Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Spy Something in the Sky...

Have you ever wondered what ducks see when they look at the world?

With eyes on the sides of their heads, they can see up to 360 degrees laterally, or a complete circle around them. However, they can see to the side better than they can see what is right in front of them. Even though they can see up to 180 degrees vertically, I've found that when there is something up in the sky the ducks tilt their heads to get a better view. It's adorable, but it's also important to their survival. An eagle or owl could swoop down and snatch them up if they are not paying attention. 

 So, what are they looking at? 

Below is the same picture, but I zoomed in a lot so you can see the vultures that were passing over head. There were at least six. I wouldn't have noticed them if the ducks hadn't been paying attention 

Ducks have better night vision than chickens. While my chickens go to bed and are zoned out until it's light again, ducks are alert and active during the night. This is one of the reasons it's necessary for ducks to have adequate space in their predator proof night quarters, and water available as well.

Ducks' vision is really fascinating. To learn more check out THIS article over at Ducks Unlimited's website. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Duck House Improvements

Our ducks have been living in this: The Duck Fort.
At night they'd get locked up in a large size dog crate inside the fort 
for extra protection from predators.

To give them more space we took this:
The stripped down frame of the neighbor's old chicken coop
using re-purposed materials
we created this:
A new and improved duck house.

The new duck house has some serious flaws, for example, it's going to be difficult to clean and to collect eggs from! And the front part is just enclosed with wire, even on the top, which means wet bedding when it rains - which isn't good. So, we need to collect some more materials and consider our options for improving our improved duck house.

To see more pictures of the duck house in progress visit Dobby The Duck on facebook.

To help us continue to improve our duck house, and support us in acquiring a couple more female ducks to balance out our ratio of drakes to hens, please check out Dobby's Indiegogo. We have awesome perks that include duck eggs for hatching, as well as fun handcrafted duck themed items. 

Herman seems particularly happy with the new house, 
or maybe she likes the nice deep straw. 
It's hard to tell.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dobby as Olaf

Today, while we were working on the "new" duck house,
 I looked up and had a moment of panic.
Then I realized that Dobby was 
just pretending to be Olaf from the movie Frozen

Oh, look at that

 I've been impaled.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

dobby_the_duck on Instagram

Since 90% of what I post on Instagram involves ducks or chickens, 
I've decided to start posting on 
instead of on my personal Instagram. 
Sometimes Tasha, who posts on Your Daily Dose of Duck on tumblr,  dobbytheduck.tumblr.com 
will also be adding pictures to Dobby's Instagram.
Follow Dobby on Instagram and tumblr 
to maximize the cute in your life!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Another Day with Ducks

Check out the cute rain boots my mom got for me!
Just in time, the rains have started and the yard is getting muddy.

And that rain brought about the discovery that our Kia Sedona was designed with the perfect dimensions for carrying two bales of straw! 
(Usually we only buy one bale at a time.)

Now the fun begins. 
The ducks and chickens get to spread the straw 
while looking for seeds. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm For Ducks!

Creating crowdfunding campaigns has caused me to think quite a bit about people and what their giving says about them. The world is full of causes, from frogs to children to fandoms, from personal to global. Well, really, all causes are personal to someone. And what might be vitally important to me may not even be on your radar, which doesn't make me better than you or you completely heartless, it only means that we care passionately about different things. It may be that you don't know about my cause, but if you did you would become an advocate. It may be that even if you knew all about my cause you might still choose to put your time and energy some where else. That's not only o.k. it's a good thing!

There are too many causes in the world for any one person to care about them all, or even know about them all. And imagine a world where everyone supported the same cause, that would leave a whole lot of important issues languishing in the shadows. 

There's a meme that floats through my facebook feed now and then that states:

"Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."

Sometimes I need that reminder. If other people have a cause that I don't support, even if it's a cause that I strongly disagree with, it doesn't really help anything if I get in their face about it. It's a rare day when doing so changes anyone's mind. And because people champion causes that are meaningful to them for personal reasons, people take it personally when I don't support their cause. 

But back to the crowdfunding, which is what caused me to ponder these things. In 2014 my husband was raising funds to get a book published. The book, Radical Family! Parenting: A Guide for Parenting with Compassion, Honesty, Respect, and Unconditional Love, is now complete. You can learn more about it Here

When we had 15 days left in our campaign to raise $5,000 we had raised $1,685 in pre-ordered copies. That week I received an e-mail from Indiegogo about a campaign to raise $50,000 to fund the first sonic vibrator. Now there's nothing wrong with trying to get funding for a vibrator. The variety of causes on indiegogo is diverse and includes those heartbreaking, breath taking, and down right crazy. People fund all different campaigns, and that's great. People choose to fund things that inspire them, bring them hope, give hope or help to others, and that bring them pleasure. I'm not judging anyone for what they choose to fund. But as we struggled to raise $5,000, it was interesting to see that with 15 days to go the vibrator had been over funded. 507 people had contributed $68,842! And the least amount they had given, the lowest perk, was $130. 

