Notes from ‘Rivendale’ #16

Posted: December 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

A lot has happened since the last post. The duck who was attacked by the fox is well and healed and back to being a normal duck. Her abandoned eggs all hatched in the incubator. There are now 8 sturdy ducklings around 3 months old- about half grown- wandering around in their determined way poking their beaks into grass for worms and catching flies. There are 5 males and 3 females.

We  have 6 new ducklings hatched by mothers and 4 ‘finished off’ in the incubator. The incubated ducklings were abandoned by their mother on the point of hatching. I discovered them all cold in the nest and put them straight into the incubator which was already set up. One hatched almost straight away and the others hatched over the next 3 days. I am not sure why she got off them but its a lesson for the poultry keeper to be vigilant. Also to never give up on abandoned eggs if you get them early enough. Candling them on the first night in the incubator will tell you if they are ok or not. The live ones actually move when a small torch is held onto the egg. You can see this best at night with the lights out. If in doubt leave them for a few days. Rotten eggs have patchy dark shaped masses that don’t move. I keep checking them over a few days before discarding them. It’s important to save little lives if you can.

Some lives are, however, not saved. My beautiful mother turkey Speckles was killed by a fox a few weeks ago. I stupidly let them wander and the group went too close to the forest fence. The two turkey babies survived the attack, but the young speckled poult died a few days later. I assume the last one, a young white pout would soon follow. I was wrong. The male turkey I raised last year took the youngster literally under his wing and squatted on the ground so he could get under his wing in a sheltered part of the pen. The two grown males now look after this poult and he follows them everywhere.

A important discovery I made after losing a few chickens was to put sliced up bulbs of garlic twice a week in their mash. I’ve had no more fatalities from gape or other worm infestations. I also put apple cider vinegar in their mash every few days.

Now when they free range, I have to be outside with them. This has reduced their free ranging time to about an hour a day, longer on the weekends. The ducks get more time out as they stay closer to the house. I’ve separated a lot of the new pullets into the bigger yard with only two roosters. This gives them more access to food. I’ll start feeding them pullet grower to fatten them up but as this contains an anti-coccidiosis I won’t be able to eat or sell these eggs. Sayonara until later, have a Happy Christmas!




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