Tuesday, March 20, 2007

With the arrival of Mike and Becky, we launched into a series of projects. The first of which came with a trip to the local feed store. Since it was Eastertime, there was a display of ducklings and chicks at the feedstore. I left with 6 chicks....guaranteed to be females and "good layers".

We set up a chicken nursery in the greenhouse and our little black hens grew and grew. We playfully named them Diana Ross and the Supremes until one fateful day when Diana Ross jumped to her demise on the greenhouse floor where she was quickly gobbled up by Monty, the dog. Now there was no head cluck. The remainder of the "flock" continued to thrive and by summer the chickens were re-located to the henhouse. By August we were harvesting eggs on a daily basis....and searching for egg recipes.

The next creature to make it's way to our farm was "Pat"...after androgenous Pat on Saturday Night Live. "Pat" was a tiny mallard duckling that our daughter Amanda had rescued. Apparently abandoned by it's mother, the duckling had imprinted on Amanda and now followed her all around. Amanda brought Pat to the farm and it also imprinted on Mike. Unfortunately, a tiny duckling wandering around in the barn is at risk for getting stepped on by accident. Sadly, "Pat" became "Mat". Distraught over the passing of Pat, Mike decided to order replacements and we soon had 8 ducklings in the greenhouse nursery. Six of these ducks were mallards and 2 were Pekin mixes. After a couple of months of growth it looked as though we had 8 female mallards and 2 female Pekins. Worried over the obvious lack of males, a local Amish farmer donated "Tyrone", a muscovy duck, to our flock. We teasingly called him Tyrone the pimp. He would pompously strut around the females hissing in his most alluring manner. The females were unimpressed.....afterall, Tyrone was rather ugly (what was that nastry red growth on his face anyways?) What we did not know until much later was that it is impossible to tell the sex of a Mallard until after its second molting. As it turned out, we actually had 2 females and 4 males.....now the scales were tipped in the opposite direction. With this discovery, Mike sprang into action.....8 more ducks (this time of the Campbell variety) were added to the flock.

What we eventually came to understand about ducks is....they are the happiest animal on the farm.

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