That got me thinking about how people spend their money. What they are willing to back financially, and what they think is just a nice idea. It caused me to think about the crowdfunding campaigns I've supported, which include: top surgery for a transgender person, summer camp for a teen, a tasting room for a cidery, and a book of poetry. What caused me to contribute to each one? What did my contributions say about me and what I support? I suppose it shows that I support people in being who they are, following their passions, and having experiences that encourage them. 

We all have different causes that speak to our souls, inspire us to give, change the way we live, or give us a reason to get up in the morning. Ultimately, it's my hope that we will focus on promoting what we love instead of bashing what we hate. We can support each others passions simply by being aware that there are endless causes in the world and each one is important to someone. 

My friend Jeff challenged people to post what they were for on facebook, instead of posting what they were against. I decided to write out a statement of what I am for as a reminder to myself. Here's what I came up with:  

I'm for compassion, respect, and remembering that we are all in this together. 

I'm for recognizing that children are people, and people sometimes need support in getting their needs met. I'm also for remembering that other people's needs are at least as important as mine.

I'm for crocheting, gardening, chickens, ducks, baking, music, spending time with the people I love, and solitude.

I'm for making mistakes, trying again, trying something different, and moving on when that's the best thing to do.

I'm for following passions, chasing dreams and not giving up on myself or anyone else.

♥ What are you for?

to learn more about #FundItForward Week 
and which campaigns Dobby has selected as his favorites.

Much of the content of this blog post originally appeared April 15, 2013, on With The Family. 


Drakes grow a special curly feather, the drake feather. In breeds that are monomorphic, meaning that the ducks and drakes look alike, the drake feather can help you tell males and females apart. My ducks are dimorphic, which means you can usually tell them apart quite easily. However, the males will spend a few months a year with eclipse plumage. Eclipse plumage is generally less flashy than the feathers the drakes have during breeding season. For wild birds eclipse plumage plays a role in protecting the drakes while they are molting their flight feathers. Once they have their new flight feathers they are back to their usually dapper selves and ready to fly away from predators. 

Although many domestic breeds no longer have the ability to fly, they still go through the molting process and will display eclipse plumage.

In the 1950's the Ducktail was a hairstyle popular with young men. The duck seems an odd symbol of masculinity. This makes me wonder who first came up with the idea for this hairstyle. Was it a young man who grew up on a farm? Or, was it a gentleman strolling by the town pond? I guess it's time for some research. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ducky Barnes at the Door

The sliding door was open just a crack

 Ducky Barnes decided to stop by and say Hi!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nap Time

Ducks are big on naps.
The challenge is taking a picture of them without waking them up.

They usually take a morning nap and late afternoon nap.
A duck's life is exhausting.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Molting: A Harbinger of Autumn

The ducks are still in the process of losing their juvenile feathers 
as they transform into flashy adults. 
Well, the boys are flashy, 
Herman is just her usual adorable self. 
The chickens are molting, too, as they do every fall.

Shedding tired old feathers and growing in fresh feathers 
can be pretty messy. 

 A truly pretty mess.

 Treasures can be discovered across the yard
 as we search for the best feathers to save

 for crafts, sharing with friends, or simply because 
each one is a miniature masterpiece. 

With the molt well under way,
there is a dust bath in the shadow of my rain garden.

 The ducks and I look forward to the autumn rain.

The chickens will great the rain 
with disdain.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

It has been unseasonably warm here. 
To encourage cool thoughts I'm posting a picture 
of Dobby and Ducky Barnes 
playing in the sprinkler. 

It's hard to believe that this was only two months ago.
Dobby's head is now all green and Ducky's is solid grey.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mud Puddles

I often say that ducks are the toddlers of the poultry family.
Don't you wish all toddlers
stayed so clean while playing in the mud?

Ducky Barnes and his well oiled feathers
enjoying a mud puddle. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

More Crafty Duck Fun!

Today I created another new Indiegogo Perk for 
I'm having fun coming up with duck themed projects.
Today's new perk is a child sized duck washcloth and finger puppet.
It's been mentioned that the washcloth idea might be cute
as a baby's hat. 
Stay tuned to see what I come up with next!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fairy Wings

Feathers or Fairy Wings?

