Monday, July 18, 2011

Changes: Drakes & Ducks

There have been lots of changes!  The ducks are six weeks old now, they're getting bigger and adding more feathers every day.  It's interesting to watch how the feathers are growing out, particularly on the wings.  When they stand up and stretch out their wings, I get a better idea of where each of the different types of feathers start, and how they fold up neatly when not in use.

Two of the ducks (female), 5 1/2 weeks old
The drakes and ducks are easy to tell apart now.  The drakes have much more color all over. The back area above the tail is darker on the drakes and shows a different pattern.  I don't know if you can tell in these pictures, but it's quite obvious.  The ducks are quacking quite loudly now, but the drakes still peep.  It's a louder peep, but still a peep.  Oh, the "mystery", Whitey, is quite clearly still peeping and therefore, a drake.

One of the drakes (male), 5 1/2 weeks old
Our plan all along was to butcher the drakes.  At first we thought we'd be brave and adventurous and do it
ourselves.  Then we found out about a poultry processing plant nearby that does them, packages them up and freezes them, and we thought that would save us the effort.  Then we found out that they no longer do ducks.  Now we aren't so sure we want to go to the effort of learning to do it ourselves, so we've put the drakes up for sale on craigslist.  So far, there have been no responses.  From the reading I've done, it sounds like the best time for butchering will be in another 2-3 weeks or so.  We've been so busy, I don't know that we need another project, but I guess it'll have to be done, and we may have to do it.

I was realizing that for centuries, probably the majority of families did this kind of thing themselves all the time.  It was probably only the few wealthiest folks who didn't.  We've gotten so disconnected with our food sources!  I think it's good to have a better recognition of where our food comes from...the garden, the fowl and animals...and appreciate what our Creator has given us.  Thanking Him for the provision of our food will take on new meaning as we butcher our own.

It's kind of nice that the drakes are just "the drakes" en masse, and I don't think losing them will be a problem.   ...Then there's Whitey.  I can't help it.  He is just too cute and too different from the others, I want to keep him.  He's fatter and slower and easier to catch than the rest.  He sits down a lot, and the others step on him frequently.  I've decided to keep him around, at least for a while, so I guess it'll be "Whitey and the girls".  I want to see what he's like as a bigger duck.  I want to keep in mind that he may very well become dinner, and may nickname him "Thanksgiving", but we'll see as time goes on.
Whitey ("Thanksgiving"?) - 5 1/2 weeks old

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