There have been some new additions on the farm this summer that each deserve their own update. First up... Ducks!
We have had chickens since we moved to the farm four (five?) years ago and they have been such an integral part of our little homestead. Their sweet noises, pretty plumage, and delicious eggs were my first introduction to caring for livestock and gave me confidence that I could do this Farm Girl thing. This summer, I decided it was time to diversify the flock and brought home some little ducklings! Not only are they the cutest things you will ever see, but duck eggs are great for baking. They are larger than chicken eggs, have a higher yolk-to-white ratio making them higher in fat content, and they make baked goods fluffy and rich.
The two girls in the first pictures are Welsh Harlequins that we named Eleanor and Fay. I decided on this breed because they are reported to be calm and friendly, they are great egg layers, and I think they are really pretty. After those two girls came in the mail, I stopped by the feed store and just take a guess what they had there?!?... Little (female) Magpie ducklings! Well, they were so cute and what was one more duckling in the brooder, right? One Magpie duckling came home with me that day and I named her Mona. "She" was a little bigger than the Harlequins, but "she" was also supposed to be a week or so older... makes sense, right?
The three ducks grew, feathered out, and moved outside. Everything was going great until I looked out the window recently and noticed one, little, curly feather right on the top of the Magpie's tail... OH NO! "She" is a "he," my hen is a drake, Mona is actually "Mo!" Sigh... these things happen, I suppose! So far, Mo is getting along alright, but he isn't sexually mature yet. I am going to keep my eye out for overly aggressive behavior towards both duck and chicken hens. Keep your fingers crossed!