This is my daughter, Wendi,
With one of our injured ducks.
His name is Silver.
He has a type of cancer in both feet.
one of the most loving ducks in the world
I love this duck, with all of
I love all of our ducks.
Silver is a Blue Muscovy
Update, Silver has passed away.
"ANIMAL HEALTH INFO"
I want to give you these health tips and warnings, from my over 40 years of
experience, because I care! and hope to save anyone the heart ache that I
have experienced, and also hope to save some of your fowls or animals
lives. I can save you a lot of trouble if you just read this.
**********DUCKLING HEALTH & EATING************
First choice, the best feed to get for baby ducks is "Game Bird Starter". You feed this to ducks and all game bird babies. But a lot of feed stores do not have this. Usually when people have baby chicks or baby ducks, they feed them feed for baby fowl, called Start & Grow, but one thing you need to remember.
The feed for baby chickens is medicated, to protect the chicks from getting
certain sicknesses. This is what you get for baby chickens, but! You DO
NOT get this for baby ducks. They make special feed for baby ducks, it is
the exact same feed, and it is called, Start & Grow also, but you have to
ask for Start & Grow that is "UN-MEDICATED" for Ducks, because they can not
take the medication, it can ruin their kidneys. It is best to call the
feed stores before you go to buy it, and ask if they have the un-medicated
Start & Grow, to make sure you go to a store that has it, because not all
feed stores have it, they can order it though. But it is best to find one
that carries it, because not all feed stores even know that ducks have to
have it un-medicated. When I can't get it un-medicated, I order it, unless they do have the Game Bird Starter feed, and if not, then I would buy regular feed for grown chickens, and give them that, until I can get the
other, rather than to give them the medicated feed.
It is important also
to make sure you give baby chicks or duckling ground feed, and not
crumbles. Try to get the start & grow finely ground, or if it is not, and
you can't get it ground, then I put some in a strong plastic bag, and hit
it all over with a hammer, or roll it with a rolling pin to smash the
crumbles finer. Many people loose their babies because of the feed being
too big of chunks, and they don't even realize it. Especially the bannie
chickens and little duckling like wood ducks. The babies won't eat it, it's
too big for their little throat and mouth, and very uncomfortable.
But this also even goes for the bigger duckling or chicks till they get
about 2 weeks old, and even then, they prefer the ground feed. So, always
try to get ground feed for all your baby fowl, till they are 2 months old
to full grown, then you can change to crumbles.
I can't believe how many times I have gone into a feed store, and see the
baby chicks or duckling dieing, and I look at the feed, and see it is too
big, and I tell the owners, usually only to get a dirty look, but they
usually end up losing most of them
unless they sell first, because of
the feed being too big.
Baby ducks, baby chicks, baby birds, all grow fast. Anything that grows
fast needs extra calcium with their feed. You can get ground oyster shells
for the babies, and crushed oyster shells for the adults. For the babies
get it ground to a powder if you can, if not, crush it up more so it will
be tiny enough for them to eat. Give the ground kind to your baby fowl
every other day with their feed till they grow up, just sprinkle it on
about like we do our salt. Then when they get big,change to the crushed
kind and put some in with their feed a few times a week. Or keep some in
with their gravel all the time.
Baby birds need the ground calcium
With baby ducks or full grown ducks, please be sure to always keep plenty
of water there for them to drink, and keep it filled at all times. Ducks
are bad about packing their throat with feed, and need to wash it down with
water. If they are out of water, and they get their throat packed with
food, they can choke to death, and this happens a lot. So please keep
several water containers full for them at all times. And since they are
ducks, and do spill it a lot, check often and fill up the water. I keep a
few one gallon buckets in each pen full of water at all times. Never give
full grown ducks a little container of water... they need big containers of
**********ADULT DUCKS HEALTH & EATING**********
I have been seeing more and more people saying Muscovies have a lifespan of 7 to 8 years, but, I have had Muscovies for many years and if they are kept with a healthy and safe life, they can live up to about 20 years old.
In the wild they are not likely to live more than 2 years, (if that) because something will kill them, a predator or a mean person, etc. But when you have them as pets, they can live on to about 20. Some may die younger at around 12, if they catch some illness, they can die from a illness at any age for that matter, but if you catch it in time you can get them well,
but they CAN live to about 20 if you take good care of them.
Several people have written me and asked how to feed the adult ducks
Here is my answer-for the adult ducks...
Be sure to give ducks big containers of water, like a gallon bucket. They drink a lot of water, and also, many times they get their throat packed with feed and need plenty of water to wash it down. Also, they need a lot of water because ducks get feed in their nose a lot, and need a container big enough that they can swish their head around in there to get the feed out of their nose. They do this a lot. Ducks also need to keep their nose cleaned out because Ducks can get yeast infections, and they can get it in their nose if they can not clean it out. It is important that they have a big container of water.
If they are free in the yard where they can get bugs, then just give them
Scratch in the morning and for dinner. If your ducks are in a cage
or pen, and are where they can not wander to get plenty of bugs, then give
them half Scratch AND half Game-Bird Maintenance in the crumbles.
If you are up north where the climate is cold, then in the winter they can
not get bugs, so they will ALSO need Scratch AND Game-bird Maintenance in
the winter, then you can go back to just Scratch in the spring and summer
months, unless they are caged, if they are caged, then they will need both
feeds ALL year long. EXCEPT for their heavy Egg laying season... in the spring and summer,
they go through a heavy egg laying season. During this time they need more of the nourishments
that their body needs to make those eggs. So, during that time, change the Game Bird
Maintenance to Layena Crumbles. Then you will be giving them half Scratch, and half Layena
Crumbles. It is feed for egg layers and gives them what they need during the eggs laying months.
BUT, donít give them this all year. Only for 3 or 4 months out of the year, because, this food
also helps cause them to lay eggs, and you do not want to encourage their bodies to make eggs
all the time, it will drain their bodies and wear them out making too many eggs. That is not good
for them, nor for chickens. Their bodies need a resting time from laying eggs, so, only give them
the Layena for the heavy egg laying months. In the tropical areas, that would be April through July. In the cold climates it would be May, June, July.
Then go back to the half Scratch
and half Game Bird Maintenance, or what ever Duck feed you are feeding them.
Also, if they are in cages, remember to give them some Crushed oyster
Shells a couple times a week, right in with their feed. Do that all year. Just sprinkle it in with
their feed like salt. Be sure to put enough for all of them, about a teaspoon each.
