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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: Breed/ Types

HectorRules

Hector is the Head Rooster of our flock. He is a somewhat rare Swedish Flower breed that has only been in the United States since 2010. His Sidekick Agador is the Roo below him (with the white wings).

 

Happy Friday!

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With a busy weekend happening, Monica’s Weekend Recipe will be short. This article is focused on just one cooking ingredient – eggs. Not only is this about eggs, but, specifically, Duck Eggs.

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What are the Benefits to Eating Duck Eggs?
by Countryside Daily Magazine
  • Duck eggs stay fresher longer, due to their thicker shell.
  • Duck eggs are richer, with more albumen, which makes cakes and other pastries fluffier.
  • Duck eggs have more Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • People who cannot eat chicken eggs, due to allergies, can often eat duck eggs.

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Ducks make much more mess than chickens, so we opted to keep just one duck. Since the coop is predator proof, and we opted for standard sized birds this time (instead of bantam/mini), we feel more comfortable naming them – since they won’t end up being meals for foxes, weasels, raccoons, snakes, hawks, falcons, feral cats, stray dogs or coyotes. Our egg laying duck is named Macy.

Info
via Wikipedia
A duckling is a young duck in downy plumage or baby duck. A male duck is called a drake and the female is called a duck, or in ornithology a hen.

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I usually take my coffee with me while tending to the poultry in the morning.

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One last pic of Macy and her buddies, happily eating kitchen scraps.

Have fun cooking with eggs, and if you have the option, try duck eggs. They are delicious!

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What I want this year is to get back up on my horse.

The Big Man Dakota sporting his shaggy winter coat

The Big Man Dakota sporting his shaggy winter coat

“The Big Man Dakota” (I call him “Bigs”) is officially a pony, measuring 14 hands even. The standard for a horse starts at a height of 14.2 HH (at the withers).

While the weather is nasty and cold, I am slowly beginning stretching exercises, attempting to get my bad, upper spine to be more flexible and less painful.

This is quite the uphill battle, since progress can be non-existent at times. It seems that every day I am back to square one (I know – everyone is tired of hearing me whine). If I were a horse I could whinny instead, which is a much more pleasant sound.

Pony Stallion Yell Plus Bonus Duck Quacks

My Quarter pony’s yell is much more about getting food than his attachment to me. Yet, Bigs does trust me. That took quite some time. He arrived here as a blind, 5-year old stallion, and the blindness due to the frustration of his original owner.

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Yes, Bigs is a stallion aka intact male. There are two mares across the way, yet Bigs has never attempted to visit them. Blind or not, 90% of stallions would try. Due to his calm demeanor, it seemed pointless to take anything else away from him.

Rocky the pony is already inside, taking advantage of the run-in with its new weather-proofing  (readied for the Arctic blast of Jan. 6, 2014).

Rocky the pony is already inside, taking advantage of the run-in with its new weather-proofing
(readied for the Arctic blast of Jan. 6, 2014).

Bigs's tendency towards claustrophobia leaves him hesitant of the change, but grain coaxes him in shortly after sunset.

Bigs’s tendency towards claustrophobia leaves him hesitant of the change, but grain coaxes him in shortly after sunset.

Although sightless, Bigs functions well and sometimes acts as if he can see things coming. It has taken me up to 45 minutes to get his bridle and bit on. He tosses his head about with a total lack of cooperation (even with a Hackamore). I have a feeling this is why the former owner got so upset with him.

Blind Pony Navigates Pasture

Bigs can’t see, so he has the fields memorized by feel, getting around quite well. He no longer breaks through fences in a panic. He no longer flees from being patted. Bigs’s overall behavior is actually quite good. I can get easily get on his back and could likely lay down to take a nap too.

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I purchased a very cool, used, close-contact training saddle this past fall of 2013. My aches and pains, enhanced by stress and aggravation got the better of me this season, so I only completed a parked test drive. It fits well and will work for both Bigs and I splendidly, once my hurdles ahead are cleared. In the meantime, Bigs and his companion Shetland pony “Rocky” will keep themselves busy doing what they do best – eating.

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Being already run down from physical unrest, my hair-trigger temper has lately become long-term negativity. It has me wrapped up in my own mind, unable to break free of disparity in the human world. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Half of them live without running water or electricity. Therefore they have little or no access to health care, education, law enforcement, transportation, etc.

As one who attempts to follow Buddhist teachings, I must continue to practice not only patience, but also perseverance – and with this new year of 2014, get back up on that horse (pony).

nota bene: I am not looking for a Pep Rally. There is no need for anyone to cheer me on. If I get back up on that pony, that is what the future will bring. If I don’t, something else will happen next.

Chinese New Year 2014 begins January 31, 2014

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LittleThorBdayw

Little Thor was born during a heavy thunderstorm on June 13, 2013.

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He is the son of a Nubian Billy and a Pygmy Nanny. Pygmy goats are very hardy and resistant to disease/parasites. Large dairy breeds are brush-clearing experts.

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“Little” Thor is very tall so far and is an active, good eater with a shiny coat. He started off black and white, but has developed a few brown moon spots. This baby is a very pretty boy.

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Thor has been banded, making him a wether (neutered male). He has not been dis-budded, so will therefore have horns.

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Little Thor has the mild mannered attitude of his sire and the peaceful qualities of his mother. This lovely boy should make a good pet, companion goat and/or brush clearing machine.

