A journal of our day to day; homesteading and homeschooling in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Dustin surprised me with four Khaki Campbell ducklings last week. I've been suggesting that we get ducks for a couple years now and Dustin has been adamantly opposed to the idea on account that they would end up being pets, we wouldn't be able to eat them, they make quite a mess, need their own quarters and finally, we don't care for the taste of duck eggs. He has placated me by saying that someday we'll have a more duck suited piece of land with a stream or pond and then we can keep some ducks for enjoyment. I hinted as recently as a month ago that perhaps he might like to bring home some ducklings along with the chicks he was picking up and was once again turned down. Last week Dustin was picking up some Alfalfa from our local feed store and noticed that they had quail. To make a long story short, we had some friends wanting quail for their bird dogs so, not knowing how long the quail would last Dustin brought a box of quail home. We had been calling back and forth arranging how many quail to get and such so I was ready for them when he got in the door. He came in and said, "Wait till you see these guys" and opened up the box and instead of quail, inside were four ducklings. Well I have to say that it was one of his best surprises yet. I squealed.
Dustin said that it was Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest chapter on keeping ducks as garden helpers that finally convinced him. As far as their eggs, we do a lot of baking so using them up won't be a problem. I read that the Khaki Campbells lay close to three hundred eggs a year, which is a lot of eggs! They should quickly earn their keep at that rate. They are already providing entertainment for us all. Noah has been feeding them grapes and other yummy snacks. We put down a small tub of water for them to play in a couple times a day. The picture above was taken the first night we had them. I had just put down a small tub of water and they were all trying to climb in at the same time to splash around. In our research we read that they aren't suppose to have unsupervised access to water as they don't have the protective coating that they would have if reared by a moma duck. So we are careful not to leave their little pool down for too long. I am looking forward to spending time with them outside in the garden and watching them swim around in a baby pool when they are bigger.
We are feeding them the same mix I'm making for the chickens; a mix of corn, wheat berries, oats, barley, flax seed, alfalfa, Alaskan Salmon meal, kelp meal, an herbal vitamin supplement and sea salt. Our feed store carries duck starter feed and I have thought about getting some but I can't help but feel that a whole grain diet must be more nutritious than grain by products processed and repackaged in a tidy little pellet or crumble. They are also enjoying daily fruit and veggie scraps along with some fresh weeds, hard boiled eggs and raw goat milk and cheese. The ducks are probably about two weeks old now and still so cute. I'm looking forward to getting to know their personalities and watching them grow. Hearing their first attempts at quacking and finding out which are mallard and which are females. Hope we have at least two ladies. And finally, thinking of next year at this time when we will have chicken and duck eggs aplenty.
We are a family of four (with one more on the way), living in the Arctic Boreal Forest above Fairbanks, in the Interior of Alaska. I write about our simple life and trying to keep our life simple in a day when the typical American life is anything but. When I first started writing this blog I had a toddler and a baby and we were a growing homestead. I wanted to share our day to day and all the lessons we learned along the way, from mixing our own chicken feed to goat kidding season and cheese making. As our children have grown, home schooling has really taken over and I have had to examine every aspect of our lives to keep our days simple yet fruitful. These days you will still find me posting and sharing pictures of our chickens and garden, berry picking and salmon processing. I also hope to be writing about home schooling decisions and lessons as well as other interests and hobbies the kids and I explore. Reader interest and feedback is what keeps me writing, so please leave lots of comments!
The here and now of our homestead is what I'm writing about. Compelled by a sense that we are participating in something significant, heading back to our roots... this is my attempt to share what we are learning along our journey. For those of you on similar paths, whether you are raising kids, a flock of chickens, a couple goats or run a farm, well I'm hoping to learn from you as well, so feel free to put in your two cents!