their entire bodies in the oil that helps them to dry off quickly and remain buoyant in the water. That is what a mother duck is for! She can coat the babies in her own oil and help them along. Because there is no mother duck around, just me, I had to towel dry them off and hit them with the blow dryer on warm and low settings for a few seconds. That was an interesting moment! I kind of wish we had gotten some footage of me towel drying off all of these wiggly ducklings.
I was satisfied to find that they stayed afloat rather well (the water was just high enough that they couldn't touch). When we first put them in the water, and they kicked and splashed but huddled in the corner, I was nervous that maybe all of the books I had read about letting your ducklings swim was wrong! They were not swimming at all. It was only mere moments later that one of the larger babes took a head dive under water and pushed himself to the other side completely submerged. It was precious! I felt like a proud mama, teaching them how to swim, though they already knew how.
It was like watching a wild animal be set free! They were so happy and in their element. Tad could hardly keep his hands out of the water, and he rarely did. Oh, boy! He's been much less excited about the ducks this time around (meaning not hyperventilating when peering into the brooder) but he's even more adamant and stubborn about wanting to hold them. Another week or so, and maybe we'll be able to let him give them a cuddle! Right now, they're still too delicate. We sprinkled a few blades of fresh oat grass in the water, which was very entertaining to watch as they dove and gobbled up every piece. I never knew ducklings could be so sweet, calm, and playful. I am glad that we picked these five babies up at the feed store a couple of weeks ago!
I put a little video below of their first swim. I want to try sharing more video content with you all, especially now that we are on the farm. As spring approaches and the world brightens up around here, expect to see more videos from us! I love sharing our farm life with you.