Wednesday, March 30, 2011

getting our ducks in a row

In light of working towards getting our ducks in a row this year, we've extended our flock!
We are raising 10 Khaki Campbell and 4 Muscovy ducklings. They are so cute when they're small!

4 Khaki Campbell and 3 Muscovy ducks about 5 days old.

We have discovered more and more benefits that raising fowl can provide. They forage and graze, eat lots of bugs and pests, and based on the amazing fertilizer the geese gave us last year, we are betting on ducks blessing us too. 

The flocks are so much easier to manage than large livestock, using less space and food. We don't have a lot of paddocks around here yet, but with a little supplement to begin with and good management, the flocks will essentially be helping to build up their own oasis. We really want to get some good grazing area established, and plan on incorporating larger animal systems. 

The ducks also don't seem as barbaric as chickens. Don't get me wrong, I love our chickens and it was a logical place to start, but the chickens really are more of a "prehistoric" character. The ducks are already so much more docile and have mellow personalities. Khaki Campbell ducks are a breed known for being great backyard, domestic egg-layers. Muscovy ducks are also known for being docile, and a very good meat bird. I can see us scaling our hens back and relying on both the chickens and ducks for eggs, as well as use their bio-diversity to create a more complete natural system. 

Plus, they are just cute! I am just a sucker for cute little animals, and when we found Angela and Rebecca Krebs with Canyon Creek Poultry in Hamilton via Craigslist, I couldn't say no. If you want to raise some of your own, you can contact Angela at, or (406) 363-0856. They are very knowledgeable and super friendly! And they have a lot of cute ducklings!

It's all an experiment based on theory for us, so it's fun to try everything we can.

We have 2 sets of hatches, the largest section first. 6 Khakis and 1 Muscovy (Hank). We don't normally name the birds unless they seem to stand out. It was a thing we started since the beginning of the chickens, because we always read that you should plan to lose some. And we did lose some chickens. It was sad, but it's the way of the world sometimes, and with that, we don't get too attached. 

However, my little friend Henry came to visit the ducklings and was just sure the Muscovy was named Hank, just like him. Too cute! And now we have a Hank. 

The first hatch is a little more than 3 weeks old now, and got to go out for a quick swim.

Hank is posing while the Khakis huddle.

Out to the big puddle!

They love it, I wish it was warm enough to keep them out all day.

Can't believe they are already teenagers!!

We can definitely tell that the ducks are growing up fast. They are starting to  lose their "fluff" and have their feathers come in. They are much more active and talkative too, but not quite mature enough to be outside all day in the cold Montana weather. So we have been "hardening them off", letting them out for short periods of time, and then back inside to warm up in the brooder. They are still a little skittish of us, but we don't handle them a lot. We want them to establish their own flock and order, and rely on themselves more and more so they will be ready to graze on their own soon. 

Happy Ducks!


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  2. Lovely ducks - they should be provided with healthy meals and be taken cared of properly.