Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken and Duck Update

This is our second year of having chickens and ducks. I wanted to give you an update on how it's going. Our chickens and ducks are free run, so we don't pen them up at all. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages being....better quality of life for the bird, no messy pen clean up, and they do a better job at parasite and bug patrol. Disadvantages....they can be more easily preyed upon by predators or become roadkill. We have gained and lost many ducks and chickens this year.

We started out this spring with 4 ducks....a male and female Rouen and a male and female Indian Runner. The Rouen and Runner females each hatched a clutch of eggs. The Rouen hatched 12 Rouen ducklings. Seven of them eventually disappeared, probably due to predators. We gave 4 male ducklings to a neighbor and kept one female duckling. Unfortunately, that female duckling got hit by a car this week. The chickens and ducks have always been good about staying out of the road until recently. The Runner hatched 17 rouen/runner cross ducklings. A week after hatching her ducklings, she was attached by a predator and we had to put her down. Then a neighbor gave us another male Runner that we had given them last year, because a raccoon had killed all their other ducks and he was the only one left. So we were back to having 2 grown runners. Then one of the male runners got hit by a car a few weeks ago. Of the 17 ducklings....only 2 disappeared, possibly due to a predator. We gave 13 away to a few different people, because we had close to 30 ducks...and that was way too many to feed and swim in our little pond. So, now we are down to 7 ducks...2 grown Rouens, 1 grown Runner and 4 Rouen/Runner ducklings. Here are some pictures.

As for the chickens, we started this spring with 3 silkies....1 hen and 2 rooster. The hen hatched 9 chicks. All but one survived (no thanks to Rozalyn who stepped on one of them with her horse-a-saurus paw). Of the 8, 4 were males and 4 were females. We decided to keep all the females, giving us 5 hens and gave away the 6 roosters. Now the original hen is sitting on eggs again (in our alpaca hay feeder bin), so we may have more chicks soon. While I gave the 6 white roosters away, I bought 2 new roosters. One is a blue calico and the other is a red buff. They should make some interesting colored chicks with our white hens next year. So we have 7 chickens now...5 hens and 2 roosters. Here are some pictures of the white hens and new colored roosters.

So that is a quick update to bring you up to speed on all the comings and goings of our crazy birds on our alpaca farm this year.


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