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Rick English

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since Jan 31, 2015
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Central Pennsylvania, USA
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Recent posts by Rick English

I agree with Jen. I wouldn't punch holes in the plastic, mostly because I don't think you will get a complete solarization. You really want to kill the weed seeds.
3 weeks ago
My experience is that adult ducks don't need food and water overnight in their house.
1 month ago
Would also be curious if there is cover at the pond? My ducks often hang out in the shade under overhead cover of some type. They don't stay in at the water all day, but are constantly moving back and forth between our water and potential bug hiding spots.

Also curious, does the pond have food/life in it? I do sometimes see ponds that are fed by too much agricultural run-off and are wet deserts, with much life than I would expect to see.
1 month ago
For the slope in my yard, I did not till after solarizing, so the dead weeds/grass helped hold the seeds in place. It was years ago, but I am pretty sure I used a roller to help press the seeds into the ground for good soil contact.

I have a tendency to seed on the heavy side, and had no problem getting the meadow started.

My slope was moderate and easy to work on. If I had a steeper slope, I might consider a ditch, berm or swale at the top to help reduce water from running down the slope in big rain events.

Also, if you don't have a roller to press the seeds into the soul, your feet would work just fine, but might take a bit longer.

I am starting my third solarized meadow this spring, and I never tilled any of them. As long as you do something to press the seed to get good soil contact, I don't see the need to till. The meadow plants don't seem to mind the compacted soil, and loosen the soil over time.

Good luck! My wife & I both love the meadows, and we think the wildlife does too
1 month ago
We have been keeping ducks in my yard for the past few years. We have electric net surrounding  roughly a half acre for 6-ish ducks. We put them in a secure house at night.

Our most significant predator pressure have been from the flying kind. Even though we have fruit trees & berry bushes for cover, we also put up additional overhead cover. We also encourage songbirds in the yard which help deter the hawks, especially during nesting season.

Our ducks are very friendly and curious, so the idea for some guard geese may be a good one. Seems like most predators find duck mighty tasty, and the ducks don't always seem to realize they are on the menu.

Our duck area is probably half uncut grassy meadow, and the rest is mixed mulch under the trees and shrubs. The ducks eat some plant material, but their favorite activity is digging in the mulch for bugs. I suspect they would also like the forest floor for the same reasons.

I am curious how heavy the underbrush is where you plan to keep them. Ducks aren't the most mobile on land, so they may appreciate you opening things up a bit.

Also, the electric net may be tough to put out if the underbrush is too dense. Anything touching the fence reduces it's charge. During the growing season, you will need to keep the fence clear. Especially if you plan to move it. I startef with one string of mobile net which I moved every few days. I bought a second and then third section on fence, so I don't have to move it often now.

One other tip for ducks in electrics fence - keep their wings clipped, because they might be able to fly better than you expect & remember to clip them again after they molt.
2 months ago
I also do not see the recurring pie option on my android phone and do nearly all personal  surfing on my phone. I have tried many of the different suggestions, and tried a few of my own, but is not a good mobile experience for me without recent topics. That makes me skeptical to buy pie for features that are likely to not work well on my phone.

It is likely I have tried more things than an average user would have tried on their phone. In hindsight, maybe giving mobile users a good alternative or two might have been a smoother transition.

Google analytics suggests the majority of the traffic on the site is on mobile devices, so it might make sense to consider a "mobile first" viewpoint for the audience when making this type of user experience decision.

Maybe a few of us would consider some type of mobile development patreon to help support improving the site on mobile devices?

I would offer to help, but not really sure what I can do...
Yesterday, a hawk flew low over our yard and our ducks were out. The ducks did notice the hawk, and were hollering and waddling as fast as their webbed feet could go, but they would have been too slow...

My wife was concerned until she saw the songbirds, nesting in our yard, burst into the air and ganged up on the hawk, chasing it away. We imagine they were more worried about protecting their own nests, but our ducks are safer with the little birds to protect them.

We always found it strange that the ducks shared their food with the little birds, but now we don't. I guess ducks know more about some things than people.
1 year ago
One idea might be to establish a wildflower meadow. I have done that a few times and loved the results. My current meadow is now 7 years old and still going strong, with only a single trim a year.

If you like that kinda thing, this thread has lots good stuff on solarization, which preps a lawn for meadow planting in a few weeks:
2 years ago
So sorry to hear about your situation. We once lost our drake to a red-tailed hawk.

We live in a raptor haven, but we did something that has worked so far...

We put string, spaced about a foot apart, over the duck run. We used uv resistant nylon string, but have heard fishing line will work too. Imagine something that looks like a clothesline a person can walk under. My frame is roughly the same frame used for this diy trellis:

Apparently raptors think it is a net or trap they won't be able to get out of, so they won't fly in.

Hope that helps and knocking on wood it keeps working for me too 😉
2 years ago
I haven't been in your exact situation, but I do have a drake that did at one time pick on one of my five ducks. After some research, this is common drake behavior, especially in spring/mating season. It is hard to break, but sometimes the drake just stops, and finally accepts the member of the flock he was previously bullying.

Our drake was still bullying one duck after two weeks, so we removed the drake from the ducks and put him in with our pigs for a few hours, until he escaped to try to return to his flock. We let him back in with the ducks, and he did a lot less bullying. He completely stopped bullying within a  few days. Today, knock on wood, he isn't bullying any of the ducks.

In hindsight, the duck that was bullied was our youngest duck, and we think she was denying his advances, because she wasn't ready for romance yet. She no longer rejects his affections.

Might be you have a drake problem and not a goose problem 😉
2 years ago