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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ducklings! Saturday May 26 on the Farm.

This week on the farm we welcomed several new arrivals.  Not least among them was Paula (another intern) from Italy!  Just in time too, there is now more work than ever in the garden and our other new arrivals come with their own demands on our time.
The others were 197 (or so); chicks, ducklings, goslings and pullets (young turkeys)!  They all drink tremendous amounts, each gallon (4.5L) water jug needs refilling at least twice a day.  The birds have been here less then 24 hours and already I am looking forward to the day when they are all outside.  Water-fowl are especially messy birds and the basement of the barn, where they are all currently living, smells worse than any pig sty (but I’m biased, I like pigs!).
Ayse says as the turkeys grow older they will become attached to people and follow us around like puppies!
On Tuesday we moved the older ducklings from their wooden crate in the barn to a “chicken tractor”.  The chicken tractor is a bottomless pen/shelter used to house and confine poultry while still giving them access to fresh pasture and outside air.  In this case it is a frame, 12 feet long by 4 feet wide by 3 feet tall made of 1x2s.  On two thirds the sides and top are covered with strong netting and on one third they are covered with steel roofing.  Part of the steel section has a removable top for access to the inside.  Our ducks certainly benefit from the natural environment and warm weather, since moving they have again almost doubled in size and some are even starting to “feather out” (replace the downy fuzz they were born with and grow real feathers)!  They are still nervous little guys though and run away from any disturbance, including passing chickens! 

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