Tag Archive | ducks

I love Springtime

I love the holidays. But I LOVE springtime more than the holidays.

Especially when it is chick days at all the local feed stores.

I told myself that I would be good.

I tried really, REALLY hard. But if you read my last post I was going through a funk. And I needed some joy.

Well baby chicks and ducks give me joy! LOTS OF JOY!!!

So we ( meaning me) have been adding to our flock.

We added 2 more Pekins. I know one is a girl for sure. And I am hoping the other is a boy. Right now I am 75% sure it is.

Pekin Ducks~Growing a large family

Then I added 6 Lavender Ameraucanas. These were straight run, meaning boys and girls, so I bought all 6 in hopes I have at least one girl. These chickens lay blue eggs. I love these chicks. I bought them from a local breeder. And they are the friendliest chicks I have ever had. We use to enjoy morning coffee together until Hubby said they had to go outside. I was sad to see them move. But now they are free and they run up to me and after me. I just love it. I know there are some roosters in there and it’s going to be so sad when I see them go. But luckily I have a local connection to get more.

Lavendar Ameraucanas~Growing a Large Family    Lavender Ameraucanas~ Growing a Large Family

Next came, my birthday present. All 29 of them! I order 27 female chicks from a hatchery. They sent me a free chick and an extra. But then I lost a few to stress, so now I have 26. All different kinds of chickens with all different egg colors. That is really my goal this year, I want to taste the rainbow of eggs from my backyard.

Last (for now), I had sold my car and was cooped up in the house for a couple of weeks. So when I got a new car I was gone! I somehow took a field trip with the kids to all the feed stores and ended up an hour away at Rural King. And they had barred rocks, like my Midnight. We had to get some. I thought we had 8 and it was actually 9; 3 Barred Rock, 3 Gold Sexlink, 1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Phoenix and 1 Egyptian Fayoumi. And a few days later, my daughter and I went to local farm event. And she ended up making friends with a family selling Jersey Giant Chicks. I paid for 1; we came home with 3!

This is Roman. Roman was suppose to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

This is Roman. Roman was supposed to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

As I type, because I had some eggs hatching over the weekend, we are up to 87 chickens. I know that I can’t keep all 87, but my hubby is worried that I don’t understand that. But I swear, I am in the process of listing and selling some of them.

Because I gotta make room for my next batch shipping in June!

 

Culling on our homestead

When you are running a homestead or farm, there are circumstances that are beyond your control. You are pretty much running an all you can eat buffet for predators. And then there is fighting amongst your own animals. Maybe an aggressive rooster or a crazy turkey. Basically things happen. And finding a vet that will treat poultry is extremely hard and will most likely cost more than the animal is worth. Sometimes culling an animal is necessary.

I was lucky enough to make it a couple of years before it became necessary on my homestead. Yes, I lost hens. But we let them go naturally. Which now I realize was wrong and I probably should have put them out of their misery. To my defense, I suggested it, but hubby and the kids were not on board with it.  And I wasn’t sure how to do it anyways.

Well a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a homestead knowledge swap put on by a Facebook group. There they had demonstrations on how to process meat chickens, turkeys and ducks. So I did see a couple of different ways to cull a bird.

Then I was talking to a friend about one of my ducks. And we both agree it had neurological problems and should be culled.

A few days went by and I kept putting it off. But one morning, I looked out and saw her just standing there. She is 1/4 of the size of the other ducks her own age. She never eats. She walks in circles and runs into things. She doesn’t even swim like a normal duck. Plus Nibbles, my male duck, kept chasing her and trying to hurt her. It was sad.

I grabbed my broomstick determine to do it myself before any kids woke up. I got the duck which was easier than I thought. I laid her down and she looked at me like I’m ready just do it. But then I looked around and Harley was watching me. And then Nibbles came over harassing me and her. SO I couldn’t do it.

Later that morning, I was telling my kids about it. And Brianna, my special needs child who actually attended and participated in the demo, said I’ll do it Mom.

Disclaimer: so this is the point of the post that you don’t want to read while eating, drinking, driving or standing up. Because what I am about to tell you is the god honest truth and you will be laughing hilariously by the time I am done. And I don’t want to be responsible for anyone spitting their coffee on the computer, choking, crashing or falling down and hurting themselves. 

