Cast Iron Cooking: Dutch Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby

Do you have a lot of farm fresh eggs on hand that you’re not sure how to use up? Try making a delicious Dutch Baby for breakfast – even the pickiest eaters are certain to enjoy it…and it’s even better if you use duck eggs! Continue reading “Cast Iron Cooking: Dutch Dutch Baby”

Like Strange Eggs? Here’s A New One!

Strange Eggs

Each morning, we collect the duck eggs from the nest boxes in their coop. We time it so that the group is out eating breakfast while we take the eggs; otherwise, we risk invoking the wrath of the broody who’s been sitting in the corner nest (she knows we steal the eggs, I can feel it in her glare). Several of the girls have already gone broody, but this duck has been particularly committed to defending “her” eggs.

There are four nest boxes in the duck coop: three jumbo covered boxes and one small, shallow one. For some reason, some of the ducks prefer the shallow, open one – there are typically at least two eggs in there in the morning. We usually find several in each of the other boxes, with the broody’s nest being the cleanest, beautifully down-lined, and full of carefully hidden eggs. We’ve learned that you can provide the most deluxe, plush nest box, and that’s still no guarantee that the ducks will lay their eggs in it, so offering variety seems to work best – and an egg laid in a nest box has a much better chance of being a clean egg. Continue reading “Like Strange Eggs? Here’s A New One!”

February Kits: First Day On Pasture

First Day on Pasture

We wrote this post yesterday, when it was sunny and beautiful out…it’s raining, dark, and gloomy today. 

The rabbit kits born in February are 8 weeks old now. Time has flown! We would normally move them out into the tractors sooner (once weaned), but the weather has been unpredictable and there’s recently been heavy rainfall, so we waited until the ground had absorbed the moisture. Today’s 80 degree weather has really helped dry the ground out. Continue reading “February Kits: First Day On Pasture”

No Cable Here, But “Chicken And Duck TV” Is On All Day

Chicken and Duck

One of the best things about living on a farm is being able to turn on the ever-entertaining and variety-filled “chicken and duck” (and rabbit) channel. You never know what you’re going to see!

This past winter, we spent a lot of time with the chickens and ducks lately after finishing up morning chores because that seemed to be when the hawks most commonly appeared. While it’s within the realm of possibility for a hawk to swoop down and grab a chicken and duck right in front of a farmer, the hawks like to hunt when people or other livestock guardians aren’t around. Why? Because they’re opportunists: they want an easy meal with low risk of injury to themselves. Unfortunately, a young, inattentive chicken fits the bill. Continue reading “No Cable Here, But “Chicken And Duck TV” Is On All Day”

The Incubator’s Fired Up: Spring Ducklings Will Be Here Soon!

Spring Ducklings

Last year’s spring and summer hatches of ducklings are now laying their own eggs, enthusiastically. With Spring upon us, it’s time to hatch some of those eggs. Chicken eggs, generally speaking, are very easy to hatch; Muscovy eggs require more maintenance and monitoring, but are worth the effort.

While it’s tempting to candle the eggs earlier, we begin candling to check Muscovy egg development at day 10. At this point, the viability of the egg can be determined with reasonable confidence: you should see the network of blood vessels and the embryo, and the embryo will probably react to the light by moving around. Any obvious “clears” – infertile or non-developing – are removed now, as are any where development has stopped (like a blood ring). It’s early enough in incubation that bad eggs shouldn’t have reached the point of exploding, but far enough along to allow you to see real development. Candling is fun and nerve-wracking at the same time: it’s easy to fumble an egg and even drop it as you’re trying to candle – and a dropped egg is most likely going to mean the end for that developing embryo. So far, we haven’t dropped any eggs, but the risk is ever-present. Continue reading “The Incubator’s Fired Up: Spring Ducklings Will Be Here Soon!”