Well, it was bath time for the ducklings last night. They have been growing like extremely well fed weeds - as if perhaps I were feeding them growth hormone (which I am not). I was familiar with the way that chicks grow. They begin to feather out their wings and tail within a few days. They then progress to getting small feathers elsewhere, while their little bodies slowly but surely begin to show signs of growth. Ducks are entirely different.
Ducks remain entirely fluffy with down. They do not have any apparent interest in early tail or wing feathering. Indeed, their entire focus appears to be on the expansion of their duckling bodies. No wasting of nutrients on useless feathers...no no no. This is all about their bulk. They are clearly competing for the Ms/Mr Duck Universe contest. Just a fine covering of fluffy down that initially covered a cute little duckling, now covers a full sized duck. It is as if feathering is an afterthought. Now, the four largest have some hints of feathers on their tails and wings. Nowhere near flying though. Their bodies are so big, they need a full set of feathers to get any lift!
By this age, my chicks would be flying all over the basement with wild abandon, leaving telltale messages of where they had been. Not my ducklings. They just remain in their 2 foot high enclosure, happy to waddle about, strutting their stuff. None of that flying business. Flying is for sissies.
I ran the bath with lukewarm water, wanting to give them a "swimming lesson" and a chance to have fun in the water, as is the habit of ducks. One by one, I carried them from their enclosure into the tub, whereupon they hurried to the shallow end, and stood on the bottom of the tub.
I added more water. This is a swimming lesson, not a paddling lesson. I was able to get them interested in swimming about after a short while, and then the fun began.
They decided that diving was the way to go. Little duckling torpedoes all through the tub, so fast I could not keep track of them. They went over and under each other and created all manner of noises.
I can tell some are starting to develop a "quack" rather than a "peep" which might be termed a "queep." Of course, their oil gland is not in full production mode yet, so they tended to sink a bit, after a while, and I got them out of the tub, one by one.
Each duckling received a personal blow-drying session in the sink (because they do have a habit of frequent ummm....biological "release" moments).
After drying, they went back into fresh bedding in their enclosure and some fresh duckling kibble and water. One would think, from the noises they made during their post-swimming rub downs, that this was an entirely traumatic experience. I hope it wasn't really traumatic - they seemed to have fun and enjoy their playtime in the tub. They don't like being separated from each other. Once they were all back in their proper place, they all quieted down for the night.
One thing I certainly learned - there is very little similarity between raising ducklings and raising chicks!