If they don't have Game-bird Maintenance, then get them what ever kind of Duck feed or
chicken feed they have.
Always get the feed in in the crumbles, cause they do not like the powdery kind, and
they prefer the crumbles over the pellets too, many of them won't eat the
You can also ask them to order the Game-bird Maintenance, and they will get
it in for you. If they don't, then they are a crappy feed store.
the corns, Scratch is always better than cracked corn, scratch is best
because there is 3 or 4 different grains in it, and the cracked corn is in
it also, but cracked corn is only corn. I only get the cracked corn if they
do not have Scratch, then I go back to Scratch as soon as they get it in.
Don't get the whole corn, it is too big.
I want to warn people that it is NOT true that it is ok to feed your moldy
bread to birds, or your chickens, ducks or what ever. It is also not ok to
let them eat old or moldy seed that has sat out. All these can cause them
to get a terrible disease, called Aspergillosis, and it can be spread to
the other birds and fowl, from the mold spurs. Don't ever feed these
things, and keep old seed or food cleaned up and thrown away. Give fresh
feed daily because the mold sets in over night.
Do not feed greasy food to birds or ducks or any kind of fowl.
When you are at McDonalds or places like that, don't feed them your french
fries... or even at home, don't feed them toast scraps that has butter or
margarine on it. Their stomach can not digest greasy food, you just do
Also, don't cook around your pet birds and fowl with those
coated pots and pans, like Teflon, the fumes it puts out can kill your
birds, or make them very sick.
It is very important to make sure that you have no sitting water
around your place, in buckets, tires, or what ever. It breeds mosquitos, and
they give Pox to birds. They also give heart worms to dogs and cats. So
it is important to keep it away. Also, if you have fowl, be sure to try to keep Pigeons away.
Do not encourage them to come in. They get Pox frequently, and then they
bring it in to your fowl, and other birds around your yard.
I lost the
best Parrot I ever had because of Pox. I had a mocking bird with Pox in a
room on one side of the house, and I had my Parrot on the other side of
the house. I was very careful to wash before I got around the Parrot. But
darned if he didn't still get Pox, and die. I never kept a bird with Pox
again. I take them to the wild animal care center. They know what to do
for it there, and they will put it to sleep if it is too far advanced. I
was caring for a mocking bird with pox at the time. He had it on his face and down his throat too. I learned from that, I won't mess with a bird with Pox again. It is HIGHLY contagious to your fowl, get it AWAY from your place as fast as you can!!! It is not contagious to people, but, people can carry it to their fowl on their cloths and shoes. That is how my Parrot got it. This was about 28 years ago.
So, your fowl can get pox from mosquitos, or from other fowl who have pox being around your fowl, or from you taking it to them yourself on your cloths, if you have been around the pox.
It is ok for you to have pigeons if you do not have other fowl at your home, but, if you have fowl you should either keep pigeons away, or keep a good watch out for pox.
I always watch for pox in any bird also, pigeons are not the only ones who get it, but, they get it more often.
When I see a bird or pigeon with pox, I try to catch it and take it to the care center.
The way you tell Pox is, they look like the bird has warts, usually on his face, and around his eyes. In advanced cases, the warts can be all over it.
I did not even know my Parrot had it till he was so sick he died the next day after I took him to the vet. I didn't know he had it because, the Pox was down his throat, and not on his outer like you usually see. So it was invisible to the eyes. That was a terrible heart break!!! He was a great bird!!!!
Remember also, not only does mosquitos cause Pox in Fowl, and Heart Worm in dogs and cats, but also, Fleas cause tape worm in dogs and cats. So be sure to keep the fleas off of your dogs and cats. They have great flea protection these days.
When you find a fowl of any kind, bird, duck, or what ever, if it is
limping or has a bad leg or two, it doesn't always mean it's leg is hurt.
This is also a sign of Botulism, or Calcium deficiency, and other things also. In the wild it is usually botulism. It is best to take them to wild a animal
care center to make sure of what it is. Anytime you take a bird or fowl to
a vet, make sure they are known to be good with birds and fowl, a lot of
vets are not and they end up killing the bird. Any way, there is different
ways to treat the botulism, the most usual is antibiotics. For calcium
deficiency, of corse they need calcium. The care center will tell you how
much. But you need to know, that if you want to treat them for both, do
not give them calcium at the same time you give the antibiotic, the calcium
kills the effect of the antibiotic. Wait till you are done with the
antibiotic, then start the calcium. Of course you will give the calcium
for a longer period of time too.
When Ducks get the Botulism, it can kill them, if they do not get the right
medicine. The symptoms to it is... usually the first sign you notice is, a
lame leg, they start with a limp, then the leg will get worse and worse,
and he will start dragging the leg. Once he starts dragging the one leg,
then before long it will start in the other leg, and before long, he will
be unable to use both legs, and will be only on his belly. Then he will
just sit around, not eating and will wait to die. When ever you see a duck
like this GET HIM ON ANTIBIOTICS IMMEDIATELY!!! The sooner you get to him,
the better chance he has of recovering. Once it goes too far, then his body
will start shutting down, and he probably will not come out of it, but,
still don't give up, coz, I have seen them occasionally come out of it even
when they were very bad. They usually get the Botulism from contaminated
water. Or if they have eaten something bad, or gotten into old stale feed,
or something rotten, or eaten a rotten old egg that was sitting around.
PLEASE do not let them drink dirty or green water, or water that has
contamination in it, it will kill your ducks sooner or later. Also, keep
old feed cleaned up, and do not leave their droppings to build up, clean it
up and get it out of there, it gets a fungus on it that can get them very
sick also. Don't leave eggs sitting around to get old, throw them away if
you do not want them to be hatched.
Any time I see a duck limping, I
immediately get them on Antibiotics, just in case it is not a hurt leg
because it could be the Botulism, it doesn't hurt to be safe rather than
sorry. If you get them on the antibiotics soon enough, you can bring them
out of it and make them well.
There are Duck sicknesses that you
usually can not bring them out of and they usually die with in 24 hours of
getting it. There are shots you can get for this if you can find a vet in
time that has it and can give the duck the shot. It is very hard to find a
vet with this.
