Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quack Quack Quack

Last spring our incubator died midway through incubation. It was a small, foam, tabletop incubator from Little Giant. We lost all of the eggs in that batch. Shortly thereafter we decided to build our own incubator. We picked up a couple coolers at thrift stores, searched through junk drawers to find a couple thermostats from hot water heaters. We pulled together 2 awesome homemade incubators that have close to 100% hatch rates. Late summer/early fall I found an ad on our local buy/sale/trade page for a cabinet style incubator. This Dickey's incubator was a steal at a couple hundred dollars. This allows us to do staggered hatches, using our homemade coolerbaters as hatchers.

Early this spring a neighbor asked us to hatch some eggs for her, duck and chicken. Over the course of a few months, we hatched out over a hundred eggs for her. As payment, she surprised us with baby ducks. We had talked about adding ducks to our little homestead but was uncertain. From everything we had been told ducks were super messy. Now here we are the proud owners of 12 ducks. We normally brood chicks in the house, after this spring I can honestly say I will never brood ducks in the house again. Oh, they are messy and smelly, it is nearly impossible to keep a brooder clean.

When we put the ducks outside I finally fell in love with them. Currently, they are in a dog run, with a large dog house as shelter, but they spend most of their time roaming the garden area, eating bucks and weeds.

Ducks have really grown on me. But we are at our limit, no more new ducks for quite a while. We need to work on proper shelter for winter. We are building a new quail shelter also, and working on expanding the fenced area for our goats. We experienced our first goat births this spring, most of the babies have already been sold, two little ones will be weaned and sold soon. I am a softy and get a little misty eyed letting my babies go.