Saturday, 3 December 2011

Duck and chooks

Oh dear, a few weeks back I was despairing. I love our ducks so dearly; it's fair to say I'm probably a convert, although I would never want to be without a few hens too. The trouble is that they puddle the place so badly. They have always lived partly on the redundant veg patch which is bare soil and out in the garden which is grass.

With all of the rain we have had in the past couple of months the patch became a quagmire. It was slippery, dangerous and looking like it would need a prolonged heat wave to bake it back into anything resembling normality again. Knowing a heat wave of any sort was most unlikely Craig decided to spring into action (not something which happens regularly) and ordered three tonnes of sand and gravel.

Now, as much as I love my birds, I still almost keeled over when he told me the price - over £100! To think of what I could have done with £100! Whats more, the three tonnes of sand and gravel had to be transported from the bottom to the top of the garden.

Thankfully Craig rolled his sleeves up and spent the whole weekend shoveling sand and gravel in and out of the wheelbarrow - oh and random combinations of children and hens. Our Welsummer Banty called Boo was always up for a ride but judging from the look on Hermione's face here, I wonder if perhaps she disgraced herself while on Hermione's knee. He he.

Worrying about the cost and whether or not the whole sand and gravel thing would even work, I just had to console myself with thoughts of the best eggs ever! Miles loves dippy duck eggs from one particular duck. She lays the most exquisite pale turquoise eggs with almost luminous orange yolks.

Thankfully so far so good. Craig well and truly put the new arrangement to the test when he went out one day having forgotten to switch off the hose pipe when filling their pond! Even still there was no surface water. I was worried that it would start to very quickly look like a poo splattered sand pit. Thankfully it's not. The poo all seems to wash away through the cracks. Back to having happy ducks and happy owners!

We now have a lot more hens and ducks than when I last posted about them before my blog break. We agreed to allow Hermione to go into business selling eggs to friends. Thankfully there are no difficulties finding buyers. I think people taste the difference and our multicolored eggs are pretty even if I do say so myself. Just this week one lady put in an order for a particular kind of small blue egg because her little girl loves to cuddle them! Having said all that, I think Hermione's still just breaking even and will have to repay her big loan for sand and gravel in the spring time when everyone is back in full lay.

I don't think there will be any new additions to the flock within the next year and I'm trying to avert my eyes from various duck sites. A couple of our ducks which we rescued this summer are Muscovies. They're not known for being pretty but we have all fallen in love with them. They have no quack and communicate by dancing instead. Seeing is believing; they're such characters. Neither have laid an egg yet but I'm trying not to get too down about that - they provide lots of entertainment and having no quack, I don't have to worry about them disturbing the neighbors either!


Sarah said...

I will try to get a photo of Clover cuddling her egg for you :-)

Claire said...

Awww, eggcellent :-)