When ever you get a sick animal or bird, whether you take it to the vet or
not, it helps get them stronger and back to health better, to give them
Electrolytes in their drinking water. You can also get this at the feed
store, it comes in a powder in a small bag. It is called, "Vitamins &
Electrolytes soluble for Poultry". It replaces the electrolytes, strength,
and fluid that they loose while ill. It makes them get well sooner than if
you do not use it, and really makes them feel better.
It is hard to believe, but, some wild care centers will not help Muscovies. They have even told some people to put the duck or duckling out to die.
Some of these centers will not even tell you that they do not help muscovies, they will take the duck (with out giving you even a clue) and put them to sleep. So, always be sure of the place you are going to, make sure you can trust them. ASK them if they care for them or put them to sleep.
Tell them you do not want him put to sleep, and that you will call to check on him. Call every day or two, to check on the duck, to make sure he is ok, and see how he is. If you have a safe place to return them to, tell the center that you want him back after they get him well. They will gladly give him back to you, and that way you also know he is ok. Leave them your phone number, and have them put it right on the cage the duck is in.
Beware of centers that are not fenced, and that do not have their fowl and animals in a safe situation. If a center is going to take a fowl or animal, then it is their responsibility to see to it that they are safe. When fowl are getting killed at a center, then it is not a safe place to take them to.
If your chickens, or ducks, or birds have blood in their stool,this disease
is called, Coccidiosis. It is common in chickens. Any fowl can catch it
from the chickens.It will kill them if not treated. Do not believe that
there is no cure, and that they are going to die.,"There is a cure", and it
is simple to cure. But try to get it cured right away, because if it gets too far advanced, it can be too late.
You get "Sulmet" from a feed store, give it to them in their drinking water
according to directions, and it WILL cure them. Always remember to give
them a second treatment after 2 weeks, to make sure it won't come back.
Once they have it, and you have cured them from it, they usually do not get
it again. But when you find any that have it, do separate them from the
others, and at the same time treat ALL your fowl with the Sulmet in case
any of them are carrying it too, you will cure them all.
It is safe and for the better of your fowl, to give them a Sulmet treatment
every 3 or 4 months, it will keep them protected from getting this and
other diseases at all. And to be even safer give them a worm preventative
at the same time, right in with the Sulmet, it will keep them from getting
worms. It is called, Piperazine-17, or Purinas liquid wormer, either one.
Just put it in the same water with the Sulmet, according to directions on
the bottle. You will take care of 2 things at the same time, and keep all
your fowl healthy and protected. You give the Sulmet for 6 days, and the
piperazine for one to two days, I give it for the 2 days. You can also
give the Piperazine to your cats, I even give it to my dog.
If you have chickens that have Scale Mites on their legs, saturate their legs once a week with
Cutting oil or Motor oil, till it is gone. Cutting oil is best.
*******CAGE DANGERS......KEEPING YOUR FOWL********
I want to warn people who have birds in aviaries.
I learned all of this the hard way many years ago when I first started.
If you have ever found one or more of your birds dead with its head eaten off, it was a Owl (or rat) that got it right through the cage fence. I lost a Blue-Jay and a Finch this way. It was awful. I caught a Owl in action one eve at dusk, in the process of eating my Finches head, I scared off the Owl, and ran and got the Finch, he was still alive, but his scalp was completely gone, his skull was all exposed and bloody, he was in agony. It was so terrible. Now I knew what my poor
Blue-Jay had gone through also.
Rats will also do this same thing, I have lost some quail from rats, they pulled the head right through the cage and ate it off.
So here's what to do, you have to make sure the perches do not end where your bird will sleep at night at the end of the perch by the cage fencing. The Owl or rat reaches right in and pulls the head through. Either make sure no perches end at a area where a predator can get to, or block the area where the perch ends with plexi glass or something.
So then what happened ?......
So; I figured I'd fix them and make it so no Owls could reach the birds. I
took out all perches and put in a big tree branch that went from the floor
to the top of the aviary. It was nice.
One day I went in, and there was a corn snake in the cage with 3 bulges in
his stomach. He had eaten 3 of my Finch because he was able to climb
from the floor all the way up to where he could get the birds, it was
another awful thing to experience. So I learned from that, never have a
perch, or branch that touches the floor either or a snake can crawl up it
and eat the birds.
You have to also have the bottom perch at least a few feet off the ground,
because a snake can stand up on his tail somewhat also. I also learned to
put plexi glass all around the out side bottom of the cage, at least two feet high, to keep the
snakes from getting in the cage.
If you have chickens or Ducks in your yard, and have been finding them with
their head tore off, it is a Fox!!!!!!! For them and other predators like
them, you have to make your cage so that nothing can dig under, or of
course not be able to get over the top also. Sometimes your Chicken or
Duck may just be missing, because sometimes they carry them off. But many
times they will leave it sitting there with its head amputated, and they
eat out their inners, by using the body of your fowl as a bowl, then they leave what is left sitting there, almost as if it is asleep, it is another terrible sight. Some times they leave them a mess too, but, many times they leave them neat, because they use their body as a bowl. Coons usually leave them a mess or take them away, of course if it is missing, it can be anything, even a dog, though, dogs many times will leave them a mess too.
Once, a Racoon reached right through the cage fence and ripped my chicken to pieces to get it through the fence to eat it, and it never even left her legs. We saw the coon leaving, but it was too late by the time we discovered it, it was over, the only thing left of her was one eye and a little blood on the fence. Raccoons are known to savagely rip their prey apart, you can never be too careful at how much you secure your cages.
It is best to put plexi glass 2' high all the way around the out side bottom of your cages or coops, so that nothing can reach in and grab your fowl or animals. I also have a piece
that I put hooks on, and I hang it over the bottom 2 feet of the cage gate
every night when it is time for them to go to bed, that protects anything
from reaching through the gate too.
You need to put 2' of chicken wire on the ground, from the cage out, all around the outside bottom of the cage, and put dirt on it to keep animals from digging in. Then, if you want to, you can put 2'x2' square stepping stones (or bigger), on top of the chicken wire, right next to each other all the way around your cage, right up to the cage, and with the chicken wire and the stepping stones, it makes it so nothing can dig under. Make sure there is a roof, or strong fencing on top, so nothing can get over also, many predators can climb right over, and bob-wire is not going to keep them out, there has to be a top of some kind. If you don't have a roof, and just have fencing on top, then be sure to put a tarp over it to keep the sun out.
It is also important to make your cages strong, because many times big dogs will break into a coop or rabbit cage if it is not strong. In some areas, you have wolves and bobcats and cougars, etc, so make it STRONG!!!
