Early Friday morning I went for a drive along the quiet roads, my first outing in more than a week, to pick up a few Muscovy duck eggs from a pony-tailed young mom with a baby strapped to her chest. We did the Covid dance, she advancing and laying the egg carton on the ground, then retreating, then me moving forward to carefully pick it up with gloved hands and slide it into a bag. Swing your partner do si do.💃
I haven’t hatched duck eggs before. I tried once with eggs shipped from Manitoba, but none even started and the breeder graciously gave me a refund. So this should be interesting.
We have been pondering ducks for a few years now, to help deal with our somewhat dire slug situation, but have never quite committed. This is because we know that ducks are talented mud generators, and we have quite enough mud in our valley already. We also worry that they would destroy our lovely pond. But the garden is bigger and more important this year, and RG is tired of midnight slug hunts, so we’re finally ready to take the plunge.
Plus, we have a disaster readiness plan firmly in place. If it all goes sideways, we shall eat them, and thereby exact our vengeance. Apparently Muscovy meat is tasty, very lean, and red, with some gourmands comparing the breast meat to sirloin steak, or expensive ham. Not what one would expect from poultry.
A kind neighbour gave us the five foot t-bars we shall use to stand up their run, to be fashioned from a roll of welded page wire that was hanging around looking for a job. The old mobile rooster tractor, to be parked near the pond, will be their abode. Unlike other ducks, Muscovies like to perch, so the tractor should work well. First their brooder, then their coop, the rooster tractor will be the only home they will know. Hopefully, once they are grown, RG will be able to wheel them at night to wherever she needs help with slug control, let them out in the morning to do their work, and they will docilely go to bed in their tractor each night, safe from predators. This may be a bit of a pipe dream, we will find out eventually.
Other than the fifteen bucks I spent on the eggs, we haven’t shelled out a dime so far. We will have to pick up some duck food I suppose, but that should be our total cash investment.
I am looking forward to ducklings, but I had better not count them before they hatch. To achieve my efficient feathered slug patrol, I have to get them out of their shells and raise them first.