The rabbits seem to be doing well right now, but I hesitate to think we’re completely out of the woods. But I can hope.
The turkeys are starting to redden up on their wattles and Gobbles is starting to get a really pronounced head thingy (that’s a technical term). Okay, I think it’s called a snood, but I’m not sure. I’d have to look it up and since it is just past midnight I’ll pass on that for tonight. The caruncles are coming in. It was really obvious today. Turkey anatomy has weird words. One of the others is not far behind him, but he is definitely the most advanced.
Three of the pullets are almost as big as the smallest laying hen. Buffy is still quite a bit smaller than the other girls, but is starting to catch up to Willow, Tara, and Anya. I think in another week I will try integrating them into the laying flock. I wish I could let the turkeys out, too, but I don’t want to risk them flying and roaming the neighborhood.
I have most definitely got two Welsh Harlequin males. Their chests are now almost full on red. And I keep going back and forth on the two undetermined ones, but the dun markings are starting to get a little darker. So I fear that means males and that means butchering at 18 weeks old. I knew some of the ducks would be meat birds, but I was really hoping for more WH females. The for sure female Abby has morphed into Addy. We decided her full name is Adelaide. It fits better.
If I end up with only Addy as a WH female, then I will probably only keep 1 WH male. I haven’t decided for sure what I will do with the Pekins. I will keep at least 1 female, maybe 2. I don’t know if I will keep a Pekin male or not. I don’t mind if the WH breeds the Pekins. I’d get a medium sized meat duck that way. But I don’t want a Pekin male to breed the WH female since there is quite a size difference and she’d be the only WH female I had. I am thinking about trying again with the ducklings and ordering sexed ducklings from Metzer. I can get them as soon as the August 4th hatch. I was thinking I’d order 5 WH females and 5 more straight-run Pekins as meat birds. If I try again with ducklings, then I’d be happy to keep 2 WH males. If I decide that 6 WH females is too many total afterwards, I should have no trouble at all selling a couple of them. Everyone wants female ducks, especially good layer ducks.
We would have to make some changes to the brooder box we built. For one thing we’d have to cut a large hole in the floor and cover it with wire to put their water on, then put it up on cinder blocks with an under the bed style plastic tote underneath to catch spilled out water. But those are minor changes, really. We’d put the screen covers over the top again, of course, to keep the hens out. And when they are big enough to leave the brooder we can put them in the grow out coop for the meat chickens, because we will be done with them for the year. Once they are old enough at 8 weeks old we would butcher the Pekins and integrate the new female ducklings in with the older ones.
It’s a lot to think about. All I really want to end up with are 4 WH laying ducks, 2 WH drakes, 3 Pekin ducks and 1 Pekin drake. I am just ordering extra because I know what can happen, like Georgie the hen killing the only other duckling I knew for sure was a female.
Well, I will talk to my husband on Thursday and see what he thinks about it. And get Mom’s input, too. They’d need to spend the first few days in the spare bathtub, but after that I think they’ll be fine in the big brooder in the garage for 4 weeks before moving to the grow out coop.