Tag: farming

Ducks Growing Up

Today was a great day to be a duck again — warm-ish weather, the pond isn’t frozen over. So they’ve been enjoying splashing and swimming. But, this morning, I could only count five ducks in the pond. Checked around the yard, but I didn’t see the other duck. Then a ducky head popped up from underwater and … well, it looked like one duck was trying to drown another duck! Then something I read in a duck forum popped into my head — ducks mating can seem like the drake is trying to kill the female. Or it could look like the drake is trying to drown the female (which … IMO, seems a lot like “trying to kill”. So I’m not sure what exactly the person was trying to convey there!). Our ducks are about five months old and, evidently, have matured enough to start mating. Hopefully, we’ll be able to hatch some new ducks in the spring!

Sustainability and meat

I’ve seen a lot of info on the incredible (bad) environmental impact of meat production — the amount of land and water it takes to grow a cow is staggering. Something like 77% of the world’s land that is used for agriculture is used to graze livestock. Lamb/mutton, beef, and cheese (mostly cows still) top the list of inefficient ways to produce a gram of protein. I see plant-based fake meat (Beyond, Impossible, etc) marketing toward this — a lower impact way to enjoy a burger. I’d like to see more focus on using existing food sources to reduce the amount of meat contained in meals — rewriting recipes to reduce meat consumption.

I make a lot of meals where meat is a small component of the dish — additions instead of subtractions from the normal recipe. Enhancements instead of restrictions. Turkey burgers with lots of spinach, some feta, and garlic. Stroganoff with three different types of mushrooms, plenty of onions, and a bit of beef. Tacos and wraps loaded with rice, beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado, cheese, grilled corn, and a little grilled chicken. Sloppy joe sandwiches where half of the ground beef is replaced with red lentils. Pasta salad that’s more salad than pasta with a little bit of diced pepperoni. We have completely vegetarian meals, and I use the Beyond/Impossible substitutes to make meatball subs or sausage pizza. That all balances out the grilled steak or rack of ribs some other day.


Here are the chickens we want to order. I had put together a list based on research and talking to other people. Then I let Anya go through the hatchery’s website and pick the chickens she liked. Then I showed her where to find info about how many eggs they produce, if they are good in hot and cold weather, how friendly they are. We went through her list & eliminated birds that didn’t want to be in the cold, weren’t friendly, or only produce an egg a week. She really wants a white leghorn, but they say it’s not a good breed for cold weather. All but one of the ones I added were dropped because of lower egg production or less friendly personalities, so she was OK with removing some of her favorites from the list because sooooo many of mine got removed too.

Now we just have to wait until August for them to arrive! There’s evidently been a run on both chickens and seeds as people encounter runs on, well, everything at the grocery store.

Name Breed Eggs-Low Eggs-High Climate Personality Egg Size Eggs Baby Adult
Astra Austra White 208 260 Heat and Cold Hardy Quite, tame and docile Large  Austra White Day Old Austra White Chicks For Sale at Meyer Hatchery, Your Premier Poultry Source
Sunshine Buff Orpington 200 280 Very Cold Hardy Docile, Quiet & Affectionate Large Buff Orpingtons lay large light brown eggs Day old baby Buff Orpington chicks Beautiful and fluffy Buff Orpington hen
Tilly Columbian Wyandotte 180 Very Robust, Cold Hardy Generally Docile Large Columbian Wyandottes lay lots of brown eggs every year. Shop Meyer Hatchery for your day old baby chicks! We ship nationwide year-round. Columbian Wyandotte Hens are a beautiful mix of mostly white with black accents.
Queenington Green Queen 208 260 extremely hearty in all climates Friendly, Docile, Good Pet Large  Green Queen  Green Queen
Soaring Eagle Black Jersey Giant 180 200 very cold hearty Calm & Easy Going Medium Black Jersey Giants are a sustainable heritage breed that lays brown eggs. Black Jersey Giant Hens have black feathers and willow or black legs and feet.


Notes on Pigs

We’ve been thinking about raising pigs. Most of what we raise is heirloom / endangered species, and animals won’t be any different. I like Gloucestershire Old Spots, but there aren’t any breeders nearby … and I don’t want to drive to Maine to pick up a couple of pigs. I found Tamworths — a heritage breed on the Livestock Conservancy list. And two different breeders in the area — one about an hour away (http://bindelfarms.com/livestock-for-sale.html) and the other near Columbus (https://pauleyrowdyacres.blogspot.com/p/livestock-sales.html).

In case there are too many piglets — the Kidron Auction sells pigs mid-day on Thursdays (although we’d need batteries for the truck to get there with a large pig or a bunch of piglets!)