We have been busy over the past few months, sitting in Spain, France, the Cotswolds and Worcestershire.
The summer in the UK has held on until the beginning of December, and now the frosts have won out, plunging the temperatures back to seasonal averages.
Tracy and I find ourselves back at a regular sit in the East Sussex countryside. A variety of animals from pigs, sheep, ponies and chickens, as well as our lovely dogs and cat.
As this is a regular sit, we slip back into an easy routine pretty quickly. We have had a drama with the two ducks in situ here. They are mallard ducks, both girls. We found one walking about in the yard a few days ago, this is unusual because they are usually in a penned area with a pond, which they never leave.
We managed to catch it, which was worrying in itself, but she seemed ok, uninjured, so we put her back into her pen and hoped that she had just got scared and decided to fly out.
Unfortunately the next morning, when we opened the little house they live in at night, only one duck came out, the other one was dead.
We therefore had to find a replacement for the lonely duck, now quacking continuously for her mate. After contacting the owners, they advised us of a few places to try. We finally tracked down a duck for sale locally.
Went to pick up the duck, which was quite a journey after lots of wind and heavy rain the previous evening. We were introduced to a very pretty Khaki Campbell duck, which we named Tinsel, as it is the festive season. The owner showed us how to cut the flight feathers on the wings, as we have to do this to the original duck to stop her flying away. Apparently Khaki Campbells don't fly.
She was very good in the cat basket all the way back home, and she was very happy that she had a pond at her new home. She didn't stop washing and splashing around for ages. The two seem to be fine together. Tinsel is slightly bigger than the mallard duck.
Our next challenge was to get Tinsel to go into their little house when it got dark. This did take a long time. I thought she would follow the other one in but she was always looking in the wrong direction at the crucial moment. Eventually, she allowed me to pick her up, as she is used to being handled, and I put her into the house via the back door. hopefully she will be more familiar with it tonight.
I am glad to report that Tinsel is a quick learner. She went into her house straight away. Phew.
The next day I picked up the original duck, which we have now named Titch, she was calm whilst I cut her flight feathers on one of her wings. I had a towel, scissors and a stool ready for the deed. It was easier than I anticipated.
So now we have two happy ducks that can't fly away, and I know more about ducks than I did a few days ago. We now wait in anticipation for the first egg.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.
|Tinsel & Titch|