Movin’ Out & Movin’ On

I’ve been so busy lately and also spending spare time on a poultry forum chatting, that I almost forgot I used to blog.  I met 3 people this last week who all said they read my blog, enjoyed it and were wondering when I was getting back into it. This morning I have decided to write again instead of hanging out on a forum.

So … a flock update is due. After a few weeks of self deliberation, I decided to re-home my ducklings. Let me explain (rant) why.

Ducks are adorable in their personalities and never have a bad day. They are always happy to see me and follow me anywhere and everywhere. Many times it was hard to get out of my driveway as they followed me to my car as I try to leave. It is so cute to see them waddles around the yard and splash in their kiddie pool that they were quickly outgrowing. When they napped and tucked their bills in their wings for a good solid snooze their little heads would bob around as deep sleep approached. If they were excited at the bag of minnows I was carrying for their pool and they trampled each other to get to the pool first, someone always got thrown onto their backs. In case you didn’t know, turtles aren’t the only ones who get stuck on their backs. We had a lot of laughs watching them and I miss them. Mostly.

Ducks squirt. They squirt mushy poops and anyone or anything within a 6″ range is a target. They don’t poop little neat piles like chickens that quickly disappear into the grass and gardens. When ducks poop your backyard becomes a slimy slippery slope. When ducks poop it actually makes a gross wet fart squirting noise…..great for kids who get instant giggles!! My backyard, where the ducks primarily hung out, quickly became trashed with piles of poop … It’s way more fertilizer than the grass could handle. It’s not poop you can take a shovel too…it’s sloppy and wet.  Ducks poop a LOT. Often. ok, got my drift in the poop issue?

Ducks also consume a lot of food if you don’t let them free range. Thankfully my guys free ranged or we’d own the feed mill. Considering the free ranging and natural food sources available to them, they still ate an excessive amount of food, in my opinion. They also grow so fast in such a short period of time. The quick growth isn’t the problem, but the obvious need for a lot of food should be a real consideration for those considering getting ducklings/ducks. (And the poop.)

Just so you understand how much duck poop we are talking, on the poultry forum one lady was complaining on her dog being sprayed by a skunk again this year and I was complaining of duck poop simultaneously.  I budded in and said you win!  Skunk on dog wins and she said no way..duck poop wins! She said she’d take skunk sprays anytime over duck poop.

Ducks also waste a lot of food … It’s just how they are built to eating. The poultry ‘industry’ has not come up with a solution to their eating requirements so you make due with whatever works.  It’s a bit frustrating but eventually you figure out some make shift contraptions.

Water. Ducks. If there is water ANYWHERE they will find it, blow bubbles in it, roll in it, make it muddy and dirty. If I over watered a hanging planter and the excess water came out the pot at the bottom … They were there. Making a muddy mess if the area within seconds. If they were off free ranging somewhere and I wanted them back, I just had to splash my hand around in their kiddie pool; which of course they had made a swampy muddy mess within minutes each morning. After hearing their pool splashing they’d come out of the woods, waddling as fast as their little bodies could with the Pekins quacking up a storm and the Muscovys chirping and they’d literally fall into their pool with such lust, like a romance story has long lost loves run to each other.

Chicken waterers and ducks. No. Doesn’t work. The ducks go to every water container and sit at it and empty it. Blow bubbles, drink it all and make a muddy swampy mess of the empty container. It’s empty? Next! I spent so much time refilling waterers it was getting out of hand quickly. The chickens had a hard time getting access to clean water throughout the day and were often seen at the swamp drinking (aka the kiddie pool that had crystal clear water 2 hours ago).

We are also on a cistern and water is about the same price as gold. Having to fill a kiddie pool every day with water and sometimes twice a day if they completely destroyed it before noon, along with several refilling of waterers and buckets throughout the day was costing a fortune and was adding up quickly.

It is said and accepted that ducks can be raised without a water source like ponds or pools. Sure they can be without water play, if you don’t have a heart!! If you see how much they love water and the joy of a pool filling up and jumping in the pool with 1″ of water because they can’t wait until it is full…they love water…you couldn’t and shouldn’t take that pleasure (requirement in my eyes) away.

So I met a nice person on this poultry forum I spend way too much time on reading and asking questions. She took them all, thankfully, as the bonded group they have become.

Admittedly the backyard does feel quieter and less empty. I also walk around aimlessly because I am used to so much extra work with the ducklings. Clean water for chickens in the morning and coop waters set up for the night. Wow. So simple again! No dramatic dashes to the backyard after I’ve been gone for a few hours to refill the waterers, or setting an alarm while working in my office (home based) to stop work and clean and refill the waterers. A much simpler life duck-free.

I was looking forward to duck eggs and duck-a-l’orange and duck meat period. Especially from my free ranged organically fed ducks. I tried duck raising, It just isn’t meant for me.

So with the ducks gone it was time to clean the coop out and prepare for some new arrivals…because now have an extra CHICKEN coop for more chickens!! Yay!!!

And 3 makes 20

On the weekend I picked up our newest edition to our backyard flock. Porcelain Silkies. Two hens and one rooster. They came from a very reputable breeder who was looking to rehome these guys because the colouring aren’t recognized in the poultry association. They truly are stunning to look at and super sweet in their personalities.

What an absolutely wonderful breed to have in any backyard circumstance. They are docile, friendly, pet quality, and excellent broody hens. They are sometimes considered a batam chicken so a smaller breed, but in my opinion, their qualities and personalities make them giants in the bird word.

