Thursday, April 16, 2015

Farm Happenings - Raising a Baby Wood Duck

Last May my daughter came bringing me a baby duck in a shotgun shell box.  It was a very tiny newly hatched bundle of fluff,  my daughter and a friend were taking a walk and the baby came screaming out the woods with a cat hot on it's little tail.  I guess, just as the baby ducks made the big jump from the hole in the tree the cat was waiting at the bottom of the tree for the them.  The cat killed some of the babies and the mother duck was nowhere to be found, my daughter rescued this little duck and brought it to me to care for.
 When she came bringing me this sweet baby I was just a bit mad at her until I had heard the complete story.  I am a firm believer that wild animals need to stay in the wild at all cost.  Once I came to the realization that we had to raise the baby the rush was on to figure out what kind of duck it was and how to care for it.  I raised mallard ducks many years ago but could tell immediately this was no mallard.
We put the baby in a plastic tote with a heat lamp, food and water.  For the first whole day the baby called for it's mother over and over.  The baby duck had a built in instinct to jump for the light in the hole in a tree, which caused it to jump at the heat lamp for an entire day thinking it was jumping for the hole in the tree.  This little duck could jump, climb, and run like nothing I had ever seen.  After much investigating I came to the conclusion we had a baby wood duck.  While searching the internet for as much information as possible on how to care for the baby, we didn't have much luck and most information told us that the odds were not good on raising one.  So I decided I was going to need to figure this out on my own.
I could see that the little duck was not eating or drinking so I decided to put a couple of baby chickens of the same age in with the duckling.  I didn't have any ducklings to put in with it and the feed stores no longer had any to sell.  Putting the baby chicks in the box with the duckling was the best thing we could have done for it.  Without them I don't think it would have survived.  
After one day the duckling no longer called for it's mother and the instinct to jump for the hole in the tree was gone.
The little duck was extremely wild, it didn't want us to look at it, ever!  It would not eat or drink if we looked at it, so we were not sure if it was eating.  The internet was no help on giving information on how to teach the duck to eat, so I began to think, what would the mother be feeding this baby in the wild, what would they be doing right now.  I knew the mother would have them on a pond bank digging around in the mud.  I headed to our pond dipped up a small amount of water and mud and took it to the duck and chicks and stood back out of the view of the duck and watched.  The chicks checked out the mud pretty quick and finally the duck came over and dug threw the mud and slurped up the water.  The next time I dipped up the mud from the pond I checked it out and there was all kinds of crawly, wiggly things in the mud and the duck loved it. 
The chicks taught the duck to eat chick food and they developed a absolute love for cucumbers.  As the three of them grew they became very close little friends and very quickly out grew the plastic tote.

At the time that we acquired this little orphan, I did not know that it was against the law for me to even have the duckling in our possession, it didn't come with a stamp on it's butt that said don't help me no matter what!  It was not my intention to take a duckling from the wild and raise to be a pet.  That said, now you all know it is against the law to have a wild duck.
We did not handle the duckling, it absolutely hated to be touch, we kept it as wild as possible. The duck loved her chicken pals and really wanted nothing to do with us.  It grew very quickly and I figured out early on that I was pretty sure it was a female.  The picture above on the right was in my goldfish pond.  That was not a great idea, I tied a string to her leg to allow her  to swim for a bit, she was so wild and afraid of us though that she really did not enjoy that.

So I decided just to give her an old was basin with some water in it.  She would not get in the basin if I was watching.  So I would give her the bowl, then step away, when I hear splashing I could sneak back up and watch.  Her chicken friends thought it was a bit strange for her to jump in the water bowl and flop around like that.

She grew into a beautiful duck so fast.  At this time we had moved them  into the dog pen with an old dog house converted into a duck/chicken coop. We hadn't planned on a duck, so we did not have duck accommodations. Each night, her and her two chickens friends would get in the dog house to sleep.  During the day, she would fly over the pen, investigate the yard and in the evening she would want back in the pen with her friends.  I said, it won't be long and she will find our big pond.  Well I was right, she would head up to the pond during the day and back to the dog house at night.  This past winter she released herself into the wild for good.  She heard the call of the wild and it was more than she could stand and she left our loving farm never to return again.  I'm happy for her and I hope that she is now raising some young ducklings of her own.
She was so interesting and I enjoyed her so much.  She was nothing like the mallards that we had raised many years ago.  Since she has left our farm I began looking for farms that sale these wonderful birds and I finally found Mallard Lane Farms.  I have since ordered one male wood duck and two female wood ducks.  The females are silver splits, so if later on I happen to order a silver male then we could have silver babies.  How exciting is that!!  You probably don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about unless you check out Mallard Lane Farms.   They have the most beautiful water fowl I've ever seen.  They were very helpful and easy to deal with on my order and my birds showed up absolutely beautiful and healthy.   Head over to their Facebook page and give them a like, you'll love the photos and you just might fall in love the ducks!
Have a great day!
Photos below are of the ducks acquired from Mallard Lane Farms.

This is our beautiful male wood duck.  He makes a really neat high pitched squeak, they higher and louder his squeak gets, the bigger his green mo hawk on his head grows.  So funny!
Woody and his girl friends, they are very shy and hard to get good photos of.  Head over to Mallard farms for good fowl photos.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Got mountains of manure? Plant taters.

Here on the poultry farm we have no shortage of chicken manure, we seem to have piles sitting all around the farm.  Each spring we spread some on the garden but a garden can only use so much manure.  So we have what seems like mountains of poo.

