Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flock Management

Animals coming and going is all part of farming, even on a tiny micro-farm like mine. Our maximum adult duck capacity is only 6, and with babies hatching you have to keep genetic diversity in mind.

In order to prevent inbreeding, several of us Welsh Harlequin owners are in the process of swapping drakes. Tweak just went to his new home in Northern Colorado yesterday. As thanks for raising him over the past year, giving him 4 adoring girl friends, feeding him treats and plenty of fresh vegetables, he got car sick all over the back of the jeep and pooped on my foot. Naturally I was wearing sandals. Next week a new little drake will be moving in. He is originally from McMurray hatchery and none of our birds of from McMurray now, so there will be plenty of genetic diversity in my line.

Chrissy also found a new home last week. She went to live here. Dorit, the owner, was looking for a good broody and Chrissy has already shown she is great at hatching and raising ducklings. After the clutch she recently raised, she was starting to sneak on to the nest of our other broody when she went for food and water. The broody-force is strong with that one!

Chrissy was never people friendly and at our micro-farm, we need animals that can be handled when necessary (checking them for health, moving them to other pens, etc..). That was NOT Chrissy. It took me well over 20 minutes to catch her and get her in to the travel carrier. In contrast, it took me about 10 seconds to get Tweak. She will now be living with a larger flock, and she will be free ranging when she isn't doing her favorite thing....sitting on a pile of eggs and hatching out more babies.

We have one more young drake from Chrissy's first brood for sale. We will be posting a craigslist ad today. He is in a teenager pen for now. Tweak, Wendy & Shelley were chasing him and we wanted him to be able to eat and drink in peace. He can still see and hear the other ducks, but they can't beat him up and take his lunch money anymore.

Lexus is sitting on a nest and we should have some hatching going on in the next few days. It is hard to tell exactly when this clutch is due because she seemed a little confused at first and didn't get really serious about setting for a week or so after we gave her a batch of fertile eggs. We thought she was ready because she was stealing eggs and piling them up, but this is her first time.

We have some more fertile eggs we are going place in another nest someone made in the little dog house we have in the run. Hopefully Wendy or Shelley will get that maternal feeling and set. Then we will be done with hatching for the year and my husband can finally make a descent omelette without having to break open so many tiny quail eggs.

No comments:

Post a Comment