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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: duck

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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On May 29, 2013 –

Our drake (male) Call duck was killed by a big, black Rat Snake (at least 4 feet long). The rat snake was after the eggs that our girl Call duck was sitting on. Daddy duck was very protective of the nest and I assume that this led to his demise.

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However, a rat snake is designed to eat small rodents (and eggs!), so he only made it to the shoulders of our duck. I discovered this when I opened the pen for feed/water. Rat snakes are not aggressive to people, so I pulled him out by the tail and then secured him better, just behind the head.

Normally I don’t mind encounters with snakes, but it was upsetting to lose the drake and have the snake spit out fertile egg to further darken my mood.

Although I have been practicing patience from the Teachings of the Buddha, I did not have enough for this situation. In defense of our mini ducks, I killed the snake with a shovel in the grass. This did not work really well, so I took it over to the cemented garage area and killed it more.

Snakes continue to writhe long after they are nearly split in two. That was pretty terrible. I did not like taking its life – at all.

It is a normal thing for a farmer to do. Once a predator figures out how to get an easy meal, they will continue to come back for more. You cannot just let them go back loose on your land if you expect to keep your livestock alive.

Apparently, this prepared me for… May 31, 2013 –

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Only two days later. I was riding the lawn mower tractor when I spotted another big snake. This one was 5 feet or more long. I thought of the ducks. I pulled it out from underneath a trailer and took it to the garage area.

My husband was home and was able to take a photo with his phone. This snake, a Black Racer, was taken down the road by my husband and son to be released in the nature conservancy area. It slithered into the woods in hopes of growing even bigger. I was happy for that.

The duck pen is being better secured, again. We’ll have to keep a few more ducklings to ensure we have a drake or two around for next Spring’s laying season.

To lighten things up a bit, I have included a pic of of baby ducks that was taken recently. This one is literally, a bucket o’ ducklings.

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Country living is not easy. I had thought it would be so much more peaceful than living in the city. But, we must enjoy those calm and happy times as we have them, no matter when, or where.

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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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RE: Tuesday’s Post (May 25, 2010)

I was about to gather eggs from the duck pen when along crawled a Black Racer snake. He was around last year. It was the same snake that liked to curl up on top of the duck nest last year. I thought he liked the warm spot, or the eggs, but it seems now that he must have been patiently waiting for ducklings.

A snake has to eat. But, one duckling is enough of a sacrifice to nature this year, so off to the conservatory he went. Luckily, there is open protected land right down the road. He got out of his bag in the truck, which was great fun. Luckily, they are mild mannered. I ended up just holding him with one hand and driving with the other.

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The first two ducklings are out of the brooding bin and into the lot with our duck hen (the one who lost her drake). We will be adding two more when they are ready. Hopefully they will all get along OK.

New Duck Trio

The one adult that we have is fairly accepting of her new room mates. The introduction of fowl can be tricky, but is a bit safer with ducks. They can’t really use their feet as weapons and their beaks are curved. But they are capable of killing other birds. We will have to watch carefully when the 2nd two are added to make sure they don’t get attacked by the newly formed trio.

This should be enough to ensure a breeding pair or two. We are not sure if we will keep them all. It depends on the mix of sexes and how well they all get along.

The next set of hatch-able eggs will be either Khaki/Pekin X (cross) or 3/4 Khaki and 1/4 Pekin. The latter should be the best of the egg layers, although the 50% X come in at a close 2nd. In either case they make a great breakfast burrito (the eggs, not the ducks) or french toast.

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Well, chick season is starting off slowly. We have not sold one. However, when I sold my Western saddle set, I gave them two ducklings as change. That was oddly fun.

This Pic is up on craig’s list presently, among others. These chicks give customers an idea of the types available.

Three Chicks

It is just a matter of timing. They will sell eventually, but I’d really like to avoid building pens right now. We may get to that this weekend. It would be good to have a juvenile chicken raising pen in addition to the big plastic bins for the small chicks.

I had to do some sorting this morning. Instead of having different types together, the two bins were changed to one with the very young and one with the ones that are older. Two ducklings were getting very big, so they were switched to a cage.

We are keeping three ducklings. Our big white Pekin Drake (male) duck disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle. It is actually more likely that it was into the stomach of a stray or coyote, but there was no evidence. We looked for the mash of feathers and found none.

He could not have just flown away as farm duck breeds have short wings. They are not bred to fly. So, we must keep a few of the ducklings in hopes of a new breeder boy.

Most of the ducklings are multi-colored, but a few turn out white. We have one of those now and we’ll keep him since we miss our big white one.

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The dogs have acquired a taste for duck eggs, now that they are sharing stomping ground in the split rail fenced area (so that they don’t pester the neighbors). Every morning now, I rush ahead of the crowd at the dog door and collect the lovely porcelain vessel of goodness, glowing white in the makeshift nest of leaves, surrounded by the challenging red clay earth. But, that early morning jog bypasses the drool-covered egg on the kitchen floor complete with teeth marks or the absence of that egg altogether.

Ducks

Duck Mates

The brown female is a Khaki Campbell. She is a prolific egg layer, as are all members of her specific breed. Her old man is a Pekin. Although his breed started out as small and black, they transformed into the present day “Big & White”, making them a much sought after victim of Peking duck feasts. As far as egg production goes, KC ducks are more reliable than hens.

Chickens

Laying Troop

The gold girl, front and center, is the creator of the golden eggs. Well, actually sun-touched brown with a golden surprise inside. In times of plenty, fresh eggs make great gifts or additions to recipes such as:

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

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