The ducks have been in their outdoor coop for about two weeks now. The coop sits in a 10 X 15 fenced enclosure, covered with hawk netting, to keep them safe during the day. Still, much of the reason we got ducks was because they make great pets and because they are such great garden helpers, eating up the things that might feast on garden plants. So last night, we finally let them out of the enclosure.
They were tentative leaving at first, but after we opened the door and left them alone for about five minutes, the first one got the idea that she could walk out, and the other three quickly followed.
They practiced running and flapping their still-forming wings. For those who have asked, “Won’t they just fly away?,” we are going to clip their wings. And for those who have asked me, “Isn’t that cruel?,” thinking this is an operation like bobbing a Great Dane’s tail, clipping wings just involves trimming the mature outer feathers on one wing; it’s like a hair cut. And because they molt their wings annually, it’s not permanent.
After they were out for a bit and we remembered baths and homework and bedtime, we started the rather arduous process of teaching them to get back in their coop, which was a long lesson this first time. Eventually, Tommy and his best buddy from down the street herded three into the coop, after a lot of Three Stooges-type moves, and I picked up Anais and deposited her in the coop, since she was, of course, outside the coop but desperately wanting to get back to her friends.