Quack, Quack, Quack!

…One little duck with a feather on his back, he led the others with his “quack, quack, quack.”

Of all the songs to get stuck in my head that is always the one. I drop the kids off at daycare and it takes until I get to work that I realize I’m singing along with Toddler Tunes and I’m the only one in the car. Just a little “TMI”.

I was rather disappointed when we decided to not order butchering chickens for this season. We still have plenty in the freezer and with the anticipation of a freezer of Elvis, a possible pig and with any luck a deer we really don’t need more chickens for now. (sigh)

Instead, we are getting ducks!

It took a day or two, but I got super excited about this new adventure. I’m planning a pond in the orchard and having my amazing construction crew (Mike and Dad) to install a “duck door” on the frying pan side of the chicken run. Mike had picked out a “hatchery surplus special” for ducks. We like to looks at surplus specials because its a great way to get a variety of birds for a lesser price. I like a mixed flock; they look nice pecking about with all the different colors. I do like to try to stick with the same general size of bird because a bunch of large birds can easily pick off a little one if they so choose. I’ve also been told keeping a mixed flock helps to prevent some disease. I don’t know that for a proven fact but our birds haven’t had any problems so far. (knock on wood)

I was all set to order the variety pack until I started looking… I found hatching duck eggs!

Yes!

We can use the new incubator and hatch a variety pack of ducks. I would be thrilled to see the little guys hatch and I have no doubt that the kids would love it too. It’s official, Mike agreed. We get to hatch ducks!

After a bit of searching we picked out a dozen Indian Runner Duck eggs- 6 fawn and white, 3 Blue and 3 Chocolate. It’s not the mixed breeds that I tend to lean towards with chickens but the runners are too funny to not have a whole flock. The minimum egg order is a dozen and from what I’ve read the hatch rate of shipped eggs is only about 50%, which is quite disappointing. On the other hand if we can get so lucky as to hatch one drake (male) and the rest hens (ladies) we would be set. Runners don’t like to sit on their eggs but they are some of the most prolific layers. We have an incubator to hatch whatever we would like once the flock is started and as for the rest of the eggs, well, I see some amazing custard coming out of the wood fire stove.

The eggs are set to arrive in April, you can bet there will be more to come on the quackers!

Runner ducks
Runner ducks

the photo is from a google search that brought me here:http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/natural-pest-control-ducks.aspx

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