Make sure that where you put your outside pens and cages for all fowl or animals has protection
from the sun, so they can get out of the sun if they want to, and also from the sun when it rises
They need to be able to get into or out of the sun at will. Always provide shade for them. A roof
is best, but, if you do not have a roof, then at least put a tarp or shade netting over the top
fencing. If you use a tarp, be sure to put a hole in it dead center so the rain can fall through, or
you will end up with a big puddle on your tarp, and it can collapse your cage from the weight of
Although the Great Blue Heron is a amazing creature to see, and a awesome
sight, remember do NOT allow them to be in your yard if you have any kind
of baby or young fowl, or rabbits or any kind of young animal. The Great
Blue Heron, will eat them all. Even if you have 20 of them, it will eat
them ALL! Up to about the size of a Pigeon. If they are that big tho, they usually wonít eat them
all, but, when they are little, they will eat them all. I have seen them taunt a mother to scatter her
young, and eat them and keep after them until it has eaten every last one. It is awful. So make
sure to keep the Great Blue Heron's out of your chicken or duck yards, or hen house, they will
even eat the smaller adult chickens. It is hard to get them away, you chase them and they just
keep coming back, and they will stay up all night after them till they get them too. They do not
give up. You just have to keep after them, but never
let them stay around when there is young, they WILL eat them.
Great Blue Heron are not the only things that eat the babies, other water birds do also, the Great
Blue is just the worst. But, they all will eat the duckling, and baby birds, and baby anything.
Even full grown birds, if they can catch them. But there are also many other things after them....
turtles, snakes, big fish, crows, hawks, cats, etc.
***********FEEDING WILD DUCKS***********
To you people who feed the wild ducks or have them in your yard... if you
feed them, would you also put out a one gallon bucket of water so they can
rinse their food down? Change the water daily, and keep mold out of it
too. If you have a lake or pond, then it is not necessary to put the bucket
of water out, unless the lake is far away. But, (this is important)... if
you live in areas that have cold winter and the water freezes, please do put
out a one gallon bucket of water for them and make sure the water does not
get frozen. The poor ducks can't get water when the lakes and ponds and puddles freeze. They
also can't find bugs and seed and things to eat, so they pretty much have to depend on people to
feed them. Scratch is better than cracked corn. So, if you will help them in the winter, and put
feed, and water in a one gallon bucket, it will be a big help.
remember, when you see the water is frozen, that means all the birds and
ducks and fowl can not get a drink, so put out bird baths for the birds,
too if you will. Animals can lick the ice or snow and still get a drink,
but, fowl can not do that, so, please always remember your feathered
friends in the winter. Wild bird seed for the birds too.
***********YARD FOWL PETS***********
If you have fowl like Ducks or Chickens, etc, running around free on your
property, then it is your responsibility to protect them. If they are
getting eaten by fox, or coons, or skunk, dogs, or what ever, then it is not a
safe home for them, you are causing their doom.
You need to put them in pens to sleep at night, or for Ducks you can have a
big pond or lake, but, it still is best to put them in pens at night even
if you do have a pond or lake. But, for ducks you need to at least have a
pond if you have ducks running free, it is their only protection for when a
predator comes, they jump into the lake or pond to escape. (Of course it has to be
a decent size pond, or the fox can still get them.) Also, in the winter if the lake freezes, it is no
good to them, they are not protected when the pond or lake is frozen over, and predators are even
hunting more when it is cold, so, the ducks sitting by a frozen lake are just waiting to be killed,
what else can they do?
If you have ducks or chickens running loose, and do not provide safety for them, then you are
causing their death. They need a pen to be put in at night or a lake, and
chickens need a pen too. It is always up to the people to protect their
animals. Another reason it is best to have a pen even if you do have a pond
is, the female ducks, go off to make their nest, the whole time they have
their nest, they are away from the pond, and at least 90% of the time, they
will get killed while on their nest. That is what they mean by the expression... ďSitting
With a pen or not, you should put at least one trap out and catch
predators. You can get a trap from feed stores, or order them, or you can
even barrow one from the Humane Society and when you trap a predator, you
can take it to the Humane Society and they will relocate the animal..
You should keep a trap out at all times and catch
all of them. It can help to have dogs to protect the fowl, as long as the
dogs are trained to protect them and not to hurt the fowl. But, many times
a fowl gets killed while the dog is sleeping where he does not see what is
going on. The best safety is always a pen that is predator protected with
things like I tell you here on this page.
If you want to train them to sleep in pens, then you need to close them in
the pen for about 6 months, do not let them out at all. Then after the 6
months, you open the gate in the morning, but do not make them go out, just
open it. Keep the feed and water in the pen, so they have to go in and out
to eat. Then, when you take the dinner and bread treat out to them and they
come running to eat, shut them in with their dinner and leave them in all
night. Make sure they are all in there. They should adjust to this. If you
have to go away one day, then don't let them out that day at all.
But, what ever you do, remember, they are your pets and animals, they are
there because you have them there, it is up to you to protect them.
You don't realize what happens at night. The world is a different place
than it is in the day time to us. At night the world of nocturnal animals
wake up and prowl around all night, looking for food, it is a hell to fowl
and other gentle creatures. It is a monster movie to them, but, it is real.
They really DO have to watch out for the beast to come and tear them up.
Out of pens, they NEVER get a good night sleep, having to try to watch out
for the beast, but they can not see the beast like the beast can see them,
so they do not know till it is too late. It is not fair really, coz, the nocturnal animals have good
vision at night too, and the ducks and other fowl do not, so, they are pretty much at the mercy of
the predator... and they have no mercy. If the duck does not see the predator sneaking up on him,
he is a dead duck, while he is sitting there innocently trying to sleep. They NEVER get a good
nights sleep, NEVER.
So be sure to protect them from that. This world is HELL for nice
***********SOME MUSCOVY INFO***********
Muscovy Duck eggs take from 33 to 35 days to hatch....
If you want to hatch some eggs in a incubator, you can get the incubator at a feed store. First let the eggs come to room temperature, by leaving them in a room for about 5 hours before you put them in the incubator.
Please do remember to CAREFULLY turn the eggs over every 12 hours. The mother turns them several times a day. Stop turning them for the last 2 days before they hatch.
Also, do not lay the eggs on their ends, only on the sides. Make sure that the fatter end of the egg is not tipped down, kind of tip it up a little bit, but not much. That is the air end, where the baby gets it's air to breathe.