Ok so later that afternoon, Brianna and I go out with our broomstick. She catches the duck and we take it out of the chicken area, to the top of our drain hill in our front yard. The whole time I am telling her that we should probably go in the backyard area and she is reassuring me that its fine and will be quick. Did I mention it’s about the time that everyone comes home for work?!

So we start the process but Brianna and her skinny mini self doesn’t weigh enough to stand on the broomstick and pull the ducks feet at the same time. SO I stand on the broomstick and she is pulling. After about 10 minutes of this and the duck looking at us like For Goodness sake can’t you just do it already!?! She tells me to stand right there and she leaves me…..standing on a broomstick over a ducks neck……in the front yard…..at 6pm. She then comes out the backdoor with my largest kitchen knife and a bag. “Don’t worry Mom I’ll just cut its neck!”

Now let me take a moment for those of you who don’t know my child she is LOUD. Like the whole neighborhood can hear you and I live in the country loud.

So I keep shushing her every 5 seconds. She comes over cuts its neck like a serial killer and stands there in the front yard holding the bleeding duck upside down. While I keep look out and tell Brianna put it down someones is coming down the road, hide the duck. And she proceeds to tell me as she is shaking this duck upside down “its fine Mom, everyone does it!”

“No Brianna, not everyone does it!” I am at this point dying inside because I can’t believe this is my life and I can’t believe my daughter is the one having to do this and I am the one freaking out.

So she says its gone and puts it in the bag. And hands the bag to me. She then walks away to go get the hose. And the duck and the bag start moving. I threw the bag in the air and yelled “Brianna it’s moving” as I am running away from the bag. She comes over lifts the duck up and says its dead just the muscles dying. And then finishes getting cleaned up.

OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO!

 

 

 

Best January ever

Growing a large family

 

I feel like I have accomplished so much in these first 3 weeks of January.

I turned 34! My birthday was quiet and uneventful. So YAY! to a drama free birthday.

I have stood up for myself and told 2 important people in my life that they will not disrespect me or walk all over me or my family anymore.

We started back to homeschooling and I feel like we are doing pretty good. Some days are better than others, but yesterday was the best yet. I felt like just in that one simple activity so much was learned. We talked and discuss while they used their hands to create something so wonderful. It was definitely a proud mommy moment.

My youngest daughter has been working with a wonderful therapist for the last month. Up until now she has resisted any kind of therapy, but she has really connected with this therapist and I truly see a difference. Then this week, the therapist got us in for an appointment with their psychiatrist. And let me just say, WOW! Where has he been my whole life!!! When our therapist asked how it went. I told her she was a life saver. He just knew what he was talking about and none of this well it could be A or B or Z. He nailed it and talked to my daughter not just about her. Wonderful man!!! I am beyond thrilled because it has been a long 10 years of trying to find a diagnosis.

As I am writing this, I am sitting here looking at my 4 brooders. That’s right~count them FOUR brooders. First one has my baby chicks that hatched on January 2. Second one has a week and a half old Pekin duck with a couple of chicks flying in and out. One chick has really taken a liking to my lonely duck and is very protective if any of chicks come in. The third is full of Cayuga Ducklings about 4 days old~19 of them to be exact. And last but not least~ more Pekin ducklings. These are 4 days old. I have 19 of them also. Most of these will be sold with the exception of the chicks and 4 ducklings. I sold 15 ducklings at the beginning of the week. So my new little business adventure is very productive. Keeps me busy that is for sure.

Growing a Large family

I am also setting up the incubator so I can set 24 eggs for a Valentines day hatching. Or as I like to call it The walking dead hatching. We aren’t big Valentine’s Day people. It’s just too close to Christmas and my birthday. I will probably just cook a nice steak dinner, so why not also hatch some babies!

I also have a couple of pre-orders on some female chicks that I am keeping. Just trying to add some interesting chickens to the flock. My first order comes the end of February and my last order won’t be here until first week of June. Who knows what other kind of trouble I can get into between now and then.

