Duck Shit

Yup, that’s what I’ve been up to…
Shoveling duck shit/bedding.
Last week we flipped the top of the duck coop open (it’s on hinges), kicked every birb out, and I shoveled it out.
Twice.
I did that twice.
Then, everyone got a dose of ivermectin on their backs, right on the skin (I hate trying to get through those downy feathers to find skin, but the ivermectin has to go right on the skin to be effective) and they also got a 3 day course of penpro (antibiotic).
They had a respiratory infection that just wasn’t clearing up, so after a quick discussion with our vet, I dosed every damn duck (and T.D, a sweetgrass turkey who is convinced she’s a duck…so her name is TallDuck) in the coop.
Today, I am optimistic that everyone who is left will pull through just fine.
Today was their 2nd round of the ivermectin, and they’ll get one more in 7 days.
I’ve also had my second round of the ivermectin, because it is inevitable that I wear some while dosing ducks.
Muscovy hens are bitches when they don’t want to be handled.
Damn, them girls got some *fight* in ’em this week…and that’s a helluva good sign.
Means they’re feeling much, much better.
And everyone’s feathers are looking better, and they’re eating us out of house and home again…
And they’re running The Kid over when she opens their coop.
So, all good stuff.

I just feel like a shitty duck owner because it took this long to get them dewormed again and far too long to get them antibiotics….my Kid lost her foundation drake, Cricket:

Cricket the Duck. He’s a handsome fella!

And let me tell you…there’s nothing worse than listening to your kid’s sobs of heartbreak because an animal she loved died…
Problem was, the weather beat the shit out of us mercilessly and there really was no way (besides ivomec in water pails) to deworm them, and I didn’t put 2+2 together on the resp. infection until the sneezing didn’t clear up with clean bedding.

So now we’re just doing everything we can to keep the last 17 ducks going…
Fingers crossed, and a whole lotta ducks shit shoveling, and so far, everyone is good.
They’re having meetings and trilling and cooing and wagging tails (which are growing back in) and the drakes are starting to get *that look* and the hens are giving them the okay wags…

And for the record, Poop Machine (yep, that’s his name) thinks this hands on health care is complete duckshit. He ain’t liking it one little bit.
😂😂😂

In other news, the snow is finally melting.
About damn time.
The chickens and turkeys are doing well.
Oscar is dancing and prancing and the hens are squatting.
Next week begins the collection of eggs for the incubator(s).
Hopefully we’ll have a bunch of little Narragansetts running about come May!
Then any hens can be put with Dingus when they’re older.
Right now he only has 1 girl and she keeps calling for Oscar.
Fucking turkeys.
😂😂😂
But Oscar is the dominant tom, so all the hens who have been in with him (and Dingus’s girl was before the great garage move) want to stay with him.
Problem is I can’t keep the 2 toms together, or Oscar kills any hen who shows interest in Dingus.
Turkeys are misogynistic bastards.
Tasty bastards tho…

Down to my last 4 bales of hay.
The Merry Mares are going through roughly 1 a week…yup, still doing the put a whole bale out thing…just because the snow hasn’t melted enough that I can portion feed again.
But as the snow recedes and more ground is showing, they’re finding tasty bits to nibble.
Once the frost is out of the ground and all the melt soaks in, it’s take a day or two of warmth and the grass will explode into growth that they won’t be able to keep up with.
I am so hoping for an excellent hay season.
We need one after the last few years.

But, Mother Nature is gonna do whatever it is that She’s gonna do and we humans are just going to have to deal with whatever She throws our way.
Again.
I just hoping for good growing and harvesting weather.
It’s all I can do.

Getting There…

Today we got 4 round bales of wheat straw home for The Merry Mares.

It was…interesting. lol
Those are big bales, but thankfully, we didn’t have far to go.
Also, thankfully, the folks we bought them from have more available.
Like 800 more available!!
So, later on if I need more I can get it any time.
Yay!
I suspect that we might need a few more to tide The Merry Mares over for winter. Fingers crossed not, but knowing I can get more means I can give ’em to them to enjoy without worry. 🙂

So today we did that.
Then we set one out for the horses and peeled off some for the ducks, the chickens and the turkeys.

We stole all the duck babies from their Mamas and put them in the coop I showed you last post.
It’s getting colder and it’s time to get the ducks into one pen.
And it’s too cold for the babies to learn pecking order with the big ducks.
So, since we have the coop, and we already had Cricket (the once house duck) and his friend Disco (a once duckling from our white hen) in there (Disco was added because Cricket needed a friend…animals *always* do better in pairs), we figured we’d put *all* the ducklings in there.
At least until they feather out enough to go into another house near the bigger ducks.

*sigh*
Animal husbandry can be frustrating.
It is, no matter what, a lot of work.
Especially if you’re doing it properly.