We continually add to this pile, so one side of this mountain is nicely rotted down and composted into  rich,  loamy soil ready to use.  The others side of the mountain is still pretty hot and needs to sit a bit longer before used.
My garden spot is still to wet to plant and I have a bad case of spring fever, so I'm going to put this pile to good use.   I've never tried this before but it should work out just fine.

I took my shovel and  broke up the surface of the pile a bit.  As you can see, my two lovely helpers decide this is where they could get involved. 

I took my seed potatoes and cut them into pieces, like my grandpa Johnny Wagner taught me, he always said to leave each piece at least two eyes.

Be sure top plant them eyes facing up.  This might be old news for some of you experienced gardeners but believe it or not there are some folks out there that have never planted a tater before. 
If you have a compost pile, a pile of dead leaves or grass clippings you can use that to stick your potatoes in also.

I turned my back for just a second to pick up the hoe and cover the potatoes and look who steels one and runs off to eat it.  Not sure why but he'll do back flips for raw potatoes.

 I also stuck a few onion sets in at the same time.

Once I was finished poking around in the pile, I covered the area with some old chicken wire.  This will keep the chickens from digging around on their free range days.
If you have a neat space saving way to plant potatoes, leave it in the comments below so that others can see your great ideas.
Have a great day!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Winners Of The Manna Pro Organic Chick Crumble


Ron Willet & Kristin Wood
Your the winners of the Manna Pro 5 lb bag of  organic chick crumble.
A big thank you to Manna Pro for their generous offer.  Check out Manna Pro for all of your livestock needs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Manna Pro Organic Chick Crumble - Free Giveaway

 Free giveaway
 5 pound bag Manna Pro organic chick crumble
Two lucky folks will be chosen on Friday March 20th to receive this brand new product from our good friends at Manna Pro.  follow the steps below to get your name in the drawing.
 1. You need to be a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog.
2. Like the Chicken Scratch Poultry Facebook page.
3.  Like the Manna Pro Poultry Facebook page.
4.  Leave us a comment and let us know why you would like to try this product.
Good Luck!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Is On The Horizon - Chicks And Pullets For Sale

It's that time of year when the chicken farm cranks up to full speed ahead and we hit the ground running.  Last fall we worked very hard at choosing our new breeders and look forward to seeing the results of that hard work.  It takes producing and growing up many birds to get those who are worthy of putting in the breeding pens.  I laugh to myself when customers call and order 6 Black Copper Marans and say they are becoming breeders.  When your looking to purchase poultry it pays to do your research.

We began filling the incubator the first part of February, in hopes to get a jump on growing up young pullets.  Our incubator holds about 2000 eggs, we put eggs in every Monday night and have a hatch every Monday night.  Our incubator sits in our Morton building which is not heated, as you can imagine, the incubator has a hard time maintaining temperature.   This weeks hatch was very low which proves it did not maintain temp.  Our customers always wonder what is taking so long for my order to get to me.  Well this is just one reason, sometimes problems arise.  We are working with animals and you can't put a time limit on things that involve animals, they just don't work on our time schedule.

So Far we have two hatches of chicks in the brooder growing.  Let's hope for lots of little hens.   If you have a pullet order with us please keep in mind it takes awhile to grow up these little fuzzy butts and we occasionally have set backs and remember half of these little chickies will turn out to be roosters.

We hope to begin shipping out the day old chick orders in April.  Customers always want to know if we will ship them chicks in February.  We found out early on in this business that it's a waste of time and sweet little chicks if we ship during the cold weather.  Chicks like a temp of 99 degrees, anything less and they're cold and a cold chick will not survive.  If we begin shipping to early in the spring it will put us behind in the long run as we attempt to reship all the chicks that died.  For healthy vibrant chicks it needs to be warm.  Please be patient with us as we begin to fill many orders, we won't let you down, but it's not a process that we can rush.

Thanks so much to all who have placed an order.
   We look forward to sharing some beautiful healthy chicks and young pullets with you soon!
If you haven't placed your order yet, it's not to late we're still taking orders and will ship chicks all summer long.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Manna Pro Poultry - Free Giveaway

Organic Chick Crumble
March 20th we will choose two  lucky winners to receive a free 5lb bag of organic chick crumble form our good friends at Manna Pro, they are very generously giving you the opportunity to try out a brand new product.
Complete the steps to put your name in the drawing
1. You need to be a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog.
2. Like the Chicken Scratch Poultry Facebook page.
3.  Like the Manna Pro Poultry Facebook page.
4.  Leave us a comment and let us know why you would like to try this product.
Good Luck!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Free Giveaway - Manna Pro Poultry, 5 lb bag of Organic Starter Crumbles

Let's Do A Free Giveaway!!

Spring is just around the corner, I know it might not feel like it but in no time at all most of you will be thinking of taking care of baby chicks.  
Well, our good friends at Manna Pro Poultry are going to give two lucky winners the opportunity to try out a brand new product.
Two winners will receive one five pound bag of certified organic starter crumbles.  The lucky winners will be announced on March 20th. 
Complete the steps at the bottom of the page to get your name in the drawing. 
 Manna Pro®
Certified Organic Starter Crumbles
Start your flock off right with nutritious and wholesome ingredients.
  • USDA certified organic and non-GMO
  • 19% protein
  • Non-medicated
  • Ideal nutrition and quality for a natural, happy, 
    and healthy flock
  • Safe for mixed flocks including all classes of poultry
Complete the steps to put your name in the drawing
1. You need to be a follower of the Chicken Scratch Poultry Blog.
2. Like the Chicken Scratch Poultry Facebook page.
3.  Like the Manna Pro Poultry Facebook page.
4.  Leave us a comment and let us know why you would like to try this product.
Good Luck!!