Feather Bouquet
You can receive feathers as a Perk from Dobby's Indiegogo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rescues and Sanctuaries for Domestic Ducks

If you've taken the time to visit Dobby's Indiegogo, you may have seen that by spreading the word about Dobby's quest to find a mate you are also helping to educate people about ducks, heritage breeds, and the organizations that are working to keep them alive. And you might have noticed that one of the goals of the campaign is to raise funds for organizations that care for domestic waterfowl:

Dobby realizes he's just one duck in a world full of ducks who need a mate, food, and a safe place to live. Out of every $100 contributed, a minimum of $10 will be donated to an organization that helps domestic ducks, such as  waterfowl rescues and preservation centers.  The organizations selected to receive these donations will be announced before the end of the campaign.

Here are three sanctuaries from across the country that are working to help ducks in need and educate people about proper duck care. 

Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary, in California, 
"Like" them on facebook HERE

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, in Connecticut, 
"Like" them on facebook HERE  

Feathered Angels, in Tennessee, 
"Like" them on facebook HERE

Be sure to "Like" Dobby The Duck on facebook, too. 
Having pictures of ducks in your facebook feed can be 
an awesome way to have a better day. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ducks That Don't Poop!

There are a lot of people who are asking you for money, I get that. And, an Indiegogo to raise money for a duck can seem pretty frivolous when there are people fundraising for much more serious reasons. A duck needing a mate and a safe place to live doesn't really matter all that much when compared to many of the stories that are in the news, or the life and death struggles that are being faced every day by human beings.

Because of this, I want to make it clear that I'm not just asking you for money, I'm also hoping to offer you something you want in return. That sounds like a line, but it's true. I'm doing my best to come up with perks that you will want, and I realize that not everyone wants to hatch duck eggs or have ducklings. Today I added a perk for those of you who prefer ducks that don't poop. 

A duck made from recycled sweaters! 

I'll be adding more perks in the next week. If you "like" Dobby's facebook page (here) you'll be one of the first to know when the new perks have been added.   

A giant Thank You! 
to Susie, Kristin, Jen, Dan, and Adrienne
for their contributions toward
Your support means so much to me and to Dobby, too.

Tomorrow's post will focus on organizations that help domestic waterfowl. 

See you then. :) 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Broody Hen

Meet Broody Hen

Every year Broody Hen wants to sit on eggs and hatch chicks. Every year I have to try and convince her that chicks are out of the question. She's on old hen, one of the two remaining from the hens I rescued from my neighbor. He thought being a backyard farmer would be fun. He liked the idea of going out and collecting eggs. He didn't like doing the work involved. Fortunately, the chickens were between our houses. After he let them go five weeks without food or water (don't worry, I was giving them kitchen scraps, grain, and water) I took over their care permanently. I moved them from their cramped little run to our backyard. 

Recently his wife told me she'd never liked eating the chicken eggs because they were dirty and it grossed her out to think about eating them. While sometimes an egg will get dirty, when you don't give your hens bedding, and keep too many in a small space with poor drainage, dirty eggs are the result. Well, one of the results, sick chickens and nasty smells that bother your neighbors are another. 

Properly cared for chickens provide you with beautiful eggs. 

But back to Broody Hen. This year she was persistent in wanting to hatch eggs. I failed to notice just how weak she was getting and, by the time I did, she was suffering from vitamin deficiencies and quite wobbly. I've learned my lesson and will pay much closer attention in the future.

The above picture was Broody a month ago. I had to separate her from the others because, due to their natural instincts to establish a pecking order, chickens will pick on a weak or sick chicken. Sometimes with fatal results. I ended up hand feeding Broody and giving her water several times a day to ensure that she was eating and drinking. For a week or so I would go out each morning wondering if she would still be alive.

This is Broody Hen today!

Yesterday, I let her out with the other hens for the first time. I was worried because she was still a little unsteady on legs that hadn't been used much for a month. The chickens accepted her without incident. It probably helps that she was previously one of the dominant chickens in the flock. Having her in a run where the other chickens could see her while she recovered also helped with the easy re-entry.

The ducks were not as willing to accept her back into the flock.  I kept an ear on the yard all day, checking if I heard any excitement. Twice I went out and redirected their attention. Today she is avoiding the ducks more easily. 

This is Broody Hen, with her sister Buff and Rapunzel (in front).

We call Rapunzel our exploding chicken. She's molting and does it most dramatically. The hen house is full of feathers! Rapunzel is used to being the lowest hen in the pecking order, and I think she's enjoying having more company as Broody shares some of her favorite hiding spots. Buff has been sticking close to Broody.

I promised Broody that if she recovered she could have some duck eggs to hatch next year when she inevitably goes broody. If you would like some duck eggs to hatch next year, too, be sure to check out Dobby's Indiegogo. We will have an extremely limited number of duck eggs available and the Indiegogo campaign is the only way to reserve them. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Herman Has a Request


I love this face

Here's Herman with her boys 
before their head feathers had changed all the way. 