Growing a large family

This post is partying over at the Our Simply Homestead Blog Hop

My Ducks made me sick

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

 

All my life I have been a lover of ducks. When we moved out to this property, Grandpa use to say we can get some chickens. And I always said, no I want ducks. I just love them so much! Well as everyone knows I got ducks last year and ultimately ended up with 2 females and a male. My females are laying all these gorgeous eggs and I have been baking up a storm with them. Then the first incident happen.

I was making brownies and of course tasted the batter. Within a few minutes, my throat got itchy and swelled and my lips were tingling. But I thought it had to be the new spices I used on my pork chops. I have used duck eggs several times before.

Then I made a batch of cookies with Dakota. As soon as I ate one, I had the worse pain in my stomach. A few days later, ate another one and the pain was back but this time I threw up once.

Next, I made some cookies for the kids and I didn’t even eat one! I just licked a small amount of batter off of my finger and within an hour, pain. I couldn’t even cook dinner that night.

Well you think by now I would have learned my lesson. But I made brownies Monday night and I was up all night throwing up and the pain…..oh my god, unbearable! I almost told my hubby to take me to the ER. I mean I birthed 2 babies and 1 with no epidural and that didn’t even come close to the pain I was experiencing. The crazy part is I was at the doctors that morning. And we both thought it was my anxiety flaring up. But I thought that was strange because it would hit when I was at home watching TV and relaxing. What do I have to feel anxious about?

So this last time, I put 2 and 2 together. I know I should have taken notice with the first incident. That was bad enough. And it explained why all the medicines I took to help stomach symptoms weren’t doing a bit of good. I needed to treat an allergic reaction. But I had no idea that is what it was.

The next day after all these events, I would feel wiped out and still had soreness in my stomach. I would take the day to rest and that would throw the rest of the week off. Let’s just say I am not happy about spending my holiday season on the couch. I feel like I missed out on so much activities with my kids. But now that I know, I will take better caution.

Now I have 3 ducks and at least a dozen eggs a week that I can’t use. So I am selling them. NOT my ducks, the eggs. I made that clear to my hubby and he said he wouldn’t have asked me too. I have a lady that buys them for her dog because he is allergic to chicken eggs. It will be a way to pay for my feed.

I just hate to think if I had gotten brave and tried to eat one scrambled. I may not be around to write this to you.

 

This post is hopping at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Holiday hatchlings

Well I did it again. I couldn’t resist watching little baby chicks hatching. So I got out my incubator and put some eggs in to see what would happen. At first, I put in some of my Cayuga eggs, but they weren’t fertile.

And then I put a dozen chicken eggs in there, only 1 was a dud. So I waited another 2 weeks and then I got this result.

Growing a large family

 

9 out of 11 eggs hatched. They hatched the middle of November.

I’m not trying to brag but the coloring of my chicks are beautiful. Since I don’t specialize in one breed of chicken, mine are considered mixed. But let me tell you. They are pretty!

Chicks~Growing a large family

 

It was also a good lesson in genetics. We keep playing Whose your Daddy as their feathers come in. I was a little disappointed in the fact that I only got 1 turken out of the bunch. But that’s okay because we have another hatching coming up on New Years Day.

I just put 31 eggs in the incubator. I was going to try some of Lucky’s eggs but she was hiding them from me and I found them too late. So I put 15 of my own, 15 I bought from a friend and 1 from the neighbor.

 

This post is partying over at The Chicken Chick Blog Hop.

Cayuga Ducks

I have 2 Cayuga Ducks on my homestead right now. I love these ducks. I have 1 male and 1 female. I named them Hook and Dark Swan in honor of the show, Once upon a time.

Hook is such a sweetheart. He is one of the ducklings we hatched.

Cayuga Ducks~Growing a large family

He likes to chase after our feet and nibble at our boots. He is also very spoiled by his Mama. He always waits for his food because he knows I let him eat out of the food container. He is also very curious of everything, like my camera.

Cayuga~ Growing a large family

The male Cayugas have more green coloring on their heads than females do. Also you know a duck is a male because they will get a few feathers that flip back towards their head near their tail.

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Male Cayuga~notice coloring on head and flip tail feather

Females are also more vocal. That is how I knew my Lucky Duck was a girl. Now my female Cayuga isn’t as vocal as Lucky, but very much has the features of a girl.