Do not keep opening the top to the incubator and letting the heat out. Only open it when you have to turn the eggs, and then close it right away.
Keep watching the temperature so it does not get too hot or cold in there, you will need to keep it at the right temperature. Go by the temperature your incubator tells you to go by.
Depending on your incubator, you may need to mist the eggs daily with warm water, only a mist, not a drench. Some incubators don't need that, others do. Don't slam the door when you shut it, do it as quiet as you can. Read the directions with the incubator, and go by them.
You may not even need to buy a incubator at all... if you happen to have any chickens or other fowl that will hatch eggs, then just put your muscovy eggs in with hers, she will hatch them and you don't have to be bothered with it.
Have you ever seen a duck with his wings sticking out to the side like they
grew in backwards? Well that is called "Angel Wings". It is common in
Muscovy Ducks, you do see it occasionally, not a lot. If you set the wings
before they get grown in well, you can change that, and your ducks can have
normal wings. Sometimes they are just too bad and won't change, but, many
times you can set them, if you get it before the duck grows up. Do it as soon as you see that the wing or wings are growing wrong.
There is another problem ducks can get that can end up to turn into Angel Wing, and that is what I call 'lazy wing'. If you raise a duck from a baby and he lays around a lot, when his wings start growing in, they will lay on the ground wrong and will grow in that way, and this will turn into Angel Wing. Make sure your duckling do play a lot and don't lay a lot so this does not happen, and also because it is important for them to get exercise.
How to tell the males from the females when they are young....
Many times the tiniest one's turn out to be males, but, not always, so, you
can't go by that. But, when they are getting around a month and a half, the
females will start maturing and the feathers will start maturing and
looking more like a duck. The females will stay more compact and petite as
they grow. The males will start getting bigger and more awkward looking,
their feathers will not start maturing as soon, and their feet and beak
will get bigger. The females feet and beak will stay more in proportion to
her size, but the males will get bigger and clumsier looking. It takes the
male quite a bit longer to mature than it does the females also.
Do Muscovies fly?........
Yes, but, not all take to flying. Some Muscovies like to fly and some
don't. The females fly more and are better flyers than the males, but, both
can fly. One thing bad about many muscovies is, they like to perch on the
fence, and if they end up in your neighbors yard, their dog can get them
easy. If you think your duck that can fly is safe in your neighbors yard,
you are wrong. Once the duck gets in the wrong yard, they get scared, and
can forget to fly. You will see them praceing back and forth along the
fence, and they can't get out. Eventually they might think to fly, but,
they may not either. So, please get them out of there, cause it stresses
them out to be stuck in there. Also, if the dog comes, they usually forget
to fly also from fear and panic, so, please don't let them be stuck in your
Another thing bad about perching is, it encourages them to fly, and if you
do not want them to fly, then you also should not give them things to perch
on. If they fly, many times they will fly away to make a nest where you
can't find them. Any time one of your female ducks is missing, she is
probably on a nest some where, (or dead by a predator) You should go find
her and get her in so she can not be killed on her nest. Also, if you see any of your females walking puffed up and acting like she is mad, and squeaking at the males and even at you some times, it means she is laying on a nest, and she is telling every body, especially the males, to leave her alone. So, that is
a sure sign, she is nesting, and you better go find her nest. When you find it, if you donít know how old the eggs are, then you should look through one with a strong light. If it is pretty clear, you can throw them away if you want. If you canít see through it then there is probably a baby in there.
Mating season is spring and summer, almost up till they start molting.
During this time the Male ducks are over sexed. You need to watch that the
males do not jump your females too much, they can injure the females in
many ways, and ware them out if they get jumped too much. It is best to have more females than males, so there is plenty of females for the males to jump. But, if you do
have less females, or males that are jumping the gals too much, please do
SEPARATE the females, so they do not get hurt and or worn out. Don't get
mad at the males, they can not help when nature calls. They do not
understand. But, you can help by having mercy on the gals and get them out
of there, put them in a different pen or area some how till mating season
Around August or so, all fowl and birds start molting. (in America) During
this time, many of the ducks get very touchie and stand offish. They do not like
to be touched, or bothered much during this time. They do not eat as good,
and the guys stop jumping the gals, and many of them, just sit in a corner
someplace so they can be left alone. Their going through molting is kind
of like us going through the change of life, except, they have to go
through it once a year. Just like people, some of them take it worse than
others. Some do not show any change at all, others do. The ones that it
does bother, just let them alone and when they are close to the end of
their moult, they will be their old self again.
Some people emailed me
around the time that the ducks are molting and ask me why the ducks are
dirty and not taking baths. The answer to this is that their feathers age
during the year, and get old and ragged and fade, and the closer they get
to the moult, the worse they look, and they look bad also while they are
going through the moult. Once they get through it, then they will have
brand new shiny feathers, to last them for the next year. They moult every
year. Some of them take longer than others to get through it also. So
remember that, they are not dirty, they are just going through the moult.
The only time the ducks will get dirty is if they have no lake or pond to
take a bath in, or if there is something wrong with the lake or pond that
they usually go in.
People have asked me if a all yellow or all white baby Muscovy will grow up to be all white. The answer is No, not necessarily. Many times a all white baby will grow up to be black and white, or brown and white, etc. They can even turn out to be mostly black. I had one in particular who was pearly white, and he turned out to be all black.
There is 2 types of Muscovies... there is the domestic kind, and there is the wild kind. The domestic ones are some what bigger than the wild ones. Many times the domestic ones are all white, and if you want them to stay all white, then you have to make sure that you mate them with a all white also. But, of the wild ones, "usually" a all white baby will not grow up to be all white.
Some people have written to me and told me that their Muscovy is aggressive, and want to know why, and what to do about it.... Let me tell you right now... HE IS NOT AGGRESSIVE!!!! He is A VERY SPECIAL DUCK.... It is usually always a male that does this. They pull at your pants or dress, and they nip at your arm, even putting bruises on you, because of the nail on the end of their beak. They try to jump on you, and they huff and puff and won't leave you alone.
Well... these are just VERY TAME DUCKS. This is just the way they play and try to tell you that they really care for you. Have you ever had a puppy dog, that gets like that as he grows up? You try to go by him, and he pulls on your pants, and jumps on you wanting to play and trying to get your attention? Well, this is exactly the same thing that the Muscovy is doing when he does this. He is just trying to play and get your attention. When a Muscovy like this loves you, boy, he really loves you, and you have a great pet there....
