Wednesday, May 30, 2012

borrowed from my hubby's blog

Hiring a Chicken to do a Duck's Job

Earlier this spring I loaned my incubator to the Veatch children in order to let them hatch out some ducklings for me. That effort was not successful and I still have a few less ducks than I would like. I was hoping one of my hen ducks might go broody but that didn't happen either. Runner ducks are reputed to have a nervous temperament which makes them lousy mothers. I have to admit, that has been my experience so far. My hen ducks are way too nervous to set on a clutch of eggs for 28 days. I was ready to give up on the idea for this year when one of my chickens went broody. For several weeks this Dominique hen has tried to persuade me that she really wanted to set on a clutch of eggs, but I really didn't want more chickens. Then I had the bright idea to let the hen set on a clutch of duck eggs.
The Best Duck for the Job Happens to be a Chicken

Dominiques are an old time heirloom breed. It would appear that we haven't bred away many of their basic instincts as may be the case with the India Runner Ducks. About a week ago I removed the clutch of chicken eggs the hen was collecting and replaced it with eight duck eggs. She has since been happily setting away. I estimate that it will be 28 days on about June 19th. The other hens have added a few chicken eggs in the past few days so the hatch may be somewhat of a mixed bag. The duck eggs have a weeks head start. That should work out perfectly as chickens incubate in 21 days while ducks require 28 days. I'm thinking this hen deserves a new name since she has shown more personality and spunk than the other hens. I'm thinking something French since the Dominique would appear to be a French breed based on their name. I'm open to suggestions, but Grandma and little Cozette have nothing to worry about. I'm not about to name a chicken after a family member.

A few of the strawberries are starting to turn color. I'll be able to start picking strawberries in just a few more days. Within a few weeks we will be hard pressed to keep up with them. I am very much looking forward to making shortcake using my new biscuit flour.


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