Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Perfect Dozen, Plus Five, Plus One

Today was our very first dozen-egg day! What a beautiful picture they make! I never tire of egg collection, and today's assortment was a delight indeed. Such a variety of colours and shapes and sizes. I am particularly fond of speckled eggs. One of these has a light dusting of speckles on the large end.

So where do the "plus five" come from then? Was it really a 17 egg day? No...

The plus five are five beautiful Muscovy hens that we got today! Two are black and white, while the other three are chocolate and white. (There's a hen who insisted on getting in the picture, over to the left).

Unfortunately, we thought they would stick around with our other ducks. One of them did not. As we began to herd the ducks in to the barn this evening, one flew away. She flew behind the barn and, we think, across the road. We are very hopeful that she will return. Perhaps she will hear the other ducks quacking? What do any experienced duck owners think? We didn't realize she could fly like that. We will clip the wing feathers on the others tomorrow, just to be sure. Look at the lovely green iridescence on these girls!

So.....what's the "plus one" then? Well, after a lot of discussion and research, we have decided to focus on having a fiber herd of goats. Originally, it was our intent to raise milk goats and make our own cheese and yogurt and such, for selling. Upon researching state legal requirements, we've learned that this is financially impossible at this time. Maybe in five years we will reconsider. Right now, we will make our own milk products for eating, and perhaps dabble in goat milk soaps and lotions.

In order to focus on that goal, we realized that we needed an angora buck. That way, we can focus on angora fleece and pygora fleece (has anyone tried Nubi-gora fleece?) and any extra milk can be for our own consumption. Therefore, today we welcomed Valentino! That really is his name (so perfect for Valentines Day weekend!), and he is 2 years old. Here he is meeting Springfield the donkey (who has his halter on because we were brushing him today). Also to the right is Pebbles the pygmy goat.

We learned about Val through somebody in our spinning guild who bought 4 ewes from the same farm. The man who owned Valentino is moving into town and divesting his goat herd. We think he is very handsome and has the most marvelous horns!

He's a bit grubby, but then most bucks are. We also love his long locks. He'll be shorn in March with the rest of the fiber crew.

So, just another day on the farm around here! Hope everybody had a great weekend!


Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

He is lovely! Congratulations. Where did the new ducks come from???? What's coming home tomorrow?

The eggs are lovely! I want chickens but Mike isn't thrilled. We are also afraid the dogs would kill them. Maybe in the spring I'll give it further consideration. There is nothing better than fresh farm eggs!

Handmade Sunshine said...

Congratulations on such a productive day! I thought the "plus one" might be a new kid, but sometime soon, right?

Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

There are ways around the raw milk issue. You can sell shares in your goat(s). Then those people who buy the milk actually are part owners. I'm not a lawyer so I don't get the ins and outs but I'm sure you will.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Congratulations on all the lovelies shown on your blog today! I do hope the wandering duck comes home to safety. As for Valentino's "ladies," you can cross him on any dairy breed and get fiber-producing offspring along with milk from the mamas. Since they will be F1 crosses, the type and quality of their fiber will vary, but you could save the best and breed them to each other to get F2 crosses that should be more consistent. Call them dairy-goras and enjoy your endeavor!

Liz said...

When I was at the end of my pregnancy with my daughter, I happened upon farm fresh eggs at an organic farmers market. Those eggs lasted a good long while- I refused to share them with anyone after the baby came. They were MINE. And the egg vendor was gone the next time I could go. Boo!

Our local farmers market doesn't open until June here... and now I definitely want to seek out some farm fresh eggs!!

Ishtar said...

Val is gorgeous! I sure think our desert doe Esmeralda would fancy a bloke like him! Congratulations on your first dozen eggs - makes me wish I had more space and more time!
Greetings from West Africa,

Carol Bator said...

How exciting! I think about getting Muscovey ducks every spring. But then I figure I will just lose them to the coyotes, so I don't. The egg collection is beautiful. And I love angora fiber. That buck will make a great addition to your farm.

