Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poopers & Peepers

Today was a beautiful day in many ways.

There was the smell of manure in the air.

Many farmers are spreading all their winter manure on their large cornfields.

Everywhere I went today there were tractors and manure spreaders.

The stuff was really flying!

Today I also picked up my part of the New Hampshire/Vermont Silver Appleyard Duck Preservation Project.

 7 ducklings became "back seat drivers" all the way home. Two are mine and the other 5 go to another person interested in this rare breed of duck.  The dedicated breeder affectionately referred to them as the "poopsters."

Anyone know how to sex 7 day old ducklings? Beak color?

Here is the very first photo of the magnificent seven the minute I laid eyes on them:

The breeder (the"Mother Duck") has several incubators in her pristine home.

Her largest incubator can hatch 20 duck eggs at a time.

Once the ducklings are hatched out and dried off, they are put in a brooder, like these, with a heat lamp, food and water.

These ducks are my future "weapons of mass destruction" on garden snails.
Here is the back story on HOW and WHY these ducklings are so important:

 Last summer I was invaded with snails and lost 70% of the food I had planted. I tried the Diatamacious Earth, Bud Lite, coffee grounds, wool and many other safe treatments to try to get rid of them, to no avail. So I have been planning since last August how to avoid the same problem.

Expensive solution: Heritage/foraging chicks, snail killing ducks, all supplies and next: buying or hiring a carpenter to build me a well ventilated and secure coop.

Fortunately, I found this NH/VT Appleyard Preservation Project in my search for snail killing fowl and these very special ducks will be my front line against pests in the garden.

As soon as my coop is built I will reserve a few more of these rare birds.

The ducklings are free. But there is a very very Limited supply.      I had to pass muster, interviews and background checks to qualify for them.  No kidding.  This is a very serious conservation project.
I am putting this on my resume!

So much for having the bathroom to myself......

Lots of splashing going on as the ducklings made themselves comfy in the brooder.

According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) these ducks are....

Critical: According to the survey, several breeds of ducks, including the Ancona, Magpie, Saxony, and Silver Appleyard, show populations of fewer than 150 breeding birds and one or no primary breeding flocks. If they are to survive each of these requires prompt conservation efforts, including the development of additional primary flocks. Experienced breeders are strongly encouraged to consider working with these breeds.

Please Consider raising rare breeds of fowl and livestock.  Save those genetics!!

Anyone have a good coop they no longer need, in Northern Vermont?


  1. Ah, baby ducklings, is there anything cuter? I hope they provide the "ammo" you are hoping for, I will stay tuned. No manure flying here yet, soon, very soon! Greetings, Julie.

  2. They are BEAUTIFUL! Mine are in the livingroom with me here, peeping away. I just have mallards...

    I can't believe you lost SEVENTY FREAKING percent of the food you planted. Just imagine if you had to depend on surviving the winter with only that food that you grew. I swear, we have no idea the hardships our forefathers endured.

  3. When I read the title, I thought "Oh! She's heard the spring peepers (frogs) already?"

    I heard ours down here a few weeks back.

    Cute ducklings!!

  4. They are so sweet! My dad used to raise chickens and my favorite thing in the world was watching the little hatchlings....

  5. Cute ducklings - How are they doing now??
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Nice to meet a New England "neighbor"!

  6. What a cute, cute post!

    This whole thing made me smile!

    Thanks for linking!

    I absolutely loved this!