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Little Thor is good with children. He is also used to dogs and other goats.

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Goats become very unhappy when separated from their pals. If you have never owned a goat before, please keep in mind that they are herd animals and therefore need a buddy or two.

We had our first goat bond with our dogs, so it is possible for them befriend other species after a few days of complaining. But, goats do best with other goats.

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Little Thor is eating greens, hay and grain regularly. 

August 24, 2013 Update: SOLD

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I’ve had this metal cup for some years now. It is likely from Ikea, one of our favorite haunts. Meant to hang on a long metal bar in the kitchen, it has served other purposes since leaving the bar behind at our old house.

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Having recently come across it at the same time that our door became void of its spring wreath, I hung it on. The idea that I had was to put things in the cup that were priced finds in the yard – like feathers or wild flowers.

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Someone else had a more important use for the cup. I thought “Who read my mind and started to fill the vessel with moss and weathered leaves?”. I had not yet shared the plan with my family.

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Then it dawned on me that a Carolina wren had beat everyone to the summer door decor. She was not going to leave a baby basket on the stoop. She was going to keep a family on the door. I left her to that task and found other arrangements to house my outdoor treasure hunt winnings.

One night, startled by use of the door, she flew into the house. It was quite the hunt, since she managed to visit every corner of the house before capture.

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Cupped in my hands, the tiny beauty waited patiently. Then I opened my fingers. She flew back out into the night, abandoning her tiny eggs. The nest bin was moved to avoid further disruption and I crossed my fingers that the little wren would return in the morning.

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There are many days in which enjoying the details of life in the country are out of my reach. I wake up to chronic cervical neck pain every day. But with life erupting all around, what choice do we have but to grab onto it, to seize the day?

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Whatever your obstacles, and I know each one of you has many, be patient. The peace will come, even if only for a brief moment.

This is the time to look for a bundle on your doorstep.

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Mini Duckling 1

Mini Duckling 1 – Pic A

Our first Bantam ducklings have hatched. There are actually only three so far. But we’ll have more than a bucket full before Spring laying is over.

Duckling 1 - Pic B

Duckling 1 – Pic B

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Duckling 1 – Pic C

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Duckling 1 – Pic D

Farmette 1769’s Bantam-style Call ducks have produced offspring via incubator. Ducklings are very cute. Miniature ducklings are even cuter.

Duckling 1 (Left), Duckling 2 (Close-up) & Duckling 3

Duckling 1 (Left), Duckling 2 (Close-up) & Duckling 3

Ducklings grow quickly. But, these Call duck babies will be no more than a pound and a half when full grown. Bred for attracting hunted ducks, they are also great birds for show and as pets.

Duckling 1 (Left)

Duckling 1 (Left)


 

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CallDucksFlyW

Call ducks are Bantams, which places them in the miniature poultry category. Due to their light body weight, they can fly very well. So, unlike your average heavy farm duck, it is advisable to clip a wing so that they don’t wander too far off.

Clipping the flight feathers from one wing sets both wings off balance, leaving them flightless. The procedure is painless, since feathers are just like finger nails and hair.

Some blood vessels are still active in newly grown feathers, so avoid that area during clipping.

Muriel (left), Hector (right)

Muriel (left), Hector (right)

Duck Video

We bought Muriel, a female Call duck, at Carolina Chickenstock in the Fall of 2012. With a bit of searching early in 2013, we located a male (drake) Call duck for sale near Winston-Salem, NC.

In conjunction with the drake duck, there was also the opportunity to buy a male (gander) African goose to go with Annie, our female Chinese goose. It was a long drive from the Charlotte area to get the drake, so without too much thought, I went ahead and bought the gander too.

Muriel seems happy with her new duck boyfriend, Hector. They waddle around together, taking an occasional dip in the baby pool or a spare water pan. They are both super cute and easy to handle. Bantam breeds take up less space/accommodations and also consume less feed. Miniature livestock fit well here at our little farmette.

Our Annie, seemed content with her surprise boyfriend, Robert. They quickly become a bonded pair of closely related (both from the Swan Goose) domesticated geese.

Geese Video

Robert (left), Annie (right)

Robert (left), Annie (right)

The thing is, we don’t have a pond, stream or a fenced section of land for them, so there were second thoughts. I made the decision that the best thing was to get these full size (Standard) geese out of their pen and into the hands of someone with a more suitable set-up. They were sold to Kunekune Pig Preserve here in NC. One section of the preserve boasts a large fenced area with a big pond. They should be comfortable and safe at their new home.

We greatly enjoyed our time with them. Geese are very wonderful birds and great watch animals for farms.

Four Bantam chicken eggs (left), One Bantam duck egg (right)

Four Bantam chicken eggs (left), One Bantam duck egg (right)

That decision now leaves more time and energy to attend to our Call duck pair. Spring, though a bit unpredictable and chilly this year, has sprung. Beginning mid-March, Muriel started laying eggs. Her eggs are green!

A homemade egg candler shows obvious growth.

A homemade egg candler shows obvious growth.

The pair is now proven fertile and we are excitedly looking forward to Call ducklings. My lovely husband Jamie often says “There’s nothin’ cuter than a bucket of baby ducks”. I am thinking that Call ducklings, due to there tiny size, may just prove to be our new, ultimate, Spring baby fixation.

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We can’t wait to see!

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