Did you think I gave up the blog? Sorry, still here and still have grand intentions. Just struggling to find my groove I guess. So anyway, March 1, I went out to check that nest I mentioned eons ago and found this. 18 little ducklings. (4 days later we got our 4th child through the foster care system... hence why its been 6 months since I've blogged). Later that day we collected most of them and moved them to a pen. We let Mama (now known as Big Mama) raise 4, but frankly, the pasture is a dangerous place. One drowned in their duck bath. A couple weeks later another was trampled to death in the barn. We then rescued the remaining 2 and raised them with the others.
And here they are at slaughter size. Just before we slaughtered the first batch, Big Mama hatched out another clutch of 10. We raised them basically just like the chickens, but we also provide a big shallow pan of water for bathing in.
From the 1st batch we saved out 4 females to add to the breeding stock. We've had many requests to purchase ducks so figured we could always sell off extra ducklings. We also slaughtered Big Mama's sister who never could even figure out how to lay her eggs together in a safe place. I know these new ducks are laying now because I find eggs laying about, but Big Mama always lays now in a hollowed out palm tree that's been felled. I'm hoping the young ones get their acts together and lay well come spring. Big Mama has a nest of 8 eggs she's sitting on now. I assume they'll hatch somewhere near the end of September.
As for caring for these breeding stock, we do very little. We dump them some chicken grain (as some old, leftover grass seed) once a day and keep a bath filled with water. They do the rest. And Angel, the dog, is scary enough to keep predators at bay.