Today is cool and rainy. It is a perfect day to stay indoors and do something. I was looking back over my inbox folders trying to clean out the old stuff. I ran across some stories that a man named Christopher Haymond had told on a list I was on. He would keep us all in suspense with his stories. I had asked him permission a long time ago if I could share his stories with others and he agreed as long as I put the author's name on it.
We had someone get on the list who often got way off topic (it was a family cow list) and would get nasty with people. The moderator posted that we needed to keep things more around our cows and livestock. Another person had written in and asked a question about ducks they had. If I remember right, they wanted to know if it would be OK to keep ducks out near where their cows were. Several different people responded and then our friend, who was not so nice, wrote a post asking what did ducks have to do with dairy animals. This was the story that Christopher Haymond told in reply to his question. We all got a chuckle out of it.
I’m new to the list. I’ve been lurking for several decades. When I saw the post about milking ducks I just had to jump in. I grew up on a Duck Dairy in the mid-west. My dad used to milk 500 mallards. My husband and I dreamt about getting a little farm of our own. And this past fall we and our 27 children moved to a one room, fixer-upper in Michigan. We’re homesteaders and like to keep it simple and do things from scratch. Just give me a woodstove, outhouse and a 1.5 Ghz Pentium III with 265 mgs RAM, and we’re content. I finally have a few dairy ducks of my own. I can’t wait for our new milking parlor to be ready.
I am currently milking my Russian Blue, but my Khaki – Indian Runner cross has just been bred (I hope). I plan to get the vet out to preg check her soon. I was lucky to get a couple straws of semen from the Khaki Campbell flock in Maine. They have a registered drake there that comes from the line of Danish Dairy Ducks. I plan to AI the Blue this spring. It’s so hard to tell heat in a duck. It’s difficult to locate any of the pure, old fashion Khaki flocks anymore. Most of them these days are bred for production and fed pounds of grain. We have our two ducks on five acres of 35.7% grasses and 45.98% legume. They’re good foragers when given the chance.
Miss Clarabelle, the Khaki cross is really my favorite. There’s nothing like being alone in the cold mornings and feeling her warm feathers against my hands and hearing her soft quacks.
I grew up around the huge mallards. But I chose to go with the smaller breeds, because they’re gentler and easier to handle. Mallards can be unpredictable.
I contacted a farm in Ohio that has miniature mallards. I’ve heard that they can be very easy going, but you have to be careful about dwarfism and inbreeding.
All the big farms out here are totally Indian Runner. They’re great producers for the big commercial outfits where milk volume is key, but I don’t think they’re as practical for a Family Duck.
Well. I’m rambling so I’ll quit now. It’s nice to have finally found a group with which I can share the rewards and frustrations of keeping a family milk duck.