Welcome Thelma and Louie!
Stories from the Savvybeast farm:
Hello and welcome to stories from the Savvybeast farm! This is where we’ll tell you about the fun and interesting things that happen around here. First up, here’s the story of how we acquired our first ducks to the farm, Thelma and Louie. My husband Roger and I chose to live on a farm in upstate New York for many reasons, including the fact that it gives us the ability to adopt animals that are in need and provide them with a good life. Here, we can create a life that is close to nature and the beauty of the earth. Being in this rural area also allows us to use natural locally sourced ingredients for our pet products. Another reason we like our farm is because we have a deep respect for all animals, and we love being surrounded by them every day. We have many wild animals that come to visit us on a daily basis, from wild deer galloping through our land with their fawns in tow during the spring and early summer months, to bald eagles flying high above. We even have a huge snapping turtle we call Zippy that has made our land her home. She comes every year to pick the perfect spot to lay a clutch of eggs. Once we find her chosen nesting spot, we always make sure they are undisturbed, even if they end up in the middle of one of our gardens – which happened recently. We believe all animals deserve a peaceful life, even trespassing turtles. While we do have many happy chickens living on our farm, we had not planned on having any ducks until a fateful day late last year. One of my friends in New York reached out to me, telling me that she had seen an advertisement on Craigslist offering two ducks. Worried that whoever decided to take the birds would simply eat them, my friend decided to take them home with her. But as she lived in an apartment, it was not exactly the ideal place for ducks to live and she knew she had to find them a better home. When my friend showed me videos and pictures, my heart immediately melted for those little ducks. They were barely older than ducklings, and still had some of their baby fuzz showing underneath their new white adult feathers. Rescuing animals is close to my and my husband’s hearts and when I heard about those two ducks that were living in the cold and concrete of New York City, I knew they needed our help.
The only trouble was that Roger and I didn’t know anything about ducks. Would we be able to give them a good home? What did ducks eat? I had a lot of studying to do so before I said yes to adopting them, I got to work learning all I could find out about ducks. I watched videos on YouTube, read articles and gathered as much information as I could to make sure we could give them the kind of home they needed. After a quick education in duck husbandry, Roger and I felt like we were ready to take on some new feathered friends, so we said yes and adopted the two ducks to our farm. There was one male and one female, so we decided to name them Thelma and Louie. When we brought them home it was late August of 2020, and it was starting to get colder in Upstate New York. We had to work fast to figure out a place to keep Thelma and Louie. We originally put them into the coop with our chickens, but we soon discovered that wasn’t the best idea as the chickens didn’t like the new interlopers barging in on their turf. In fact, our normally sweet chickens became pretty mean to our new ducklings and we decided to make a home specifically for them. We didn’t want the ducklings to be indoors for months through the fall and winter, so we did some research and found out that ducks need access to water, and also to a dry area as well. Roger got to work building them a little house with an inground heated mini pool until the pond on the farm thawed. We used a large animal water trough and heated the water so that they could swim every day, rain or shine, on warm days or in freezing cold snow. Once they had their new home, Thelma made it clear that she wanted a nest, so Roger built a little nesting box for her as well. Thelma and Louie acclimated to farm life right away and thrived on a diet full of organic greens and other duck-appropriate foods. The nutrition of our ducks is very important to us, and we ensure that they have a really good diet. We buy organic dry food for them, but as an essential part of a duck’s diet are greens, we also make sure to buy them plenty of lettuce, berries and other organic vegetables and fruits from a local farmer’s market. Their favorite thing to eat for breakfast is a great big organic salad. When spring came and the pond thawed on our farm, we let Thelma and Louie out of their private coop to enjoy the water and to eat naturally from the algae, insects, and pond grasses. Along with their usual organic diet, getting out into nature and eating these kinds of natural things is a big part of why they are very healthy ducks. The coop, along with their jacuzzi-style mini tub, is situated on the hill above the pond. This lets Thelma and Louie see and be a part of nature, even while being tucked away safely from any roving wild animals that might want to try some duck for dinner. Thelma and Louie have become a big part of our pet family and we are so happy that they are with us. I think they are happier too, living on a farm rather than being stuck in a small New York apartment. One of the main reasons we adopted them is we knew that a life in the city wasn’t a good life for ducks. We are delighted to have them here with us, and to be able to give them a chance to be in their natural habitat, which is the country. Now they have a big farm and a pond to explore, and we enjoy watching them. They really are amazing animals and full of so much personality. We love listening to Thelma and Louie quack-quack as they explore and eat their greens, either in the pond or in their little pool. They have become wonderful pets and have even learned to come to their names when we call them. They get so excited when we let them out to run down the hill to the pond and go flying into the water, quacking loudly, and splashing like crazy, ducking their heads underwater and kicking their webbed feet. Our pond has huge lilies with lovely flowers and it’s nice to see the ducks enjoying all the beauty that nature provides. There are long reeds near the banks for them to wander in and search to their hearts’ content for bugs and snails with the warm summer sun on their backs. We have wild ducks that will come and land on our pond, giving Thelma and Louie a chance to see and interact with their wild relatives. Our ducks have always been inside and therefore can’t be released into the wild, but it makes us happy that they can be as close as possible to being wild while still being safe. One of the other many great things about having our ducks is that Thelma started laying eggs when she was about six months old. Sometimes she lays an egg every day and sometimes she skips a day and lays one every other day. I have been using the eggs when cooking and they are so creamy and wonderful to eat, especially when I use them in my baking. Ducks’ eggs are definitely different from chicken eggs, and we have found them to be super delicious. When I work in the garden, Thelma and Louie want to follow me everywhere I go. They are very vocal and like to quack, quack, quack, and waddle along as I tend to our new wildflowers. The ducks always let me know when they would like me to feed them, they are definitely not shy about asking for their meals or snacks. Our garden has a variety of wildflowers, such as irises and elephant trees. I like to plant a combination of plants and flowers in our garden, ones that will blossom throughout the year at different times so that there is always something blooming. We don’t use any chemicals on our farm so keeping up with the weeds is a chore, but it’s more fun with the sound of quacking following me as I pull up pesky weed intruders. Now that we have our ducks, one of the things I really like to do it sit out on my deck drinking my morning coffee while watching Thelma and Louie as they splash around the big pond, looking for insects and algae in the long grasses near the shore. We also found out that ducks love to play in the mud and these two love to jump in and get dirty any chance they get. We also have an organic vegetable garden and I’ve even planted flowers on our deck. I love to have nature around me, everywhere I look, and the farm is great for that. It’s also the perfect place for us to create our natural pet treats. In between tending to the garden, taking care of our animals, and exploring our land with all its natural beauty, Roger and I produce our natural pet treats. On any given day on the farm, you may find us picking vegetables from the garden in the morning, then letting the ducks out to fly in the pond, then letting the chickens out of their coop to cluck and peck their way around the yard. Later, you may find us in our industrial kitchen we had especially built on the farm, creating our Dogstars beef jerky treats. We like to shop at local farmers’ markets for fresh, organic locally grown produce. We feed our pets the same quality of foods that we ourselves eat and we ensure that the pet treats we make, and sell are of the same caliber. Nothing but the best for our pets and for the pets of our customers. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates from the farm, including a very fun new surprise! We love Thelma and Louie so much that we have decided to expand our duck family with some new baby ducklings. Keep reading our blog to find out the story of our new babies.