MORE BIRDS

I READ once that every millionaire has more than one avenue of income. Not putting all her eggs in one basket so to speak. Making a little money from a farm is not too hard but making a PROFIT is near impossible. And laughable if the farmer were to pay herself hourly wages! But, I have developed a market and, ever an optimist, I have a new idea. A new string to my bow!

DUCKS!   Or more specifically Duck EGGS.

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Yes, I know what you are about to say. You tried ducks before Celi and Boo carried their dead bodies back to you after he found them ‘escaping’!  But BooBoo has developed a very healthy respect for the electric fence so I can keep him away from them while they are little. And he is better trained now.  Plus he is OK with adult birds it is just the babies that are at risk from him.

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I sell my pork and have orders for beef but not every week. I need a weekly income.

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I sell fifteen dozen eggs every week for 2.50 a pound. Duck eggs sell for SIX dollars a dozen to the chefs in Chicago. And Jake tells me they sell out on The List every week. So developing the duck egg market would increase my weekly sales.

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Of course, this is not millionaire money. Scoff. Who wants that? said Nobody EVER. But with the right numbers it could join with the small profit I make on chickens eggs and become grocery money.

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And speaking of this weeks grocery money I have spent it all on pasture seeds for the pig fields. (Lucky I have greens in the glasshouse and a freezer full of meat). Here is the first bag of seed.   This clover likes it cool so it is will be sown with the first wave of pasture. Crimson And Clover! If it does get to maturity it has vibrant crimson flowers that the bees will love too. Though I so seldom see a bee here.

Half of this seed will be held over for a fall planting (this is a good cover crop)  mixed with rye or wheat – you never know, we may have a mild winter then it will all pop up again in early spring.  The pigs clear their plates every year!  And I MUST get these cover crops in this autumn.  But let’s get to spring first.

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If this does grow for this season it is a lovely dense plant for the hogs to graze on and you know how I love flowering fields for pigs.  I have more seed coming, whatever was cheap frankly! This time of year is financially tough on a little farm and the spring this year is SO LONG in coming I am having to buy extra hay. You will have seen in yesterdays line up of pages from this month going back over the years of TheKitchensGarden,  that we often have green grass by now.

Anyway – I wandered off the subject there. So, I am investing in ducklings, specifically Khaki Campbells. They do well in our winters and are easy to house and are regular layers. The ducklings were $7.63c each. I have ordered twenty to start – well you can do the maths.  And it will take 6 or 7 months before they start laying.  More maths that I don’t want to do. They will arrive in the second week of April (I hope we have warmed up by then) along with this years replacement layers.  Khaki Campbells are reported to lay for  three years nonstop.  I am told they are tough, friendly and reliable.

Ducks are pretty cute too! And think of the CAKES! And icecream! Oh my.

Why duck eggs?

I hope you have a lovely day.

celi

WEATHER:

Wednesday 03/21 0% / 0 in
Partly cloudy. High 44F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph.

Wednesday Night 03/21 10% / 0 in
Clear skies. Low 24F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

Sun
6:54 am 7:06 pm

Moon
Waxing Crescent, 17% visible 9:31 am 11:42 pm

 

 

62 Comments on “MORE BIRDS

  1. How wonderful!!! We just love our ducks!!! This is super exciting news!!! I know you’ve had them before, but not with the weekly grocery money in mind, I don’t think. And with buyers already clamoring for them….they will be a fabulous addition to the farmy!!! 🙂

  2. Interesting the price difference north and south of the border. Our chicken eggs go for five dollars a dozen. Several years ago when we had ducks – we were getting nine dollars a dozen, and twelve dollars a dozen for goose. Mind you – I think our feed up here is much more expensive. A ton of wheat (not ground) is near 500.00 Barley – 12 cents a pound. Oats – 10 cents a pound.

    • I am selling through a middle man? So I think that drops the price somewhat. Your feed is only a little more expensive than my transitional feed. I decided to add prices in the blog because it is interesting to compare!

  3. This will hatch a lot of new story lines, too. Oh, yes, that pun was intentional. Good morning, c.

    • Well so it shall, Misky darling. May I say while I have you here that I am in Love with your poems. I know I do not comment often but I love your way with words! c

      • Thank you, my darling. And I read the Farmy everyday, but not always commenting. I am here though, up there in the rafters.

