The little ducklings are turning into big ducklings. It won’t be long at all until they are five weeks old. It is going to have to be a priority to get the new duck house put together the first day the husband gets home from Alaska. Thursday cannot come soon enough. They are quickly outgrowing the brooder box. The 15 meat chickens will be moving outside tomorrow (possibly today if their coop gets finished) and then if necessary, I can move half the ducks into their brooder box. I don’t really want to split them up, though. They don’t like it when we take one away to pet, I can’t imagine their separation anxiety if we split them up now.
The rabbit kits are all growing healthy and strong and fat and sassy. Both litters are very big already. Instead of looking almost 2 weeks old like they are, they look almost 3 weeks old. Their eyes are just open, but they aren’t very adventurous yet. I took a video a couple days ago of Serenity’s litter.
The turkeys are already flying. They started yesterday. They are only 10 days old, but their wings are feathered out. The Barnevelders were flying when we brought them home. They are 3.5 weeks old, but they fly low. The turkeys jump up almost to the top of the bathtub. We MacGyvered a higher ledge with cardboard and duct tape, so they are now blocked by an extra foot of it. Hopefully that will do until we get the ducks out of the garage brooder and can move the turkeys and chicks into it.
In the garage we have screens over the top of the brooder (to keep the hens away from the ducklings) so the chicks and poults won’t be able to fly out once moved there. After the ducklings move into their new house the second priority will be to get the brooder box cleaned out and disinfected so we can get these guys moved into it. We will use vinegar to disinfect. I don’t want to use bleach.
Today I am going to be making jelly. I’ve made jelly and jams a lot before, but this will be my first time making dandelion jelly. We have tons of dandelions this year. I have been harvesting the leaves and chopping them up for the ducklings, but they are all in flower now, so if I am going to do this before they turn into wishing stars and blow away, I need to hop to it. I will leave a few flower heads to go to seed, but it doesn’t take many to replenish what we’ll use.
I will also make a couple of jars of mustard and some more pickles today since I will have the waterbath canner out and full of boiling water. While I have found some organic yellow mustard that is passably good and doesn’t have ingredients in it that make me sick like regular mustard, my homemade mustard is still far better and the one that tastes the most like French’s, which I can’t eat anymore, but used to be my favorite.
I made 3 quarts of organic garlic dill pickles last week, but one of the jar bottoms broke off while canning. It was an old jar, one of the ones I purchased from Goodwill for 20 cents. I got a couple of uses out of it before it went kablooey. It is the first time I have ever had that happen. It was a bummer, because we couldn’t even give the cucumbers to the chickens because of the risk of glass. Couldn’t put them in the compost for the same reason. I hate wasting food, but safety comes first. Anyway, I got enough to make 4 more quarts. I might only make 3 and save the other cukes for salads though. We’ll see.
Yesterday I picked up a corn and grain grinder and a set of 2 jelly bags from the local family-owned sporting goods store. They have a nice kitchen collection in the basement. While I was there I noticed they had the cheapest prices in town on canning jars, so I will go back there to purchase some. The price may go up as the season progresses. They do in other stores. I’d like to have my jars purchased well before that happens.
The corn and grain grinder are so I can start putting together my own duck feed with organic ingredients. Scratch and Peck has organic wheat, oats, barley, corn, and field peas, and I have black oil sunflower seeds. So I will run them through the grinder in appropriate amounts and mix it altogether. I will end up doing 8 pounds of feed per grind. That should last about 2 days or so, so it’ll always be pretty freshly ground for them. I did the math and it is cheaper for me to do this than to buy and ship organic duck feed, which I did actually find at $68 (including shipping) for a 50 pound bag. S&P also does a turkey grower feed so once they are old enough I am set on feed actually formulated for the animal I am giving it to.
I have got to buy a 3 gallon waterer for the ducks. This morning they only had two inches of water left in their 1 gallon waterer, and their two flat pans of water were down to 1 inch and 1/2 an inch respectively. I knew this would happen soon as they go through a lot of water. And at least with the 3 gallon waterer I can use a half tsp of the duck vitamins instead of 2/3 of an 1/8 tsp. No more eyeballing it. My duck vitamin regimen is regular duck vitamins two days in a row, followed by one day with the Super B complex vitamin, repeat. I also dust their food with Brewer’s yeast twice a week.
Special Pekin has not had a seizure in many days and is less slow to realize what is going on when I come in. He doesn’t stare at the wall anymore, either. The vitamin regimen is doing its job. One of the Welsh Harlequin ducklings is slightly pigeon-toed. He walks on his other foot with the first foot a little. But he moves fast so I am not really worried about it, except for the fact that it is one of the smallest and got the brunt of the attack from the hen and the trampling on. Another one who was more pigeon-toed, a Pekin, seems to be straightening up since the vitamins started so I hope the other one will, too.
I now have 4 ducklings doing actual quacking, 2 Pekins and 2 Welsh Harlequins. I hope a couple more of the WH start quacking since it is the females who quack. If I end up with at least 3 female WH I will be very happy.