We also brought home another 400lbs of feed for the poultry and 100 lbs of oats for the horses.
Our horses don’t get a lot of grain.
We prefer to give quality hay, alfalfa cubes as extras and beet pulp.
But on those bitterly cold nights, the grain is handy to stoke the equine furnace and get it running hot so that when the ample amount of hay (and now straw too) goes in, they stay warm.
Horses stay warm best by eating.
Not to say we don’t blanket.
We have one for everyone, but Sable gets to wear hers more than the others. She is my Palomino Princess. ❤
And to be fair, she’s getting up there in age, and sometimes us oldsters need a little help to stay fat and sassy in the colder months. 😉

Tomorrow I butcher the last handfuls of roosters that are ready to be done, while Hubby and The Kid work on the fencing for the adult ducks and turkeys. Then we can move the turkeys to their coop and the ducks into the brooder the turkeys are in.
It’s been a looooong summer/fall of poultry butchering and after tomorrow I’ll just have 5 or so ducks to do.
Of the 14 we bought, we did 6 last week.
There’s 7 left (we lost one small duckling shortly after we got them) and I think a couple of ’em are hens.
Hens stay on, drakes go to freezer camp.

Come spring we’ll look at the 18 babies that hatched (19 technically, but Cricket has become The Kid’s pet, so Cricket is off the table, food wise), figure out who’s a hen, who’s a drake and set breeding groups from there.
Hopefully come spring, the eine kliene bang bang music amongst the ducks will give us a massive amount of ducklings to waddle the pasture and eat bugs, whilst shitting out ducky fertilizer here, there and everywhere.
I am hoping to have whole ducks for sale come next fall.
Ducks can be processed on Farm, and sold Farm gate.
They just have to be whole and labeled as “uninspected”…meaning they haven’t been done in a provincially inspected abattoir.
And, with no overseeing board (like the Manitoba Chicken Producers, or the Egg Board) there’s no limit on the number of ducks I can butcher and sell, so long as I follow the already in place guidelines.
Turkeys is 99 per year.
Meat chickens is 999 per year.
I would love to become a supplier of well bred, well raised, humanely slaughtered muscovy ducks.
So that’s what we’re working on.

So that’s where we’re at.
Making progress, and trying our best.
Today I turned on the heat for the very first time this winter.
And I need to get hay home.
But so far, so good.
Things are going well…would be better if there were 6 of us, instead of 3 but…whatrya gonna do?
We’re gonna do the best we can and hope for the best.
🙂

Just think, in 4 1/2 months, I’ll fire the incubators for the first hatch of 2021.
Feels like forever away, but it’s only 4 1/2 months.

It Finally Happened

This has been a couple years in the making.
We’ve been waiting what feels like for. ever.
We’ve been wanting this to happen for so long.
And finally…

This is Ripple…one of our muscovy hens.
Isn’t she a beautiful girl?
Look beside her…

There’s a scrap of something bright, bright yellow there…
Do you see it?

Do you see now?
🙂

Ripple has hatched out ducklings!!

It’s late in the season, yes.
But after the eggs I stuck into the incubator died (but were well formed) we knew our new drake was working…before winter though, I needed confirmation that spring would give us ducklings. Otherwise, I’d be looking for a new drake. Again.
So when Ripple decided she was sitting a nest at the end of July, we let her.

There’s 2!

There’s a couple more eggs under her that might hatch yet…

There’s 3!
You can just see the hint of a 3rd duckling under her.
🙂

Good job, Mama Ripple!

If that doesn’t make getting the duck house in place for winter that much more urgent, I don’t know what does!!
😂😂😂

New Ducks

Say hello to our new trio of muscovy ducks…

There’s 2 hens and a drake there.
They’re young yet, being a Sept. 2019 hatch.
But, in the next month or two, the hens will start to lay and hopefully the drake will get to work doing what drakes do best.
He’s got a total of 6 hens to service and I’m hoping her does that.
I want these girls to give me ducklings…many, many ducklings.
🙂

Freelance Writing

I don’t know how people do it…make money blogging.
I just don’t.
I’m clearly missing something…I’m sure it’s the lack of ads and affiliate links…or maybe I’m not pimping myself out quite right.
lol
If you’ve got any secrets on how to do that, (make money while blogging, not pimping myself out) please feel free to share. 😉

That said…I have, in the past, picked up a little extra money freelance writing for online homesteading magazines…most notably homestead.org.
And, having submitted a few ideas back in January, I got the go ahead to write 3 articles for them.
Yay!

So I’m busy writing those…and once they’re live, I’ll share the links so y’all can read them.
🙂
Hopefully I can keep up the writing streak here, but, things might get light here and there.
Paying work has to come first.
Mama gots to makes the moneys, ya know?
😂😂😂

But I’ll do my best to keep things rolling here…after all, in just about 2 weeks, there’s gonna be chicks hatching, and I’ve got 3 new ducks coming today…including a drake for my Muscovy hens.
I don’t want y’all to miss chicks or ducks. Or new equine pics. Or the latest Capture52 shots.
Just bear with me if I’m slow, ‘kay?

🖤🖤🖤

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
Because I”m thankful to be able to share my Farm life with everyone and I’m thankful to have a few paying jobs coming.
🙂