  4. I am not sure I have ever tasted a duck egg, and as usual I am drooling over IG egg picture below. Don’t let Sheila see you constructing a bigger pond than her wallow 🙂 Good luck with new venture. Laura

  5. Duck eggs are delicious and superb for baking. You’ll be making a bunch of chefs very happy. And of course when they stop laying… num num. Roast duck with rhubarb and balsamic vinegar compote.

    • Oh that does sound interesting – they say these are a dual purpose bird but I have fallen into THAT trap before – hopefully they lay for years like the adverts say.. c

  6. Oh I can’t wait for the adventure. I wonder about Geese and their eggs. Geese are protective like the guinea – I wonder if they would run off the bastard minks? (wondered off also there) Oh Boo and the babies – he does overly love them.

    • Pat, we had geese when we first moved to start our very small farm in North Central Arkansas, and not only did they run off unwanted guests, dogs, cats, etc., they also ran off friends, neighbors, delivery people and anyone else who ventured down the drive! 😦 Too crazy those geese! But yes, as you say, very protective!!! We finally had to find them a home elsewhere, and immediately afterwards peace settled in on the farm! 🙂

  7. white pekin ducks are the best layer ducks that I have ever had.
    much larger eggs . a much calmer duck

    • I had Pekins once – but they got SO BIG – they just smashed everything they walked through. This was long ago though – and they looks beautiful wandering about.

  8. I pay a lot more for duck meat at the grocery store, I hope that translates to the farm too? Good Luck with the ducks and the clover.
    We have 2 inches of fluffy snow on the 2nd day of spring. We too are having a nice winter this spring.

  9. Thanks for the article, I was just going to ask down here in the comments on why these eggs are so special. What fun to now have an entirely new crew coming to the farm!

  10. I can’t wait to see the ducklings! I’ve long been thinking of ducks (Khaki Campbells, too) because I just think they’re so darn cute, and we have a pond, after all… The neighbors have put me off it for the moment by making me think of the poop. We have so many Canada geese in the summer that our yard is already a minefield. So I might wait until the kids are a bit older!

    • Oh – kids and poop – bad mix. Mine will be in their own enclosure because of dogs, etc. They do fly so I will have to clip their wings which is miserable – plus they lay all over the place so they need to be contained for the night time and early morning at least. Lucky you having a pond – no pond here but they say the ducks are happy enough with basins of water which will enable me to clean them each day. There is potential to use the duck water to water plants too – we will see. That is just something that wandered through my head as I was writing. c

      • In permaculture, they suggest you site the ducks on a slope if you can….or make one…..and have fruit trees at the bottom, so all the duck muck and pond run off feeds the orchard.

  11. I read somewhere that feeding peas to cattle improved the flavor of the meat but I can’t find the article now. I do follow this newsletter (https://mailchi.mp/onpasture/february13-316809?e=9f536acf83) which had this article (https://onpasture.com/2018/03/12/scientist-finds-secret-ingredient-in-red-clover-that-increases-weight-gain-in-ruminants/) about red clover. I thought you might find those items interesting. My step son is a professional chef in Indianapolis and is always looking for duck eggs also pheasant eggs, I suspect pheasants would be difficult to deal with though. It’s always interesting to hear what ingredients he’s looking for.

    • Well thats good because my cow pea seeds just arrived. I am hoping to put the cows over my flowering pasture a few times before the pigs have at it esp as I am growing giant oats too! I never thought of pheasant eggs for the kitchen – interesting. c

      • The pheasant eggs were interesting. I guess my step son has several dishes that he needs them for. I know he’d like to be able to have a steady supply.

  12. I used to live on a small farm, and they used an old plastic sand pit for their ducks to paddle about in. Love all the photos of your animals, they are great.

  13. Oh, goodie! More delightful pictures – ducks are so cute and what personalities they can have! I know you’ll do well, Miss C.!

  14. Sigh. I’ve always wanted to add ducks to our “mix” but alas, it’s all I can do to keep our chickens safe from the hawks. I’ve heard sad tales from our neighbors of finding the decapitated body of a beloved duck or two from birds of prey. And I’ve watched helplessly from my kitchen window as an immature eagle scooped up an adolescent hen right from our coop run! They are so daring when they are hungry!!! So no ducks for me until I can figure out a better system. I will watch on with envy!