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Silkies fluffy plumage is said to feel like silk. Yes it is soft, silk no. They definitely do not feel like any of my other chickens, who have feathers, so I can see the slight exaggeration for the silk-like-feel comments. Their feathers lack functioning barbicels, and are more similar to down on other birds and leave Silkies unable to fly.

The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes and five toes on each foot, whereas most chickens only have four. The number one thing silkies are known and used for are their ability and eagerness, almost a requirement for a happy silkie, to be a mom.They will hatch out and raise any eggs you want to give them from another breed of chicken, even duck eggs and Turkey eggs a Silkie will raise as her own.

They are more prone to predator attacks because of their plumage. Their eyes are often hidden making flying and ground predators more of a threat that a traditional chicken. It’s a good thing we have an alert rooster who protects his flock.

We are looking forward to seeing these new silkies merge into our existing flock. Our chicken TV is the best tv we’ve watched in years!!!

The Auction, The Butcher & A Farm

I’ve been working a lot lately. I’ve recently also taken on a part-time job to add to the hustle bustle of my every day life. Some days I think I’m trying to see if I can get to the grave before my original scheduled time. Geeze!! Busy busy.

I have 11 ducklings, almost 4 weeks old. They are very time consuming at this point. I’m also have a big, but little guy, who was belly down as of last Sunday. I think he was injured somehow but after reaching out on a poultry forum and taking on recommendations of pumping him with nutrients he’s 75% better as of today. Sometimes these Pekin’s grow so fast they need more nutrients than the slower growing breeds like the Muscovys. It could of been an injury, not sure, but he’s well on his way to recovery. These guys are full steam ahead and trip over everything.

He’s been a lot of extra one on one work, making sure he gets to his food and water, securing him in a pen to be safe from predators and making sure he gets many therapeutic swims in. I’m just happy (and very relieved) he’s on the mend and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I suspect at this rate he will be back to himself by weeks end.

Friday I did something that was oodles of fun. It was the first time I’ve been to an auction; farm themed.
They had all kinds of animals up for auction. They had a variety of chicks, chickens, ducks, and huge mother roosters. One guy had 50+ roosters. Huge roosters. What on earth are you doing with all those roosters? Apparently taking them to an auction.

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The auctioneer is fast. I’m like, what? Huh? What did he say? I bid on a few animals, but wasn’t willing to go above my price points. He was going so fast on each bid I went over because my brain couldn’t keep up with his mouth, but thankfully someone always wanted them more than me.  It was HOT in there for me, the poor animals must of been even warmer and stressed, those big monster size fans do nothing on hot days.  In consideration of the heat, they auction off the babies and exotics first. I was close to buying the mini pony up for grabs but was worried about his comforts in my car on the ride home.  I left the auction without a single item. I did pat myself on the back for that. Really, I wanted to buy everything, but some quality wasn’t there in a lot of the animals and shame on those owners for not taking care of their animals at least to the minimum standards and then to further expect participants to pay for an unhealthy chicken … Gross.  Of course the obvious ones that shouldn’t sell, didn’t sell.  Good! But now what happens to them?

So after that load of fun was over, I had to go to the butcher and get our month’s worth of raw carcasses (for the dogs) and some items for us. This is a great butcher. Small town, family owned and they support local farmers only.

After the auction and the butcher it was time to start the long drive home. It will be about an hour before I reach my driveway, but I remembered my Burton Cummings CD before I left the house this morning, so I cranked the stereo as I drove the country side admiring all the wind turbines and the lush green landscapes, singing as loud as I could.

Not only am I an atheist, I’m pro wind turbines … GASP! I know 😜

As I’m driving I see the stunning Clydesdales that I admire every time I drive this route. My absolute favourite. The gentle giants of the fields. I don’t know why, or what made me, but I stopped in on the farm. Weird right? Hi, I like your horses. What’s your name? LOLOL!

Anyways, the lady of the house was in her gorgeous vegetable garden, weeding away. I introduced myself and told her how beautiful her Clydesdale were. Somehow I ended up getting a tour of her barn, bunnies, kitties, chickens and horses!! She was so welcoming and kind to a complete stranger, such a rarity these days. (In my experience anyways).  I’m not sure I’d be open to a random visit without a few raised eyebrows.  LOL.  What a hypocrite I am.

After an ice tea together, in the shade on a fallen tree stump and a chat for just over an hour, I decided to get the meat factory in my trunk home to the freezer.  She extended her ongoing invite for each time I am passing or just feel like stopping in.  Look at that!  I’ve made myself a new acquaintance, how fancy is that.

What a wonderful day. I’m so appreciative of these days as these seem so far and few between as I have aged. Some days I feel like I’ve aged like a bad banana and other days I feel like a fine aged sharp cheese.  Work, chores and stress seem to always take over my days. It was nice to take the time freedom and not have to be anywhere pressing.

Let’s do it again!

Welcome Aboard

Welcome.  Thank you for stopping by and I hope you do often.  You’ll need rubber boots, working gloves, no fear of poop and muck and ready to get down to business and enjoy every bit of it.  I love being out in the coops, with the backyard flock and I have so many stories to tell as something adventurous happens almost every day.

Who would of thought I’d ever have a homestead blog.  For me I always knew a backyard flock was in my future but a blog is another story!  Literally.😉

I currently also blog at sandyjournalized.wordpress.com but in the interest of organization and categorization I have decided to write about the backyard adventures here and keep the rants, recipes and matter of opinions over at sandyjournalized.wordpress.com

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and I hope to meet a lot of other homesteaders along the way.

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Cheers,

Sandy