As we move into the New Year it is a good time to both look back at how things went last year and then make some plans on how to improve in the coming year.  Let’s start off with how the birds have faired in our first year of having ducks and chickens.

Snow DucksTo start off with we are closing in on having had ducks for a whole year.  We got them from Murray McMurray and all 12 little Khaki Campbell’s arrived in the mail happy as could be.  We ended up raising them, plus we picked up a pair of Pekins.  To round out the flock we ended up saving what turned out to be two more Campbell’s and a Rouen.  Over the course of the year, we lost one of the original set of girls.  It also turns out that one Campbell and one Pekin is male, so at this point, we have 16 ducks total.

Of the 14 female ducks, we have ended up with at least 1,519 eggs.  Some were cracked or otherwise not accounted for when we collected them.  We have managed to sell some, give some to family, supply pretty much all the eggs we’ve needed since they started laying and manage to donate a decent amount to the local food pantry.

For the chickens, they came a bit later.  We ended up picking up 6 Barred Rocks and 2 Ameracuanas.  When we purchased them we thought that they were all female, but as it turned up half the Barred Rocks were roosters.  They meant their end when they started attacking the ducks.  So we now have a total of 5 chickens.

These five birds got a later start laying and being less than a third of the ducks didn’t make quite as many eggs.  They have managed to produce 262 eggs that were counted.

This Year’s Plan

ChickensWe haven’t been doing any supplemental lighting or the such, figuring that if the birds need to take a break over the winter that will be fine.  As it turns out we are still getting some eggs.  Now it hasn’t been as many as during the summer, but it has kept us in eggs at home.

As we move forward I know that I will be rebuilding the coop that they are living in.  When I put up the last one it was really what is the cheapest quickest way that I can build one.  After working with them for a year I think I have a better idea of what I’d like to have in the setup.  I’ve been drafting up a plan and you’ll see more as we move into building that.

Since I have dispatched a few of the birds I’m open to the idea of making a chicken tractor and raising some meat birds.  From what I’ve read it seems like it is a bit easier when you harvest them at the right age and now wait until they attack someone.

Depending on how well things go getting some other areas fenced I might see about adding a couple more Pekins and some Runners, but that will depend on a few other projects going well.

Finally, I’m looking at the idea of adding a few turkeys to our little operation.  We’ll see, it would be pretty cool to have a heritage turkey that we raised for Thanksgiving.