Homestead Update: Part 3

The chickens were excellent. These were the free range survivors of several fox incursions. They were battle hardened and wise. They made themselves at home. They didn’t mess with our existing small flock. Our existing small flock didn’t mess with them.

The oldest one, “Fluffy”, was remarkable. I stuffed the chickens in a spare coop for the night and fed them. The next day I let them loose for the day and Fluffly had left an egg. She’s the oldest of them but she apparently knows how to pay rent. During the day they ranged about, at night I put them in the coop. As it should be. We got along well.

The ducks were another story. There were three ducks as white as the driven snow and one that had streaks of brown along with the white. I named the brown and white one “skidmark”. It looked kind of scrawny to me. I was informed it was a young “runner duck” and meant to be skinny. Oh great; a duck that, through genetic manipulation is specifically too useless to cook?

Apparently all of the ducks were meant to be Runner Ducks but due to some mistake at the local feed store three of them turned out to be Peking Ducks. They were also too young to lay eggs. (Duck eggs are awesome for baking.) But at least three were edible. I couldn’t tell which were males and which were females (which at least held the promise of eggs) but all were incredibly stupid.

Each evening I’d herd the chickens into the coop. The ducks wouldn’t have it. I’d try to chase them around and cram them in the coop door but it never worked. They preferred to stay in their close four square formation and stand in the wide open middle of the yard… quacking.

Bright white, scrawny, quacking, dumb animals, in the middle of the yard with no cover. They were doomed. They spent all night like that.

After a few days the chickens, which had been free range 24/7 in a homestead where foxes prowl like sharks, decided they didn’t want to be locked up in the coop either. I’m cool with it when chickens assert their independence. If you don’t want to be locked up in a coop I don’t have to worry so much about feed. It’s sort of a grand bargain.

The chickens grazed the lawn all day. The ducks too. The chickens kept a wary eye on the sky and vanished like ghosts in the evening. The ducks wandered about clustered in a group of four making noise and simply begging for something to eat them. At night they stood in a group; right where anything passing by couldn’t miss them. Just to be sure they’d quack every now and then. They were in denial about their universe. The world is full of predators but the duck mind must be full of pastels and glitter.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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15 Responses to Homestead Update: Part 3

  1. Richard Douglas says:

    In China, where ducks are normal livestock, they are herded like sheep by kids with sticks…also like sheep, they are penned at night, driven to the pasture during the day, and driven back into the pen for the night where they are protected from predators. Their herd instinct makes sense under these circumstances…wild ducks seek herd protection from predators as well, but they are mostly smart enough to sleep on open water with sentries, or in hidden nests.

    • I noticed that the four ducks in their “square” acted very much like sheep. I’m sure a group of them would take well to herding.

      This is unlike chickens some of whom can act independently; like pint sized velociraptors.

  2. richardcraver says:

    I hope this ends in a pile of feathers and a fat fox, survival of the fittest and such; or maybe a trip to the taxidermist, the Foxinator could visit them on the den wall whenever she likes.
    We are infested with Canadian Geese. It seems that due to environmentals every apartment complex, church and strip mall parking lot has to have a rain water run-off retention areas. These ‘ponds’ are the new shanty towns of the winged dependent class. Some find the ‘birds’ beautiful and make a point of feeding them. With no need to scavenge for food they apparently spend more time breeding and trashing the shanty town like entitlement protesters or Occupiers. (Where else have we seen this happen before?) Others have to clean up their damage on a regular basis (DeJaPoo – I’ve seen this crap somewhere else as well.).
    I think they would look good sitting in a roaster wrapped in bacon with a stick of butter under each wing, I would sit by the pond eating a drumstick just to show them what I’m capable of; but … protected species.
    Carry on sir. I’ll await the outcome.

    • I hear ya! When I lived in “the city composed entirely of debt” I was constantly bothered by the geese too.

      Frankly I think there’s no such thing as “problem” with too many of any edible creature but there are many problems with people who freak out about eating the food mother nature presents to us. (I tell the hippies “who am I to deny Gaia” but it goes nowhere. As if geese had gluten.)

      I spent many hours pondering the best way to “foodify” a goose without firing a verboten shotgun. It’s a conundrum. Unfortunately (or fortunately), before I could get myself into trouble testing any ideas I moved to a rural area. In the hinterlands people know all about the food chain. Migratory fowl here are both hunted and migratory… as it should be.

      • Phil B says:

        What you need to “harvest” waterfowl is a gin trap, a tube of waterproof glue and a packet of sweetcorn.

        Glue the sweetcorn to the plate of the gin trap, place in water just deep enough for the waterfowl to have to float/swim to the trap and shallow enough for them to reach without diving. For a large bird like a goose you might have to add weight (a brick tied to the trap with string will do nicely).

        Early morning checking of the traps is recommended for obvious reasons.

        Oh, and Canada Geese ARE good to eat.

      • For urban (dumbass) geese I always wanted to try a lasso with a weight and a stick. Use the stick to loop a noose over that big assed neck. Getting ten feet away from one (especially if it’s swimming) is easy. We’re not talking a jittery creature… they practical crawl in your pockets looking for food. Then pull the stick away and let the weight & gravity pull it down. There was a golf course water hazard just perfect for this idea. Unfortunately golf courses frown on rednecks going “hunting” at night on their property so I never got to test my idea. I’d like to think it would work.

        I’m not a goose hunter but I’d expect them to taste delicious.

    • cspschofield says:

      I keep hearing rumors that Canadian Geese are on the verge of being taken off the protected list and declared nuisance animals. The pity is, I’m told they TASTE BAD. Go figure.

      I get downright irate with the “oh, I love the little animals” crowd, especially when they don’t want to allow a deer cull or some such. I ask them “Do you think it’s kinder to starve the deer to death than it is to shoot them? Because that’s what will happen if they don’t get thinned out. And, furthermore, they will eat everything that other animals might eat, so the famine with be general. All because YOU are too tender hearted to do your duty as a predator.” Twits.

    • Paul Bonneau says:

      [We are infested with Canadian Geese.]

      Because environmentalism.

      Back a ways there was a big earthquake in Alaska. There was this nesting ground up there that was raised by the earthquake, with some Canadas on it that were supposedly a subspecies, “Dusky” (although they looked the same as the other Canadas). The nesting ground started to drain, making it less suitable for nesting. The Duskies started declining in population. The government (not sure which one, but Oregon was at least involved) made it illegal to shoot Duskies. When the Canadas were down in Oregon for the winter, the Duskies mixed up with the other Canadas. So after a while nobody was shooting any geese at all because they didn’t want to be hit with big fines for killing a Dusky. The overall goose population went up due to lack of hunting. The farmers in Oregon started noticing there were more and more geese messing up their fields and eating the winter wheat and such. Finally the benevolent Oregon government started training hunters how to tell a Dusky from a regular goose. The hunters came back, and all was well in Cascadia.

      Or something like that. Anyway yeah, there are a lot of geese. One of these days I will take up goose hunting, even though I’m not much of a shotgun guy. I never heard Canadas taste bad though. After all those tasty wheat sprouts?

  3. DoninSacto says:

    “the duck mind must be full of pastels and glitter” I know some people like that.

  4. Tennessee Budd says:

    Ducks are good at getting bugs out of a garden, too. They can bug out a row of beans quickly. Not as well as guineas, but I hate guineas. Only good as burglar alarms, & that’s what big dumb dogs are for.

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