Our Mrs Duck is very proud of her new little ones. They are now one week old and enjoyed their first free range wander and swim in the lake today.
They are muscoveys, a lovely gentle duck that is quiet and inquisitive. They fly well and roost in branches or in our case in the rafters! They snuffle around in the grass roots looking for bugs and slugs, but worms & corn (preferably together) are their absolute favourite.
Our main purpose for growing duck is for meat. It is important to us to know that the meat we eat has a life of joy and freedom that their diet is as varied as possible.
We also had another new arrival this week too. Five Ross cobbs, which have to be the oddest looking 5 week old chooks I have ever seen.
They are bred to put on meat an an alarming rate, often losing the ability to walk as their bodies struggle to keep up with their own growth. Commercial producers have food down all the time to encourage them to gain weight as quickly and cheaply as possible. I understand this from a business point of view but not from a humane point of view. Our experiment is to feed these birds as we do our other birds, just twice a day and to have them free range to keep their weight gain slower, their muscles and bones working and also keep their hearts healthy.
If this experiment works we plan to cross the females with our Marans cockeral next spring with a view to making a new strain of hardier, healthier birds.