I went for a walk through my garden before Christmas. This time of year is when I dream. It’s easy to make grandiose schemes when the ground is too frosty to actually do any work.
The meat rabbits have worked out extremely well (they are definitely the easiest critters I’ve ever kept and from the last batch of fifteen grow-outs, I harvested enough meat to make 36 meals, plus I had three gallon bags of bones to make stock). Last year was all about building their housing and getting them settled, and figuring out how to manage them. Now, though, I’m ready to add some new critters.
I think this is the year for Muscovy ducks. I’ve considered them before, but wasn’t quite sure how to wrangle them with the chickens. Some people keep a mixed flock quite happily, but I’ve also heard horror stories of the Muscovy drake killing chickens. I value my hens; I don’t want to risk their lives. But my hens have a much larger area than they actually need, so I’ve worked out a way of dividing the chicken runs, so that they will rotate through different areas with the ducks. We’ll see how it works. The ducks, being non-diggers, will also get access a lot of the time to the garden. I miss having a devoted slug patrol!
The things that are awesome about Muscovy ducks is their extreme quietness (always valued in an urban farm) their fly and rodent catching abilities, their devotion to motherhood, and the fact that their meat is more like red meat than regular poultry. It’s said by top chefs that their breast meat in particular tastes like sirloin steak! Since there is zero chance I will ever be able to raise sirloin steak in my backyard, I’m all about this. The downside is that I have to order a minimum of 15 chicks from my hatchery of choice.
So I’ll keep the trio of ducks I want (1 male, 2 females) and either butcher the rest, or possibly sell a few ducklings. Ducklings! I’m so excited to be getting ducklings again. They are seriously my favorite kind of babies.
I’m also making plans for the new trees and plants I’ll be ordering. Not so many trees this year, but there are at least a couple I want. It’s weird, though, making plans this far ahead, because I know I won’t be remaining on this world much longer. Literally any moment now, Christ is going to return and take his children away. It’s 100% going to happen, and happen soon. But just in case I have to wait a couple more years (rather than the weeks or months I think it will be) I have to keep doing what God wants me to do. The Bible says to garden, and provide for my family, and live a quiet life while working with my hands, and that’s exactly the life I desire…while I’m here on earth.
But I cannot wait for the moment when I finally get to fly away and meet my Savior in the air!
I have never raised duck, not only because so many fly by, but because I simply dislike it. I get it though, about the need for them to be quite. That is how we ended up with the Araucana hens when we lived in town. It was a good compromise. They are not the most productive, but they bothered no one.
Oh, I LOVE duck. It’s my favorite meat! And the fat is sublime. I haven’t had muscovy, though, so I’m hoping I like it as much. Never had wild duck, either…I hear the gamey flavor is very different from domestic duck. I don’t tend to like the flavor of wild game.
We got way too much of it as starving students, which also happened to be back before any of us knew much about cooking. I was none too keen on it prior to that, and downright disliked it by the time I graduated. I suppose I should try it now, just to see if it is as bad as I remember it to be. I see it around town (in San Jose), but have always avoided it.