  15. Ducks are at least 10 times messier than chickens, lots and lots of cleanup to keep the eggs clean. But you already have pigs, with all their mess, so maybe that isn’t so much of a deterrent for you.

    • Yes – I have had ducks before and they were awful – but I have to say badly managed on my part. I am working on a plan. Still need more research though.

  16. When I was a child, my father raised quail and he would bring their eggs into the house and we would scramble them up with other eggs. Now I laugh nearly hysterically when I see them for sale in the stores. Perhaps you should think of quail…

      • They WERE in little houses, but I din’t think Dad spent inordinate time on them. Now the chickens…he brought a sick one into the house to nurse once.

      • I have coturnix quail, and they are completely man-made. Like French Bulldogs. They would die without intervention. They lay well, but they do not remember to actually brood. They just pop the eggs out in the hay and go about their business. Incubators are a MUST with them.

  17. Looking forward to seeing ducks added to the Farmy crew! I guess it will make it doubly important now to make sure the mink is gone?

  18. My one lonely Rouen duck has started laying again this spring, probably 5 days out of 7 and she is coming on 8 years old. I know her age because my stepson had a big 30th bday bash and one of his goofy friends gave him ducklings. He spent most of his time travelling for work so naturally we got the call to take the ducks. I actually give her eggs to a niece who is a vegetarian, she likes them because they have more protein. Interestingly, my neighbor has runner ducks and says it’s almost impossible to whip the duck egg whites into a meringue. When I do use the duck eggs for baking I sometimes have to adjust the rest of the liquid in the recipe.

  19. Hi Celi, Late to comment, but I did want to mention I raised Indian Runners for several years and I consider them dual purpose: great buggers in the garden (easy on plants) and prolific egg layers. I still have one, she is 6 now and still lays every day during the warmer months. They are flightless, so no clipping wings and pretty quiet. Only the females have a little chatter to them. Also great at foraging. I haven’t had any other breed, but the research I did, led me to them, and I never regretted it. Good luck with your new venture! Sue

  20. My father had Kahki Campbell ducks from eggs and they did really well. The eggs are excellent for baking and omelettes.

  21. I have never had a duck egg but I hear they are delicious. Maybe that is what we will add at Kanuga Creek farm next!

  22. My khaki campbells are a year old now. I have two ducks and a drake. Before one went into a molt this winter and stopped laying I got 2 eggs every single day. Now she’s back to laying and 2 eggs like clockwork.
    As you probably know from your research KCs are a mix of breeds. They are not cuddly ducks so a lot of people who have them in their backyard don’t like that they are so skittish and suspicious. They don’t like to be touched but I know you don’t care about that. Still, they are kind of fun companion ducks. Mine love to walk around the yard with me especially when I turn over rocks or dig so they can look for bugs and worms. If you have any slug infested areas or any bug issue for that matter, they will eat them up! We had a hatch of Japanese beetles in my neighbor’s yard last summer. I caught 15 dozen and fed them to the ducks as they floated in their kiddie pool. They loved it.My drake would also jump in the air to catch them. They will also fight over small snakes. One of my females ate 4 garter snakes last summer and she had to run to keep the others from snatching them from her. They are voracious foragers and love to eat constantly, so if you can assign them a tractor and let them have access to a yard or something they will really go to town. Mine kept the grass clipped in the backyard. And they aren’t that messy, either. I use their pool water for my garden – it’s great fertilizer!
    An excellent market for duck eggs would also be Asian food stores and restaurants and I believe they are treated like a delicacy. We’ve poached some to go with Asian food here and it’s the best combo for them we’ve found so far.
    You also have the possibility of getting a jump on duck egg production if you look around your area, on local farm sites and backyardchickens.com where there happens to be a whole thread devoted to KCs. People often have adult ducks they want to rehome and this is an instant egg laying situation.
    I clipped wings last summer when they started to fly a bit. They are actually very low-flying so unless they get a lot of practice going over fences they shouldn’t be a problem. Mine tend to go up a couple of feet and that’s about it. Plus their wings look so ugly chopped and it’s taken forever for them to grow out.
    These aren’t meat birds as they are very slight, but I suppose you could use some up that way. But you should get over 300 eggs a year from a single duck when they are laying at top performance.
    I would love to have more ducks but I live in town and am pushing it as it is with 3. I would only get more ducks, though. One drake is plenty among a group of ducks as they can be very aggressive and amorous. And you could also incubate! I would love to do that some day.

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