Female Cayugas have darker beaks and are mostly black with very little variation in coloring. Also the biggest giveaway is no flip feather on their tail.

Dark Swan is more standoffish when it comes to people. But if you have food or treats then watch out. She pushes most of the chickens out of the way to get to them. She is more calm and doesn’t freak out when you walk near her, which some males have a tendency of doing.

Cayuga Duck~ Growing a large family

Female Cayuga~ no flip tail feather and the coloring is more on the feathers and less on the head.

For a year, I told my hubby that I wanted Pekins. They were the best ducks for my homestead. But one day, I was reading a duck magazine and when I read about Cayugas and the amazing thing they do, I had to have them.

Cayuga Egg~Growing a large Family

That is the best first egg I have ever gotten. Only the first egg comes out black then they start getting lighter in color. My one Cayuga female has been laying for a few weeks now and has laid more eggs than some of my chickens. Ducks will out lay them and keep laying during the winter.

Another exciting moment was when I found the egg in the nesting boxes! Most of the time ducks will just lay an egg where ever they want and you have to hunt it down. Not with my girl! She has laid every egg either in the nesting box, coop or run. It makes my life so much easier! Hopefully she can train any other girl ducks we get to do the same.

Duck eggs are best used for baking. It gives it a much richer taste. Some people will use duck eggs just like a chicken egg. But then others say it has more of a game taste or is much saltier, depending on your breed. I personally have only use them for baking.

And of course this……

Cayuga Eggs in Incubator~Growing a large family

 

My Hubby is going to kill me.

 

This Post is partying over at:

FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop

From the Farm

The Chicken Chick

Simple Homestead Hop

 

Chicken math

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A year ago, I decided to buy 6 little chicks from Tractor Supply. Then a few days later, I went by and fell in love and bought 6 more. Out of 12, I had 10 survive and thrive. 3 roosters and 7 hens, little did I know that would send me on a journey that I never would have imagine. A wonderful journey of homesteading and learning about all natural/organic ways to raise animals and gardening. My hubby and extended family thinks I am crazy. My kids love it because of all the animals. But the most important thing is how happy I am doing this and learning. My friends on facebook now call me crazy chicken lady. I am constantly getting friends posting things like the chicken diaper or chicken leash (most ridiculous thing ever, I don’t need a leash they follow me willingly). But this is my life now and I couldn’t be more insane happy with the decision to buy 12 lil chicks.

At the beginning of the year, I had 9 chickens, 7 hens and 2 roosters. One rooster was getting a little crazy so he was rehomed to a farm with a lot of girls for him. Then is March, I lost 2 of my hens to poison. So by spring, I only had 6 chickens. 5 hens and a frizzle bantam rooster that can’t even mate because he is so small.

At this point, my obsession for hatching eggs began. First there was 4 that hatched, then 3, 18, 8, and last 15. I hatched out 5 different batches of chicken eggs. Along with 2 batches of duck eggs.

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Then I got a call from my aunt about the school hatching eggs but no place to take the chicks. And I also made the mistake of going by the feed store the same day and seeing some little ducklings.

Then I saw someone selling pullets (girls) and I had to have them. Then I ordered 15 polish chicks! So how many chickens do we have!?! 57! 51 chickens and 6 ducks.

36 are undetermined meaning they haven’t shown their rooster or hen side yet. Or in the ducks case duck or drake.

2 bantam roosters I am trying to rehome for their sake since they are so little, my bigger ones will probably beat them up.

So far I do know that I have 13 girls chickens and 1 girl duck. And 5 roosters.

ducks

In the end, I am planning on keeping only 4 roosters (maybe less depending on attitude) and most of the girls. All of my ducks will stay unless I end up with a lot of drakes which I don’t think I will. And any roosters over what I want to keep will become dinner. Most of the polish chicks are going to be sold. I only wanted a few for Dakota, but of course there is a 15 minimum purchase and I couldn’t find any locally. And I pray I have done enough research to be able to tell a boy from a girl.

2 of my goals this year was to expand my flock and add ducks! Mission accomplished.

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Am I completely done with raising chicks? UM hell no! Have you seen how adorable these little babies are! But I am more interested in the hatching and selling aspect now. I also will be adding meat chickens and turkeys next year.