Cherry Valley Duck

We have been here six years last month and finally got round to do something we have put off all that time! The time had come to dispatch the duck with the bad foot, I had tried to help it recover but it was getting worse meaning that he was mostly flapping around on his belly which was very unfair on him. He was only just over a year old and a dual purpose Cherry Valley  duck and so I felt that it would be sacralige to just cull and dispose of him and so the intention was to eat him. In all the time we have been here we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat the ducks, they have very soulful eyes you know, we have raised and eaten many chickens but not the ducks lol.

We made a snap decision to do the deed and decided that as the necks are pretty strong, decapitation would be the best way, this is still legal although not ideal but as we don’t have a bolt gun then an axe it would have to be. To be honest it was not that bad and very quick as you can imagine, once we had got over it I went on to pluck it, hang it and eviserate it the next day, then it went in the oven that evening with garlic, celery, bay leaves and oranges,  it was delicious and I am glad we didn’t waste it. We probably will do ducks again but I am not in any hurry to rush out to the pen and round them up they will be delighted to know 😝

On a whim I decided to add six bunnies to our farm, we had already decided to get some next spring and build an outdoor area for them, but an opportunity to good to miss presented itself and within two hours they had arrived. Someone was looking to re home, a male, two unrelated females and three of their babies, plus two huge hutches, some may think I am mad to do that, I think I would be mad not to 😁 

I learnt two very important things this week related to farming in general, firstly last month saw the end of grandfather rights. For those that have never heard of these, it gave anyone born before 1964 the right to buy and use various chemical sprays without a certificate, Hubby just came into that category and secondly that rodencides will come under strict regulation next year, you will also need a certificate to buy and use those. How will this affect us? Well as we  only use chemicals as last resort, and only once in the last six years, the spraying probably won’t be a problem, besides our eldest daughters partner has the correct certificate if we need to call on him, but the rodenticide issue is a different matter. I have already noticed the increase in rat activity on the farm, as soon as winter arrives they tend to move closer to a food source and with chicken feeders around,  the obvious place to set up home are under the huts. Even a concreted floor does not stop them digging under and squating, waiting till dark and coming out to pick up any leftovers. Obviously good husbandry is the key but getting the amount of food right so that the chickens have enough to keep them full and not leave any is a tricky balance. A rat population can explode pretty quickly, at the moment it’s not a problem here but I need to keep putting bait down to prevent it getting out of hand. Sometimes I use bait boxes but you have to put them in the direct path the rats use otherwise they won’t go near them, usually I locate their exit hole and fill it with bait and then place a stone securely over it so that the chickens can’t get at the bait, you would be amazed at how much the rats will eat every day. So next year I don’t know how we will go about getting rid of them, paying a contractor to come in is not going to be cost effective on a place this small, we may have resort to sitting out at night and shooting them or getting a small dog for ‘ratting’  purposes! To be honest I haven’t fully looked into the rodenticide issue you may still be able to buy household strength poison but I will cross that bridge when we get to it. 

We are still waiting for the arrival of our Grandson, the due date is tomorrow, hopefully for our daughters sake I will have news on that front in next weeks blog, we also found out last week that our other grandchild due next April, will be a little girl, how lucky are we to be blessed with one of each 😘

  
  
Have a fab week 🐭🐇🍗

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