Candling Duck Eggs

IncubatedEggsAfter our small coyote duck massacre, I came to realize I have no drakes left. I had winnowed down to two drakes, because too many aggressive breeders are hard on the ladies. Both of them came up missing. I want to always have fertilized eggs so I can breed more ducks from time to time, so a new boy duck is needed. If necessary, I’ll buy one. But for now, I stuck some eggs in the incubator in hopes that I might hatch a male for free. It would be good to increase the flock a little too, I like to keep at least a dozen ducks for laying.

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Hillbilly Dinner: The Coyote’s Leftovers

RoastedDuckSunday we had a coyote attack on our ducks, after going all summer without losing any. Usually a coyote will just take one duck and make off with it. But this time, it was a major fray, in the middle of the day. We had fourteen ducks, and I think this little doggy managed to bite every single one of them! It was either a group of coyotes (though Kirk only saw one streak across the driveway when he went outside) or a young pup that got carried away with enthusiasm and unskilled efforts at dispatching birds!

Three ducks are outright missing (sewn-up duck is one of them, I am sad!). I found two freshly dead, and another died later from apparent internal injuries. So, we are down to eight from fourteen, in one incident! Ouch! I’m not certain we have a boy left in the group either, uh oh!

The two freshly killed ones I decided we could eat, they were still warm when we found them, and I had time, so I butchered them up! A hillbilly would never let a coyote’s leftovers go to waste, after all! 😉

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Sneaky Nesting Duck’s Babies


Sneaky Nesting Duck reappeared from her broody nest on Friday August 28th, right on time, 28 days after I’d first noticed her staying out all night. She successfully hatched four ducklings; out of, I think, eleven eggs. So though her overall percentage is better than the incubator, it’s still not great, and not as economical as using the incubator to produce ducklings. Continue reading “Sneaky Nesting Duck’s Babies”

Sneaky Nesting Duck


Around August 1st, I noticed that this Black Cayuga duck was not joining the other ducks in the duck house at night. This means that she is getting “broody” and hiding a nest of eggs somewhere. The fact that I have her was an accident- an order filling mistake by the mail-order poultry company. But, she lays eggs as well as the other breeds, so I’ve kept her. She is different from the other breeds I have (Magpie, Runner and Swedish)- she is more “wiley” I think. She can fly about six feet high for several yards, which none of the other ducks can do- they are all too heavy-bodied or oddly shaped to fly. She is also noisy, which I don’t prefer.

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Status: Duck Incubation and Sewn-Up Duck

NewestDucksThe sewn-up duck has healed well- she still has  a barely perceptible limp, but I almost can’t tell her apart from the other adult ducks. Amazing!

Her adopted babies are the result of my next generation of duck egg incubation attempts. Still not good: 7 hatches out of 36 eggs! :-{ Again, I had a lot of eggs that appears to be fully developed, but never hatched. Continue reading “Status: Duck Incubation and Sewn-Up Duck”

Living With Coyotes: Part 2

yingyang1How to live in balance with your local coyote population? Here’s some of my thinking and learning thus far.

Of course the first temptation is to shoot at them, there is a very alluring promise of an immediate sense of “justice” and relief of seeing that thief dead! Removing certain animals from the population is a valid part of predator management. But, only a part. Continue reading “Living With Coyotes: Part 2”

Poultry Houses

poultryaframes1I finally finished building my two new yuppie A-frame poultry houses a few weekends ago. I made one for chickens, with nest boxes and doors in the back for collecting eggs. The other one is just a plain night house. The two new houses are on the left, fully roofed; and the older, half-wire house is on the right.

I have the five duck hatchlings growing in the half-wire house. I bought some day-old Rhode Island Red chicks at the local feed store. I considered mail-ordering some, but have read a lot of the hatcheries are back-ordered quite a bit, and I was convinced I only needed a few. The feed store’s order was arriving right after I finished the houses.

I figured I only wanted about a dozen chickens, max, but asked for fifteen, figuring on some mortality. After I paid, the cashier said, “oh, you qualify for six free chicks based on the amount you spent today.” Ok, so now I have 21 chickens, and naturally, zero mortality! I think once you get them out of that mass-production environment into a roomy, warm pen with very accessible food and water, their individual odds of survivial go way up. Plus, I got there soon after their order had arrived, so got “fresh” chicks, and picked the most vigorous ones. I kept them in the house for the first several days until they were well established.chicks3

This was a pullet order, but I’m sort of hoping there will be a screw-up and at least one rooster in there, as I’d like fertile eggs. If not, I can buy one later. But these gals are a start, this fall, we should be able to start enjoying fresh chicken eggs, to augment the duck eggs. When they get a little bigger, I’ll teach them to range during the day, but go back into their house at night.