If you have a duck like this... don't get mad. Just wear tall rain boots around him, that way when he pulls on your pants or nips at your leg, he will get the boots instead, and it is really funny to watch him going after the boots. But the boots will protect you from it. Watch getting your arm or hands around his beak, he will try to grab it so he can pull you to him, he is not biting you, but, trying to get your attention and trying to play with you. Do not bend down with your back to him, or he may jump on your back, and his toe nails can scratch your back.
This wonderful duck is so misunderstood. HE WILL MELLOW OUT with age. Just knowing how to handle him, and understanding that he is not aggressive but that he is just one of the friendliest ducks wanting to love you, is important.
Muscovies have different personalities. There are the mellow ones, who just kind of wander around and lay around a lot, and there are one's who are more jolly than that, those are normal muscovies, they are friendly and nice pets, but then every so often, one out of 50 or so, turn out to be like this duck I am talking about. They are PEOPLE LOVING ducks. They take to PEOPLE much more than the other ducks do. They also prefer people over other ducks. They will just wait for you to come around. They get all excited as soon as they see you.
When they are huffing and puffing, they are trying as hard as they can to talk to you, and to tell you how they are crazy about you, and are trying to play with you. They are saying. "OH BOY!! Come on, lets play"!! They do not mean to hurt you in any way, not do they understand that they are. The older they get the more this will mellow out, and they will even be better because, they will tame dowm with the rough stuff, and just want you to pet them and hug them and they will soak it up. They will let you sit them on your lap and hold them. Just put a paper under their bottom. I even have some that I taught to play ball, we roll the ball back and forth. It takes a LOT of time to teach them this, but, once they get the hang of it, they will. Maybe not all will, but, some will. One of mine even "MELTS" when I pet him, he slowly sinks down and lays down and swirms his neck and head all over my hand and arm, and he is in HEAVEN when I do that, he LOVES it. They also love for you to sing to them. I have a sweet song for each of the ones like this, and they all know who each song belongs to, and also, they all know their name. By the way, all Muscovies will get to know their name, if you raise them calling them by name a lot. I could tell you soooooooooooooo much more about all the muscovies, and especially about these wonderful one's, who are so misunderstood, but, I can't put it all in here.
But, I will tell you... DON'T GET MAD AT THESE DUCKS!! They are NOT aggressive, they acturally are just the opposite... they ARE THE FRIENDLIEST DUCKS IN THE WORLD!! Literally!! You just need to know this, and to know how to handle them. Wear those boots, and don't give up on them. LEARN them, GET USED to them. You will get the hang of it. You also get used to the nipping, and when you get good at it, they won't even be able to nip you coz, you know how to avoid it. I laugh when they go at my boots, it is so funny.
But, if you do NOT want a muscovy to grow up to be like this, then what you need to do when you raise them, is to, NOT be too familiar with them. Don't love them too much, and don't spend a lot of time petting and playing with them, etc. Muscovies will grow up to be nice pets any way with no affection. But, if you give them a lot of affection, you will end up with some ducks like this.(You may end up with some any way, just because they are the people ducks, and they love you.)
The worst thing in the world people can do with ducks like this is to take them out and dump them. Many people do that, and THAT is how Muscovies do get to be called aggressive. Because when you take this kind of duck out and dump him, then he will run up to and try to play with the first person they see, and THAT PERSON WILL THINK THE DUCK IS ATTACKING THEM!! So PLEASE DO NOT TURN THESE DUCKS LOOSE!! That WILL get the duck killed, because the person will probably kill it trying to get it away from them. Imagine if this duck does this to a 3 or 4 year old child... you will get the duck killed and also can cause a child or a old person to get hurt, (or any body) so do not let these ducks free. It is a SHAME if you do, because it will just be the innocent ducks doom, and some one may get hurt, (scratched or nipped), and then the duck will be killed by some one who he THINKS is his friend. So if you raise these ducks, and end up with any like this, he is your responsability, and you keep him, or if you do not want him, then find him a home to some one who knows these kind of ducks, and not to some one who will eat him, that is like letting some one eat your dog!!
I have got some more to tell you about these ducks, but I do not have time now, so, I will put more on about them asap. I will explain more later.
There have been a few people who have written to me that do not want the ducks in their yard, and asked me how to get rid of them with out hurting them. First, I want to thank you for at least not wanting to hurt them.
The best way to get them to go away, is to jet them with a hose every time they come around. Make sure there is nothing in your yard that draws them, and when you see them coming, jet them with the hose. They will run from it, they hate to be jetted.
It may take some time, but, once they see that every time they come into your yard they will be jetted, then they should stop coming. If you have something like a pond or something that they like a lot, it will be hard to get them not to come, you need to have a fence.
But, usually people who have ponds like the ducks coming around, they put life and meaning to your pond.
Also, to keep down the duck population, you can gather the eggs.
Here is the proper way to do it...
The proper way to gather eggs is to let the mama lay all of her eggs.
She will lay about one a day, and may lay up to about 16 to 23 eggs (somewhere around there)
When she is getting ready to start incubating them, she will lay her feathers over them. When she does this, then watch and when she leaves the nest to go eat or something, then easily push back the feathers, and count the eggs, then put the feathers back.
Then count them daily. When she has not laid another egg for 3 or 4 days, then she is done laying eggs, and will start sitting.
This is when you take the eggs. Try to take them when she does not see you.
After you have taken the eggs, push the feathers aside and leave the nest open and vacant for her to see.
After you know that she has seen it, wait a few hours, and then put a big rock, or a bucket or a basket ball in her nest, or something like that, that fills her nest, so that she can not lay in it any more. Then she will go on about her life.
When people do get wild baby birds, most of them get a eye dropper, and put
water or milk down their throat. Do NOT do this. Baby birds do not drink.
They get their liquid from their mother's saliva, and/or the liquid in
their food. You must also not get water in the little air hole in the back
of their mouth. You can drown them.
To give them water you moisten their bites of food some, not a lot, that
would make it too juicy so it gets in the air hole, just a little. When
they get older and can perch by their self, then you can put some water in
a little container, and put it in with them, and let them start drinking,
when they discover it on their own. You can let them see it drip off of
your (clean) finger, so they get the idea, but don't make them drink, just
show them. They will pick it up when they are ready. To find out what to
feed them, call the animal care or zoo near you, and they will tell you the
formula. Or e-mail me, as long as you know what kind of bird it is.
