Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make Way For Ducklings!

Your never know what's going on in your neighbors backyard. But, I have to say that I wasn't surprised when David, neighbor and fellow urban farmer decided to take on a new venture. Yes, down the street at Care-A-Lot Farm, there's lots of quacking going on. Take a look at these adorable little ducklings. 

It looks like they're deciding who's boss.

  Ramon, enjoying the ducklings.
I asked David to let us in on the why and the wherefore of duck raising. He was kind enough to be candid and honest about his experience thus far. I have to say that David has had years of experience working on organic farms and raising animals for meat, eggs and pleasure. All of the animals at his farm are treated with lots of care and respet,  just like the name implies. If you are interested in taking a closer look at his ducks, Care-A-Lot Farm will be one of the featured farms at the Spring Edible Garden Tour in April or early May

 Here's what David had to say, " So, why ducks? Why not? Back in November, we decided to venture into the art of duck rearing, mostly because I like variety but, also because they supposedly can lay the same number of eggs as a chicken. As an added benefit, ducks are much better at eating insects (primarily flies) and grasses. We placed our order for twelve ducks (3 males, 9 females), and one December day, they arrived (13 of them) via mail. After some research, we picked the best top three laying varieties. Peking, Indian Runner and Khaki Campbell ducklings. The ducks are growing very fast. You feed them the same food that you would a chick/chicken and within three weeks, they no longer need protection from the elements. Ducks LOVE water. I thought it was an overstatement when people told me, but given the choice between breathing and swimming, I am convinced they would swim. At six weeks, we integrated them with my chickens, there were no issues. I was worried that the ducks would be at the bottom of the totem pole and perhaps starve, but I was wrong. They can eat ten times faster than the chickens ... so now I must be careful that they don't eat all of the food. My ducks should start laying eggs at about six months, similar to chickens. They stick together and go EVERYWHERE together. I didn't think ducks were supposed to be loud, but if they don't get their food in the morning, they QUACK and QUACK! Luckily, food shuts them up. It's too early to say whether or not I am glad I got ducks. They are definitely adorable and add dimension to the farm. Will they lay the same number of eggs as a chicken? Can I convince the public that duck eggs are just as tasty as chicken eggs? Will my neighbors complain? Well, I guess I will have to wait and see ... "


A few weeks later. . . my how they've grown!

DUCK EGGS. Coming to a neighborhood near you!

 More on raising ducks

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