Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Duck Patrol

We thought we would continue on introducing you to some of our farm critters that aid us in taking care of the goats. Today we’re going to talk about our favorite waterfowl: ducks! Tis the season for farm stores to carry chicks and ducklings, and we were among those who brought home babies.
            Beth brought home some Khaki Campbell ducklings to add to our current flock about a month ago. They’re doing really well and growing like weeds. It has been surprising to see how long it takes them to feather out. Especially when compared to chicks, that normally start developing feathers within their first week of life.

            The reason we go with the Khaki Campbell variety of duck is due to the fact that they are flightless. This means they can’t get out of the pasture and fly away! And we don’t have to go through the time and labor of clipping their wings. Ducks are great for anyone with pastured animals because they help control the parasite population. They help to reduce our reliance on chemical wormers to control the health of our herd. Plus, they’re cute!

            We currently have a duck hen sitting on a nest of eggs in one of our chicken coops. Last year they were able to hatch them out on their own, but this year some extra precautions were necessary. We do have some ducks that roam outside the pasture, and the neighbors informed us that either coyotes or dogs had been stealing the eggs from their nests! Thus we had to catch that particular bunch of ducks and put them somewhere safe, at least until the ducklings have hatched out and their mama no longer has to stay in one place.

            Another reason we put our roaming ducks in this coop is that the hens just tend to not sit on their eggs if they do not have a secure place to do so. We were frequently finding lone eggs just lying out in the open! Giving them a safe shelter remedied this problem rather quickly. If you love to watch ducks play in the water, or enjoy their quacking, don’t hesitate to bring them onto your farm, for they will truly do their share!

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