Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Peking Ducks


This year I hatched my first duck eggs, I remember Momma always hatching ducks eggs under one of her setting hens.  I took the easy road, the eggs were hatched in an incubator.  I really did enjoy watching the eggs come to life.  The only problem was trying to explain to Momma Duck these are your babies.  We did use fertile eggs from our farm so this is a second generation of our ducks.  They started out being  little yellow balls of fluff, which are so cute.  The growing process began, the feathers started coming in, when they were about 2 months old I began the introduction of Momma Duck and her babies.  She was not interested in these little ones taking over her run.  When the other ducks were out of the run I would let the babies take a swim in the pond and for a short while they had the run of the duck run.  Most of their days were spent with little chickens in the chicken tractor.

I noticed Momma Duck was not doing real good, there was a change in her eggs, she has laid every day for over 2 years and all of sudden the shell of her egg is soft and most of the eggs are broken while being laid.  Concerned I chatted with the farmer and she suggested I feel her sunflower seeds, Momma duck would have nothing to do with the whole sunflower seeds,  off to the kitchen to blend the sunflower seeds.  New problem, now she would not eat her grains with the ground sunflower seeds in them.  It was like she was saying to me, "I do not like the taste of sunflowers seeds and I do not care if you make meal out of them, I am not eating them."  Seems she was acting just like any 2 year old who does't enjoy something you feel it is important for them to eat.

Momma Duck has a real special place in my heart and I really think she has laid enough eggs so I took some time, pondering my next decision.  I love this girl, she is beautiful, doesn't bother anyone so what the heck, if her egg is soft, that is okay.  She took the little ones under her wing, and raised them, teaching them all the tricks of the trade and showing them how to be as sweet as she is.  Now the 2 little ones are laying.  Momma Duck is laying, once in a while there is a good egg with a shell that is strong enough for me to move the egg and bring to the house,  These eggs always give me a little hope.  As I add oyster shell to the bowl in their coop I think maybe she will never be 100 precent again but she is an excellent duck. and this is fine with me.  One morning,  this week I found a treat 3 strong eggs in the nest.  A surprise like this always puts a smile on my face and reminds me, you did the right thing allowing Momma Duck to stay with you on the farm.

We have a kiddie pond for them to swim in, but when I was cleaning out this spring I found some very large plant dripper trays, put one in the chicken run because they like to walk through the cool water during the summer,  one day, when all the runs were opened, the ducks took over the tray.  I knew there was one more and now it is the duck run, they get so excited when this tray is filled and often I find all 3 of my girls in this tray having a wonderful time.

We are so pleased with the behavior of our girls, if I had to make a choice and have only one type of bird it would be ducks.  They are so easy to take care of  and their eggs are delicious.  I always try to use a duck egg in anything I bake.  The richness comes through and makes me so pleased there are ducks  on Triple Creek Farm.