Some updates on the garden. The fruit garden is doing well. Tally so far, 4 quartz of blackberries and 2 quarts of blueberries picked and in the freezer. I will be picking more blueberries today if it cools off enough.
The hay bale garden is going strong, and the aphids are dying off due to the garlic spray.
The straw bale garden is doing well for the most part, but the chard is continuing to not do much of anything. I am fertilizing today so hopefully that will help.
I have done a tally based on how much organic produce I have picked this year so far, based on current local grocery store prices and it is $109.50. I spent $400 on the garden this year, though, so it will be a bit before I’ve paid that back and start making a profit. But I have no doubt I will.
So far I have collected 21 duck eggs. If I get 3 again tomorrow it’ll be 2 dozen in a very short time period. And I worried that I wouldn’t get enough eggs. Well, we are getting enough. Omelettes for lunch today and meatloaf for dinner to use some of these up! I might make some cloverleaf rolls, too, if I get ambitious. Oh, wait, I forgot about the 2 I used to make 2 batches of peanut butter cookies. I’ve collected 23 duck eggs since they started laying.
The Barnevelders are almost 15 weeks old. They have about 7 weeks to go before they start laying eggs, too. Then we will be up to our eyeballs in eggs. But I can sell the excess and give some away. My turkey hen probably won’t lay eggs until early March. I’m not sure how many eggs turkeys lay, but I know it is seasonal. By then we will only have the two birds. I have read that toms are not fertile until they start their second year of life. They will turn one on April 9th. So the first month or two will probably not be fertile, but after that we may get a clutch to hatch. Royal Palms go broody. If Gina hatches out a clutch, then I’ll know I can do a batch or two in the incubator. I’d love to be able to sell some poults next spring at prices that are a little less exorbitant than the ones from the hatcheries or the feed stores. This is a heritage breed that needs preserving. $10 to $14 a poult is a lot for some people who might do it if the start up costs weren’t so high. I’d sell them for $5 a poult for newborns.
I’d like to sell ducklings, too, next year. If my ducks go broody, which they are supposed to. At least with Welsh Harlequins you can sex by beak color with 90% accuracy in the first 3 days, so I’ll even know what I have. If we’ve moved by then, I’ll do a few clutches and keep some females to increase flock size, raise some males for meat (but we will have the barrel plucker by then), and sell some ducklings. I’ve already got people who want some WH ducklings next year. Since my males are not related to my females I should have good, healthy ducklings. I’m sure I’ll have to pick up an unrelated WH drake for the female ducklings that will grow up, but that is okay. Drakes are much easier to come by. If we don’t move, I probably won’t try to let the ducks go broody. We might be able to do one clutch, but that would be it.
Straight run Welsh Harlequin ducklings are almost $9 each from the hatchery, so selling them for $5 would still give me a little profit and get the breed out there at a more reasonable cost, at least locally. I’m not sure how these are ever supposed to become less rare if people can’t afford to buy them.