Mom L said...

Just when I thought the only new thing on your farm for a while would be Stuffin's baby (whenever she decides to deliver!) you bring home more critters! I hope the flyaway duck comes home - do they get along with the bathtub babies?

Diane is going to have so many fascinating animals to meet!!!


Christy said...

What a pretty buck! How do you like your donkey? We're thinking of getting one because we have a big coyote problem here. But I can't decide.

JLB said...

Wonderful ducks and bucks lol! We're still waiting here for both but yours are beautiful!

angie said...

Oh how fun for you!!! I love muscoveys and can't wait to have some. What a grand weekend - Val is so handsome.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Beautiful eggs! What kind of chickens laid them? Val is a handsome fellow and the ducks are beautiful! Congrats on the new goat and the new ducks too.

Blue Goose Farms said...

Angora! Awesome! That is neat and he is VERY pretty. We are going to start looking for a Doe in the next month or so. Will you be processing your own fiber? How exciting for you!

Karen said...

We just had our first "dozen" week. I can't get over how exciting it is!

Mare said...

Oh my goodness Valentino is beautiful, as are the ducks and eggs! I have one question...will you adopt me? :)

Karin said...

I have a friend in Vermont who has chickens...thier eggs are so incredible and so good!

And may I tell you that I am thrilled to hear you are going to raise fiber animals??

Now I really need to keep up with you as I want to write a book on local/domestic sources of fibers. with knitting patterns etc.

I haven't told The Blog yet, this is between me and you! :)

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Originally, it was our intent to raise milk goats and make our own cheese and yogurt and such, for selling. Upon researching state legal requirements, we've learned that this is financially impossible at this time
you're saying to sell dairy products, and for it to be legal for you to do so, it would cost a lot? about hopeless, I've heard.

Claire said...

Thanks all for the comments!

Yellow Jacket - the new ducks came from Craig's List, and get this....three of them flew away yesterday. I have clipped the wings on the remaining two. I am so unhappy about it.

Handmade Sunshine - thanks! The Plus One kid should be coming REALLY soon (fingers crossed!). I swear she can't get any bigger!

Michelle - thanks for those great tips! Good thing one of my degrees is in genetics...I should get this all figured out in a few years!

Liz - you need to join the urban chicken movement! There are even "stealth coops" for your backyard if you're in a no-chickens-allowed area!

Esther - thanks for visiting again! I'm sure Val would love to visit with Esmerelda, and surely help her fulfill her motherhood dreams!!

Carol - if you don't lose the Muscovies to coyotes, apparently they just fly away, like my 3 did. Waaahhhhh!

Mom L - the Muscovies get along with Disston, but not so much the other ducks. I think it's a hierarchy thing.

Christy - we love our donkeys, but I think for coyotes, a llama might be an even better choice. A local llama pair recently took out 3 coyotes in a sheep field one night. They are very protective of their flocks.

JLB - I suggest starting with the ducks!

Angie - Oooooh, do get some! They're lovely! And they lay huge eggs!

Shiloh - those eggs were laid by Easter egger hens, as well as Rhode Island Reds, Red Stars, a Polish hen, a speckled Sussex, and possibly a light brahma.

Blue Goose - Yes! Definitely processing some of our own fiber, and sending some to High Prairie for Abi to process.

Karen - thanks! Egg collecting is such fun!

Mare - sure! But only if you help give duck baths (see today's post!)

Joanna - startup costs range from about $50,000 to $75,000, depending on how much equipment you can get second hand, and that's only for Grade B dairy (cheese only). Ouch.

Apifera Farm said...

I'll be watching your cheese efforts. We discussed it here, but have put it off since what we really want is aged hard cheese. Welcome Valentino. With a name like that he'll definately be a ladies man...I'm ordering more hens for April, can't wait - Buff Orpingtons, Aracaunas and Barred Rocks. Can't wait! My sheep are lookin' big!