Friday, March 25, 2011

Splish, Splash, They Were Taking a Bath

On Thursday night.  Too much cold and snow means no outside swimming for these little ones.  So into the bathtub they go.

Maybell trying out her best punk look.

Now everyone's getting into it.

After the geese were done and dried, the ducks get their turn.

Susie is smart--she knows what's going on.  Here she is waiting patiently for the tub to fill.

Why have them swim at all?  Nope, it's not practice, and no, they really don't need to, but they do love it.  If you've ever raised waterfowl, you know what pigs they are.  They get food on them, they get water on the food, they turn it to glue and they look and smell----not lovely, let's just say that.  So for good hygiene, because they do need to stay clean to stay healthy, it is good to let them bathe.  They will splash and play, but they will groom a lot as well.  They want to stay clean, but in a brooder environment, it's hard to do.

What age do you start in the water?  I don't wait the 2 or 3 weeks I always read about.  As long as you are watching, as long as their feet can touch the ground, as long as you don't leave them in for too long (5 mins for the little ones, maybe 10 for the older ones, on up), and as long as you make sure they are dry and warm when they are done, I have introduced them to water in as little as 4 days of age.  Pretty much when they are no longer wobbly on their legs, in they go.  But use your common sense.  If you don't think they're ready, they probably aren't.  And don't do it everyday.  Without oil in their glands (which comes later), their skin can easily dry out.  Use your best judgement.

There are few things that are more joyful to watch than waterfowl (of any age really) having a good bath.  Try it and find out!
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