When you have your birds in cages by a window in your house, make sure to
put them only by a north or south window. If you put them by a east or
west window, the sun is going to shine right on them in the morning or
evening, and this is very bad for them. It is too hot on them, and the
glass makes it even hotter.
Be careful about cats or other animals jumping up on the window sill out side where a birds cage
is near a window on the inside. A startle like that can cause your birds death. The bird will jump
all over the cage, and very easily kill himself in the process, plus it is very easy for birds to have
heart attacks. A cat getting around a bird in a cage at all, can cause the
bird to have a heart attack all by itself.
Be sure you do not have your
bird cages near your AC vents, or heat registers or any heater, or near a
ceiling fan or any fan that blows on them or near them, or anywhere where
they are sitting in a draft. Fowl and birds get pneumonia very easy.
When you have baby chicks or ducks in a incubator, please don't take them
in and out, and don't keep lifting the lid. It is important to keep the hot
temperature in there and at a even temperature with out it going up and
down. You must keep the temperature steady, one chill can kill the babies.
They will get sick then soon die. Always keep a thermometer in there and
check it often, to make sure your temperature stays the same.
you who let your birds fly around your house, please remember to turn off
the ceiling fans first, or they will get killed if they fly into it. Also,
watch your birds so if they happen to land on top of a door, that no one
shuts the door, or a wind does not blow it shut. It will kill the bird
PLEASE!!!Always provide SHADE for your animals. I can not believe all the
cows and birds and dogs and other animals I see that have no shade. I can't
believe people are that STUPID!!!! They are causing their animals agony.
Have you ever seen the poor cows all try to smash their selves under one
skinny billboard or small tree? It is awful!!!! They are miserable. In
the sun, animals can foam at the mouth, and go into convulsions, and die in
agony!!!!!! Please always provide shade and water, and leave excess water
on hot days. Plant trees for shade if you have animals so they can get out
of the sun, please have mercy on them.
On the other hand... don't put
your animals in a place where they can't get any sun at all. They need to
be able to get good daylight but not the sun shining on them. Total shade
is bad too. It is good to have a well shaded area in the summer, but, not
the whole cage or pen area, and not direct sun either, just good
You know those dogloos you see at the stores? you know how
they say they keep the dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter? well,
that is not true. Don't ever put them, in the sun in the summer. They get
hot as a oven inside in the sun. Don't put any kind of dog house or
animal house in the sun. The only time it is ok to put them in the sun is
if it is cold winter, then it is good to put them in the sun, as long as
when summer comes you remember to put them in the shade.
You people who
have cows, etc... plant them some trees. If you put a fence around the
trunk of the tree about 3' out from the trunk, then they can not reach the
trunk to eat at the bark, so, put that around the trunk so they can have
shade, rather than to cut down all the trees and give them no shade. That
will stop them from eating the bark, and they can still get shade from the
***********YARD DUCKS & BIRDS************
If you are planning to put a pond in your yard for ducks, first, DONíT PUT IT IN THE FRONT
YARD!! That is the worst place to get the ducks to hang out. It is too close to the street and
encourages them to hang out in the front by the street, where they can get killed. There isnít any
privacy for them there either. Put the pond in the back yard, where they can enjoy a life.
I have seen many people who feed ducks or birds, put the feed right out by
the street to feed them. This is very bad, you can cause them to get hit
by a car, and, you could cause a accident and cause people to get hurt too.
NEVER feed them by the street.
Also, if you are putting food out that causes them to cross the street to
get to your feed, the same goes for that. You are doing them more harm,
getting them to cross the street. It is better not to feed them at all
than to maybe cause them to get killed or cause a accident.
thing is, if you have a dog or cat, or your neighbor has dogs or cats,
don't encourage birds or ducks to come to get food, you are going to cause
them to get killed. Just don't feed them at all if you have dogs or
I have also seen people walking their dogs and they watch them
chase the ducks, and they laugh. It is NOT funny!! Some of them say, "well
the dog won't hurt the duck, he's just playing"... That is not the point,
he may kill him, but also, the duck does not know if the dog is playing
with him or not, the duck is terrorized, because he thinks he is going to
be killed. All fowl already have fast heart beats, and ANY scare, can cause
them to have a heart attack, because it makes their heart go too fast, and
that and the fright is too much for them, and they have a heart attack.
They may not have it right then, they may go off and have a attack. So
please, don't let your dogs or cats scare any fowl.
I had a turkey, in a
cage in our own yard, and one day when I was away, the neighbors dog got
into our yard, and he terrorized our turkey to death, and the dog was out
side of the cage, but, he still killed my turkey. When I got home, I saw it
in action. That was on the west side of me... on the east side of me, my
other neighbors cat, jumped up on my window ledge, and it scared my Sparrow
to death inside the house in his own cage, I was right there when it
happened. I have had it ALL happen, so I know what I am talking about. Us
people who have Fowl, have a lot of trouble trying to keep our fowl safe
from predators, but, also from our neighbors animals.
People who have cats really upset me. They have cats and just let them
run loose, and don't care what they do, nor where they go, and they don't
know where in the world they are. Well, I can tell you where they are a lot
of the time... they are out killing birds!! They also kill lizards.
There are several cats in our neighborhood that come to my house, and come
in my back yard, and kill the birds in my back yard. It is not right!!
Keep your cats home where they belong!!
They don't belong in your neighbors yard, killing her pets. Have mercy on
your neighbors, you don't know what you are putting them through. And have
mercy on the poor little birds and lizards.
And don't say..."Oh my cat
doesn't do that, he's ok"... YES HE DOES DO THAT!! A cat is a cat
my animals in my yard, where they should be safe, but, dogs and cats come
in any way. The cats moved in...
I don't know who's cats they are, but, almost daily, they are killing or
trying to kill the fowl in my yard. They kill the birds, the baby chicks
and ducks, and the little More-hens that live by the lake. I can not keep up
with them. I have chased them and chased them, and they keep coming back. I
can tell you what I have had to do to try to help stop them from killing
the fowl in my yard... and it helps, it doesn't stop them, but it slowed it
down...I feed the cats, in my front yard twice a day, morning and evening,
to try to keep them out of my back yard. It has helped take down how many
they kill. Before they were killing them every day, but now, they are
hanging around out front more, and don't go in my back as much. They still
go out there and get after them, but, not as much.