Herman would like to request that you go check out the Indiegogo
to Help Dobby Find His Dream Duck
It's not just about Dobby
it's also about Herman, every day the boys are getting more assertive. 
Soon being the only girl duck in the yard
won't be a happy healthy life for Herman. 
It's also about you! 
There are awesome perks waiting for everyone who contributes. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Duck Feathers

One of my favorite aspects of raising ducks 
is watching their feathers change as they grow.

Their wings are so tiny at first.
But the wings are the first feathers to grow.

Every day you can see a difference.

Silver Appleyard Ducks have an amazing variety of feathers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Duck Therapy

Some of my favorite people are affected by depression. It claws at them, dragging them down into a dank swamp of despair. It clouds their minds with thoughts that they aren’t good enough, they aren’t significant, that no body cares, because why would anyone ever care about them anyway? Depression doesn’t just suck the joy out of their lives, it makes them believe that they really weren’t worthy of joy to begin with. It gnaws away at their hopes and dreams, the happy memories, the good parts of life, leaving them hollow. Feeling like a shadow rather than a person.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to curl up in the darkness.
I don’t expect anyone to care or notice, just go on with your lives.

My struggles with depression have always felt situational. When my girls were ages 4, 17 months, and 6 weeks of age the midwife asked, “Are you feeling depressed?”
“Nothing a few good nights of sleep wouldn't help,” I responded
(It would be at least another decade before I returned to a goodnight of sleep stage of life.)

The last few years have intensified our family’s financial challenges. When dark thoughts swirl in my mind I think, “It’s nothing a week of vacation and financial stability wouldn't help.”

When my introvert soul is worn thin from living all.the.time with four other people, and being the emotional support person for four other people overwhelms me, I tell myself, “It’s nothing three days alone wouldn’t help.”

I get more sleep now, but financial stability and time alone are still hard to come by. We have never gone on a week long vacation just as a family.

As my girls say, “The struggle is real"
The struggle is real  A (generally) ironic saying often used in place of the saying,"first world problems." Has slightly more urban undertones than "first world problems." Denotes a situation where the user wishes to express that they are encountering some sort of undesirable difficulty, but dealing with it. With irony, it has a comical effect of dramatizing a non-critical, yet undesirable situation.  (From the Urban Dictionary)  

But, I have ducks!
Which seems like a non sequitur, so let me explain.

When life becomes too much it can be helpful to escape for a little while. Escapes include things like going on vacation, getting a pedicure or massage, eating out at nice restaurants or going on a retreat.  All of those escapes are beyond my means, but I have ducks.

This summer we were given three ducklings. Having ducks has been pure therapy for me. When I'm stressed out, exhausted, feeling discouraged or needing a break I go outside and watch the ducks. They are silly little creatures who get excited about fresh water in their "pond" and try to eat the water spraying from the sprinkler. When they run the sound of their feet slapping the ground is adorable. When I’m inside, and the windows are open, they call to me and we talk back and forth until I go outside for a visit.

Outside! The ducks get me outside. The last few summers I have had health issues that left me with little energy for yard work or outdoor activities. I stayed inside a lot, and yet I have always been happiest outside. Having ducks means going outside to clean out the water dishes. It means being physically active as I rake up the yard or change their bedding. The ducks have encouraged me to be more active while helping me get more Vitamin D.

The ducks have also given me a reason to get up every morning bright and early, because poultry don't sleep in and their present house is a dog crate that's really too small. I feel guilty if I don't get up and let them out ASAP. And once I’m up and outside, wandering the yard in my bathrobe, getting out of bed was totally worth it. I open the ducks’ door and they waddle past me with enthusiastic quacks. They run laps around the yard, flapping their wings with joy.

I have decided that ducks are the toddlers of the poultry family. But they are all the good parts of toddlers, along with the need to put everything in their mouths. They are the splash in the puddle, chase the butterfly, look at the world through bright and curious eyes parts of toddlers.

People warned me that I should not get ducks. “Ducks are messy!” I was told.
Well of course they are!
If you expect ducks to be quiet, stay out of the mud, and not make messes,
then you are expecting them not to be ducks.
It’s the same with toddlers, and I like toddlers.
Some people think having ducks in your backyard sounds a little crazy,
but for me it is sanity.
My ducks are my therapy.

If you need duck therapy but don’t want to deal with the messy parts follow my blog,
Dobby the Duck: Your Daily Dose of Duck  and follow my daughter’s tumbler dobbytheduck.tumblr.com and don't forget to "like" Dobby The Duck on facebook.

If you are so inclined, you can help support my duck therapy with a donation to: dobbytheduck@gmail.com

They grow up so fast

August 14, 2014

August 23, 2014

September 3, 2014

September 9, 2014