Redtail Ridge Ducks

The ducks of Redtail Ridge. 
 Elton has a wild
hairdo -- I think he is a
White Crested/Swedish cross.
      I never planned on ducks.  We have no pond or close water.  They just sort of "happened".  A friend of my husband got 3 cute baby ducks for his wife's birthday.  He had them for a year and a half, and truly couldn't handle how much work they were any more.  He asked if I wanted them.  As a favor I took them.  He had one condition....I couldn't butcher them.  So, Donald, Elton, and Daffy (yes, he named them) came to live at Redtail Ridge.
     Ducks are weird.  Not like chickens really at all.  Over this last summer I did fell in love with them though.  Nothing makes you chuckle more than ducks "puddling" in a puddle on a rainy day. It's right up there with baby goats bouncing off walls, and kittens chasing a piece of binder twine.
    Donald and Daffy laid eggs. (We call her Doni now)   They were not very good at hatching eggs.  They kept moving them around and leaving half of them out of the nest.  (They should have been separated)  Then one day my daughter asked if I wanted some baby ducks that had hatched at her place.  I took five 2 week old baby ducks and put them under Doni who was still trying to sit on eggs.  She loved them immediately :-)  We kept all the hens, so now my flock consists of 4 hens and 1 drake (Elton)
    When they start laying eggs this spring I want my daughter to try the duck eggs in baking.  My grandson is allergic to chicken eggs, but I have heard that sometimes duck eggs will not give the same reaction.  I'll let you know how that works.  I will bake with duck eggs also, everything  is more tender and fluffy with them.  I can't eat them scrambled or fried though --- it's a really different texture.
     I will also let my banty hens hatch out some duck eggs.  I heard chickens are better duck mothers than ducks are :-).  My small flock of ducks eventually will have a bigger job.  They will have run of the orchard (or at least part of it).  The goal is for them to help keep down the population of apple  maggots, you know, the insect that leaves the "worm holes" in the apples.  I'm not sure I'll have fencing up yet this year, but it will be coming.  (I'm looking into natural hedgerow fencing)  It won't have a top on it, too big of an area, but the ducks seem to be very "hawk wise".  We'll see how it goes.

No comments: