The Poultry Project Blog - 2014, Year 7
(entries below are in chronological order, bottom up)
December 12, 2014 - Duck Report
Another Khaki Campbell duck lost to a predator. It's a Redtail Hawk. We saw it sitting on a fence post. I read online that hawks kill by swooping down and killing quickly. They eat the best parts--breast, leg. That is what we have found.
Ducks sleep in the open pasture with heads tucked under a wing. 'Sitting Duck?"
One Black Runner is left. She is adapting to being the only duck by hanging out with our Black Star hen. Hopefully her more upright stance and need to follow the chickens will keep her alive. Chickens don't sleep in the open and they are always very wary.
December 2, 2014 - Duck Report
A predator killed one of the Khaki Campbell ducks. :-( I suspect that turning on lights at 2a to keep the hens laying means everyone comes out of the barn in the dark and the ducks are fearless and roam into their pasture. Either an owl or maybe opossum. We have a coupleof very big owls living in our trees and I've read they will kill poultry although I'm surprised they didn't carry it away.
So now I keep the barn door closed and everyone locked in till daylight. They don't like it but they are alive. Two ducks left is probably a blessing because they are sooooo messy. Naturally the most beautiful and friendly one was lost. Never get attached to poultry--I forgot.
September 13, 2014 - Duck Report
Eggs! Today I noticed 3 light green eggs on the floor of the coop where the ducks sleep at night. Someone has been busy. I've been looking around the coop (especially in the box I made for them to lay in), but didn't think to look where they sleep. Two had been there a couple of days and were dirty. I tossed those but kept the freshest one. Not sure whether it's Khaki Campbell or Runner. Time will tell as I think they each lay different colors. They are 18 weeks old. See the egg in the Gallery on this date.
June 22, 2014 - Duck Report
So different from chickens. Same peeping sound as infants, but they are much tougher and need less heat. They are very messy with their water. See the 'Coop' tab for a way to manage spilling.
At 3 weeks they were still furballs but were huge compared with chicks the same age. They were really too big for my 6x8 brooder and since they were too big to squeeze through the wire fence in the big baby pen, they moved outside at 3 weeks.
They mis-trust me big time. The book says to establish a routine which doesn't seem to matter. They trample eachother trying to get away from me. They love the water, but without wings (unlike young chickens) they can't jump up more than about 4 inches. So the 12 inch water tub had to include a ramp. Didn't take them long to figure that out.
They spend lots of time in the water, where they also poop--all day. Suggestion: don't swim in ponds inhabited by ducks... I'm changing the water in their 50-gallon 'pool' about every 4 day. :-(
See pictures from 1 day to 6 weeks in the Gallery.
June 18, 2014 - First Egg
The pullets are 18 weeks old and one of the Buff Orpington's has laid her first tiny egg. The others aren't far behind so we expect to be gathering a lot of little eggs soon.
June 1, 2014 - Adoption
Today my 8 adult chickens went to a new and very loving home. It's always nice when culling that the birds can go to someone I know will take care of them. I have in the past taken them to the feed store where they are sold to people who want layers.
Now the wait has begun for the 9 three-month old girls to begin laying--Hopefully later this month. We have a 5 week supply of eggs on hand while we wait.
May 8, 2014 - Mortality
One of the Black Runner ducklings died this morning. She was spending a lot more time resting than her sisters so I wasn't surprised. The hatchery refunded my money. And then there were 5.
May 6, 2014 - Ducklings!
With all the egg breaking the chickens have been doing despite repeated attempts to change their minds, I've decided to try layer ducks.
Six little girls arrived in the mail this morning looking happy and healthy. They were shipped by overnight mail from Iowa with a heat pack to keep them toasty warm. Both breeds lay eggs. Khaki Campbells are prolific, laying nearly as many as a chicken. The Black Runners are probably more interesting looking than they are good layers. Runners stand up straight.
They are so cute. See them in the Gallery on this date.
This year's chicks will begin laying by mid-June. I plan to cull all 8 adult egg biters before the little girls see the bad behavior.
February 13, 2014 - Chicks!
We are starting early this year--the first chicks of the season arrived today at the feed store. Not all the breeds I was hoping for, but enough. Trying 2 white egg layers this year--both Leghorns--one white and one brown. And a Black Sex Link, also called a Black Star. They are a hybrid that lays lots of brown eggs. Then we have the normal breeds: Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red.
I'm considering adding a few more breeds when these babies leave the brooder in 6 weeks--we'll see. I may get a few ducks. I've been wanting to try layer ducks so we can have some quackers in the poultry yard.
With only 8 hens, our cold late autumn coupled with shorter days made the gals stop laying for several weeks at the end of November. Since this stoppage was sudden, we had enough surplus eggs for a while, but I had to buy eggs (oh dear!) last week for the first time in years.
I started turning on the barn lights early in the morning starting in mid-December and laying resumed shortly after but only 2 hens are laying. Others are molting even though young hens usually don't molt till 18 months--these gals aren't even a year old yet. Wyandottes and Brahmas are very cold hardy and usually lay during the winter. :-(
So next year, lights begin in late October or at least by November 1 to keep the day length up.
I'm planning for my next flock. I'll get 9 or 10 more chicks when the feed store begins selling chicks in February (13 or 20th). I need only 8, but this will allow for mortality and possible culling later in the year. These girls should start laying by late July when I will cull the 8 older hens. I'll always have youngsters and hopefully no more egg stoppages!
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