Our Muscovy ducklings are 14 weeks old.. and huge. And it is more than time that they left us. Via the freezer. This will be one of the harder ones for me – himself is unfazed. The ducks are so easy going, so calm around us, and have individual colouring. It has been a joy to watch them develop, learn how to fly and play in the water.
It is not the individuals I will miss, although there is always an associated sadness with any death. I don’t eat meat through lethargy, it is a reasoned choice, and these birds have had a good happy life. And I know, because it is a particular joy to me to sit on the feed bin in the duck run and watch them. They fly from house to waterbutt to perch, they splash and rummage in the undergrowth, and they are completely calm with us being there. And there is no avoiding the fact that when they are gone, there will be a distinct lack of ducks. It’s ironic, that the reason we keep them is because we want to raise animals and birds, for meat, that have a happy life. And I enjoy watching them have a happy life, then miss that when they are gone.
We are keeping the original trio: Captain Speck and his girls, but they shall be lost in all that space.
Hopefully there shall be the future slap of webbed feet, next year. Chloe did make a nest and had a fresh clutch of eggs, but the timing is all wrong, the Indian summer probably throwing her. We took the eggs away, as ducklings in December could well be a disaster.
We are very taken with Muscovy ducks, they are easy and friendly, quiet, and pretty self sufficient. And they are nice to look at, even the mostly black ones are beautiful in the sunshine. Their eggs are nice too, but they are not really any good to keep for eggs, they are a meat bird. So the real proof of their success will be when we try one. And it is time.
This time of year, the numbers of birds and animals decrease, as the freezer fills, and we back off from smallholding activities and retreat to the warmth of the house.