But, either way... that is not right. What if I got a big dog, or many of
them, and just let him run loose, and let them come over to your house and
eat your cats? I like cats, I care for all animals, but, it is people who
just let their cats (or dogs) go any where they please that is trouble. I
shouldn't have to feed the neighbors cats to keep them from killing my fowl
in my own yard. I have enough animals to feed.
It isn't the cats fault.
I like cats, I just don't like that people let their cats go any where they
want, and do what ever they want. If nothing else, at least put a bell on
their neck, so they can't sneak up on birds and Lizards.
Please also don't give kids BB guns. They always end up shooting the birds and lizards..
**********DOG + CAT HEALTH**********
Did you know that mange on dogs and cats, is also Scabies on people? Yep.
They're about the same. And people can catch Scabies from dogs that have
mange. Mange and Scabies is both HIGHLY contagious!! Try to keep your
animals from getting mange.
There is 2 kinds. The regular kind, and one that is incurable. One good
thing is, the incurable one is rare.
I'm going to tell you how to cure
the normal one. This is going to sound crazy, but we have done it several
times, and it works if anything is going to do it! You take your dog, and
get him out back where he isn't going to get on any furniture or anything
that he can mess up. Tie or chain him up if you have to. You get "Cutting
Oil", and take the dog, get him down, and LOAD him up with the cutting oil.
I mean COMPLETELY SATURATE him with it. Cover him in it entireally!
THICK!! And do that every few days for a couple weeks, and it'll do the
It takes time, and is messy! But it will get him well. After he gets
well, in about a month, give him another treatment, just to make sure it
doesn't come back. If you keep doing this, and it doesn't work...then it is
the incurable kind, the dog will probably have to be put to sleep. Unless
they have found a cure yet, I haven't heard of it tho. But it doesn't hurt
to check with the vet to see. They are always coming up with new things
When you do this to the poor dog, or cat...they are NOT
gonna like it!! And they will go roll and roll. And that will get black
oil where ever they do it, so be sure to keep them outside, where they are
in a place they can mess up.
there is a shot they have at the vet now that will cure mange. I don't know
if it works on the incurable kind, but it does work on the curable kind.
You get the shot for your dog every 2 weeks till the mange is gone. It is
wonderful, and it does the trick with no mess or anything. So that is the
first choice, get that shot. You will need to keep the dogs away from where
the dog was around a lot when he had the mange, and really clean and spray
the area good and keep the dogs away from there for a good month or more.
Do this with either the oil or the shot, or they will just get it right
back if they go around the same area. Mange is mites under the skin, and
they form scabs and when the dog scratches, they drop the mites and scabs,
and anything that gets in it can pick it right up. You can carry it right
into your house on the bottom of your shoes. Never have a dog in your house
Do not feed dogs or any bird or animal, chocolate... it can kill dogs, and
it is bad for any creature.
You know those Rawhide bones and chewable
Rawhide twists they sell for you to give your dogs? Well, they can kill
them. They should not sell them. They are ok, as long as they do not get
soggy... but once they get soggy, if the dog swallows it, their stomach
cannot digest it, and it will or can kill them. If you want them to have
them any way, then, when they get soggy, take them away from the dog, and
let it dry out good before you give it back to them. Keep taking it away
when it is getting soggy, and let it dry out. I think it is best to just
not give them to the dog at all, why take the chance?
If you have a dog that tears your house up when you leave... don't get too
mad at him... he does it because he loves you too much, and he can't stand
it when you go away and leave him.
Here is what to do about it... When you go away, leave him in a good size
dog carrier. That will keep him from tearing up your house, and it also
helps to keep him more settled than if he is loose. It might seem cruel,
but, it is better for him and you. Leave him a dog bone to chew on and his
favorite toy, and what ever else you may want to give him. It also helps to
keep him happier if you leave him one of your dirty shirts or something
that you have worn that has your smell on it. You can leave him in there
several hours, he will be ok, up to about 8 to 10 hours. If you leave him
in a kennel for when you go for longer periods of time, also leave him your
clothing so he has your smell to keep him company, it will help a lot.
Cat and dog owners, please put Ear mite solution in their ears once a week.
It is so easy to do, and it keeps those awful mites out of their ears. If
you don't want to get the mite medicine, just put about a half teaspoon of
Castor Oil in their ears once a week, it will do the trick.
your cats and dogs wormed. Cats especially. Cats always get worms, and can
also give you worms in your skin, or in your feet if you walk bare-footed
where cats have poo'd, and in the dirt, those worms can stay in that dirt
for 7 years, and can get in your feet. Some people have gotten seriously
ill from the worms, and some have even died. So, watch those litter boxes,
and other places where you walk barefoot around where cats have did their
stuff. People don't like to hear this, but, if you don't keep your cats and
dogs wormed, and free of parasites, you can get several things from them.
Don't let cat's and dog's on your furniture or beds if you do not use these
preventatives. It is best to worm them 3 or 4 times a year just like any
other animal or fowl.
Please do not let your dogs or cats play with or eat frogs or lizards or things like them, they can get Coccidia from them.
Now days for some reason, you will see stuffed toys in the pet shops for you to buy for your dog to play with, and tear up. Please do not get these for your dogs. They help teach your dog to tear up and kill innocent creatures, and it can even be dangerous for these dogs to be around your young children, especially babies and toddlers, and even worse if the child happens to have a stuffed toy in his hands.
If you have animals, then you have rats too that come out at night. You can
not put poisons or traps out, cause that can hurt the birds and squirrels
and other good animals, besides your own animals. The best way to cut way
down on them is to be sure to have all the feed taken up by night time.
Then there is nothing to draw the rats.
**********DUCKS N RAIN***********
Many times when it is raining, I hear many people say;
"Only the Ducks are happy on days like this" .... Well, that is false!
Ducks hate rainy weather just as much as we do, and more.
Because, when it is raining... they have to stand at attention, in order
for the rain to run off of them, otherwise, they get water logged. The
harder it rains, the straighter up they have to stand. Imagine, on a day
that it pours all day, having to stand and stretch yourself straight up
like a soldier, and be rained on, and stand there like that, till the rain
is over. Now here is where the ducks like rain.... "When it is OVER"....
then they do love to go play in the puddles, just like a kid.
It is not
too bad for them when it is sprinkling, they usually put up with that, but
when it is raining, they turn into soldiers at attention.