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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Annimal Husbandry

Definition: breeding and caring for farm animals.

Really? I actually thought it meant that the husband had to do all the mucking out and the Wife (not mentioned in the term above) got to sit around for hours on end watching in wonder as her little baby duckling deals with life on the WiseFarm.

Our baby will be one week old tomorrow. We are still waiting for the other two eggs to hatch, but considering they are Muscovy Duck Eggs, which can take 35 days to incubate as opposed to 28 days for little brown ducks, our wait should end on Sunday. If there is no movement by then we are going to do a 'float test' to see if there is a live one inside. 

When we made a conscious decision to embark into this business of breeding (be they be for meat or eggs) the Chef and I decided to let nature takes it's course. We are not going to invest in an incubator and breed ourselves, we will let Broody Betty the Bantam Hen do all the work. If she has success of one or two birds a year then I will be happy with that. A slow growth rate to add to the flock. Manageable. I might buy a heat lamp just in case we have any last minute change-of-hearts though, because I worry that with giving Betty several different eggs to sit on she may some day get annoyed that none of them are actually 'hers'.

That being said, I think that Betty will be fine.  You see she is a very young hen. This is her first hatch-ling. She has not even laid an egg of her own yet, and has mothered the child of another. When the baby arrived last week we saw the testy males get into a slinging match over 'who da baby Daddy' is, and truth be told, they have not stopped bitching since. We are at the point now where we will be building a new fence (using old poles from a tent and some chicken wire) to keep the 'Lads' separated. A baby is a baby guys. It wants and needs for the same thing, no matter who's it is, or where it has come from. 


The other two female hens have turned out to be total cows also. So 'The Simpsons' (Bart/Rooster; Maggie/Lisa - the hens) seem to be showing signs of intolerance when it come to accepting new life. More than a few times I have witnessed the two hens trying to peck the life out of the little guy (remaining nameless until we know the sex). Thankfully, Betty (only 1/3 the size of the bigger girls) is one stellar Mum. She chases them away like a fire breathing dragon would and takes a shrill tone with them if they come within 3 feet of her nest. 

We, here on the WiseFarm, do not tolerate, well, intolerance. It is safe to say that we all come from entirely different backgrounds, are of many (or no) religions and are colourblind to what you may look like on the outside and only really care about who you are inside. Separating the hens might be a short term solution as you cannot expect chickens to learn our family ethos, but we will be introducing a few Guinea Fowl to the flock later in the summer. They are apparently great mediators and may help reunite the flock.

Stay tuned because the next posting might just be chicken soup for the soulless Rooster!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,



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