This year I have been asked for ducklings and ducks, go figure, and I did not have any to sell. But there are 9 in the granary with their mother who hatched them, another 3 Muscovy ducklings with their mother who is still sitting on her nest, another 3 at least sitting on nests and two turkeys and some hens sitting too. One mamma hen hatched 10 early in the spring and managed to keep 5 of them, who are now 2 months old. Another hen has two only and a third has just 1, but the black Ameraucana hen has 9. So basically, without input from me, except to keep the babies safe with the mothers when they are first hatched, the number of birds on the farm increases drastically by the end of summer. Most of the hatchlings go into the freezer and the self perpetuating flocks continue on their own. I select the ones to replace some of the older ones and the majority of roosters and extras are then meat for the winter.
This year, I did get purebred Ameraucana chicks, cream legbar chicks and a few white Chanteclers from a breeder in Calgary, or rather, I got the eggs and the chicks were hatched in Bonnyville by a person who hatches in the spring for a hobby. The chicks are almost ready to be let out in the day time where they will learn from the older birds. The goslings are released, but they grow and mature so much faster than any other birds. One gosling, which I think is a purebred Sebastopol, does not yet fit with the gaggle, so is remaining with the three turkey poults and is happier there than out. The older goslings picked on this one. He is a little different than they are and somehow they seem to know it.
The following year, when the birds are adults, the trios of Ameraucanas and some Cream Legbar roosters will be sold. I have been giving the eggs to the foodbank, so only want to keep about 10 chickens in total, and far fewer geese, and just pairs or trios of the ducks. With organic grain at 40 cents a pound, there has to be a real purpose and return from the birds. Since no one seems to want to pay $5 for organic eggs here right from the farm, I only need enough chickens to lay eggs for me and a couple of friends. That, my friends, is the reality of the self perpetuating flocks. Culling hard is a necessity. People do not buy birds in the fall here because they don't want to winter them over, but they clamour for them in the spring, but at cheap prices. It is a hard lesson with the birds. Right?