Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ducks: The Sequel

You knew I wasn't going to able to leave this alone, right? I was getting used to the pitter patter of webbed feet, the cheeping and the peeping and the red light of the brooder lamp turning our bathroom into something like an extra from Amityville Horror: the (poultry) Obsession. So I called Metzer Farms and groveled. (Actually, I didn't need to grovel much; the ducks I wanted were either in wide demand or the amount I wanted was so small that the extras could come my way.) Without further ado, let's meet the new flock.
In The Tub
Fifteen ducks. Fifteen. Yes, I need my head examined.

One of the new Cayugas: 6 females, 1 male, 1 undecided.

Golden Hybrid 300 Four of these little ladies.

Queen Bess, Chocolate Runner

Just one, and she already has The Royal Attitude

Khaki Campbell

Aristophanes (not pictured) and Lysistrata

And shall I mention that I finally found a place that would sell me White Runners? Because they have a minimum order of 10 and the White Runners are for the spouse, who doesn't care whether they're male or female, I ordered 2 of his ducks and 8 Saxony ducks. I'm hoping that I get at least one female with the group so I can start a breeding bunch there. Big duck, the Saxony. I know they have big eggs.

How do I know the Saxony can produce humongous eggs? Umm....

Well. The home-made incubator didn't do too well with the temperature regulation. I'm sure that it would have if I could have been there 24-hours a day to keep careful watch, but I have three children and a spouse and a large parcel of land, not to mention the other projects that keep me busy (and shall we throw in the fact that I do need sleep every once in a while??), so the temperature swings on that critter got very wild and wide. I'm trying to save the four remaining runner eggs, but the original Silver Appleyard eggs are toast. They're supposed to hatch out this weekend and I can't bring myself to bury them before then, but come Monday morning they're gone.

Which brings me to my DBS's dental visit last week. He sat next to a woman who was knitting, something he happens to know something about because he's married to a woman who knits. Obsessively. He asked her what she was knitting, she said "A scarf," and he said that his wife knitted too and she was working on a shawl. In the course of the conversation he mentioned that his wife was raising ducks, and she said, "How interesting. I know a couple of women who are raising ducks!" She told him that she raised llamas, that she spun the fiber and used the yarn for items that she sold on Etsy. He said that was great! And by the way, his wife also had an Etsy shop that she might have heard of -- MadWoman Soaps.

Whereupon she looked at him and said, "'re Stephanie's husband?!?"

Hello, Marti. Forgive me for butchering at least part of that story, I'm sure.

Marti in her infinite generousity gifted us with an incubator and I promptly set about filling it up with eggs. First, the four surviving runner eggs. I don't know if they're going to make it but they were only in my incubator for a week, so there's a chance. Then there were the 13 Silver Appleyards I ordered to make up for the ones that I have a sneaking suspicion I've lost. And then I went absolutely barking mad and ordered some Saxony eggs. I won 12 at an Ebay auction and the woman sent me 19. WOW. If I'm counting correctly that's 36 potential ducks. If I get a 60% successful hatch that's 21-22 new ducks.

(We shall respectfully pause while the author runs around the computer area like a headless bit of poultry.)

Well. There will be a bit of culling going on here come Thanksgiving. I will send the offspring and DBS to the mom-in-law's and promptly become very, very sick. But I shall also be up to my freezer-top in roast duck and in these days of rising food costs, that's no small thing.


Bobbi said...

Great pictures, and your little Queen Bess is precious. All the post was very entertaining, you had me hooked, then the Stephen King ending.
Or I am envisioning (or hearing?) the theme music from Psycho.

Stephanie said...

Oh, it gets better. I had to divide the ducks into two overnight bins last night so they would have more room, and this is when I discovered that I actually had one extra Cayuga (9 instead of the 8 I had ordered). Since I ordered 15 ducks and got 15 ducks, this meant that I didn't get something else. I had my pair of Khakis, check, that left either 3 Golden Hybrids and one Chocolate Runner or 4 Golden Hybrids and no Chocolate Runner. I looked at Queen B and thought, hmm, you're configured like the rest of them so I'll be you aren't a runner duck, not by a long shot. I left a message with Metzer last night that said I was missing a duck. They called back this morning slightly puzzled, and after we got everything straightened out they offered to send me a replacement duck or a refund, but the replacement could not travel alone. If I wanted a duck of my own choosing they would have to charge me, but if I wanted a surprise duck it would be free. I've got the ducks I wanted, so I could afford to indulge myself in a surprise package.

If I had a billboard I'd be prime cheerleader for Metzer Farms. So far they have treated me royally even though I have to be one of their minorest of clients.