Tuesday, June 3, 2014
There is never a dull moment when it comes to raising fowl. Right now we have them everywhere in various stages of development. The one above looks a little bit like he is giving me what for, but I think it is just a little quack of thanks to have their new large fenced in meadow to play in. As this is our first experience with ducks, it is a lot of fun to see how they differ from chickens. I do not think that our new herding baby boy (who we pick up later this week), will have any problem learning. These ducks are inseparable and always travel as a tight group.
Our adult girls are enjoying the moderate weather. It is forever fascinating to see them interact with one another and with us. They have such personalities and are wonderful egg producers for us. We are adding five more Araucanas to the mix this season, they are in that awkward teenage faze right now and will join the rest of the ladies later this summer.
Speaking of the teenagers, they look terrible right now. They are growing, but losing their down as their real feathers come in so look rather homely. They were moved out into the upper level of the chicken tractor yesterday, the ducks are below. They will remain inside for several days to adjust, then be introduced to their forage and play area. We fenced off about a third of the orchard with special electric chicken fencing, which won't effect the chickens but should keep any predators out. The ones that have colorful feathers developing are the Araucanas and will be our egg layers. The black ones are Jersey Giants and are our first go at meat chickens. These "teenagers" are a month old.
In the basement are our 27 chicks that are two weeks old. See how fast they grow!? They are in what we call their brood boxes and they have grown enough that I have just removed the heating lamp. They love to cheep and sleep. They will begin playing with each other soon. These will also be meat birds for us and we will move them out to the chicken tractor and forage yard in another 2-3 weeks. These are also Jersey Giants with an equal number of Plymouth Barred Rock's.
We end where we began with the ducks. As you can see they are in the bottom half of the chicken tractor and love their new swimming pool. They are the same age as the chickens that we just moved outside. As you can see they grow tremendously fast. They are three times the size of the chickens and moved outside almost 2 weeks ago! Ducks come in what is called a straight run, they are more difficult to sex as babies, so they may be a mix of boys and girls. We got three varieties of ducks and we are hoping the the runner ducks, which we plan to keep, will be egg layers... well and maybe one Drake for breeding purposes. An interesting fact we learned with the ducks...they cheep like the chicks, but higher pitched. I never expected that...however their voices are just beginning to change and when they get really excited I can hear an occasional and true quack slip out.