When we went to get Rosie, our new LGD puppy, the couple who were selling the puppies asked if we wanted some free ducks. I really miss my ducks and my geese (she had a lot of geese too, Embden and Chinese and African geese), and we had an extra, empty crate in the back of the truck since the piglets were small enough to share one crate, so hubby and I both said yes, thank you!
They turned out to be Muscovy ducks. We've talked several times about getting some Muscovies to help keep down the tick population on Oak Hill. In the past we've had a lot of trouble keeping free range poultry safe from predators, but things seem to have quieted down a bit and we are hopeful that between Cracker and Rosie, we might be more successful at it.
The hen, the smaller duck in the background, had been setting on a nest of eggs since August. Yes, August. We were told that the other duck hens continued to lay eggs in her nest, and this hen just continued to incubate them. Three or four ducklings would hatch every couple of days, but she stayed on the nest, and the woman would take the ducklings and put them in the brooder. In fact, she tried to give me the little ones currently in her brooder but we're not set up for that right now and besides, ducklings are messy and stinky. I mean, really messy and stinky. Been there, done that. Not ready to do it again for awhile.
It was probably a good thing to remove this poor hen from that nest and give her a break. She was chosen to be ours because she was easy to catch.
The male was just lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be caught in the couple's big chicken-catching net. He's very protective of the female, staying between her and me even in the crate.
I left them in the crate overnight because I had to clip their wings and knew it would be much easier to catch them than if they were loose, even in the confines of my chicken coop. I prefer not to chase animals and stress them out if I don't have to.
Muscovies are supposed to be good pets, quite personable, great insect catchers, and excellent layers and setters, raising up to 3 batches of ducklings a year. They are also supposed to be quackless - but they're not silent by any means. I've also read that they are delicious and very lean with a taste similar to sirloin or pot roast.
I'm hoping that we'll have ducklings in the spring, wouldn't that be fun?
Bringing Home the Bacon
Raising Livestock: Freezer Bound
Raising Livestock: Webbed Feet
Raising Livestock: Just Because
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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