As the song lyrics suggest, we had quite a beautiful surprise on the farm this morning. After spending a little over a month protecting and caring for seventeen little duck eggs Mama Duck finally gets to relax. All of her eggs successfully hatched between 4:30 p.m. yesterday and 8:00 a.m. this morning. We gently moved Mama Duck and all of her ducklings into the repurposed chicken house where they were given a clean plate of food and a dish of water. The ducklings wasted no time getting wet and as each awkwardly hopped into the water mother gently washed them off. This is the second successful brood that Mama Duck has brought into this world, the first having hatched on Thanksgiving Day last year. As the day continued groups of students and faculty made their way back into the farm area to catch a glimpse of the new additions to our community.
Raising ducks is a part of the sustainable food systems here on campus as they create a good source of rich fertilizer and have a voracious appetite for flys and insects. The females are raised for their rich large eggs which will help supplement our weekly egg consumption once the flock has grown. Several of the males will be selected for future breeding and the rest will provide a delicious and healthy meal for the community. We also raise goats and pigs for their manure in plant culture and their protein in dining culture. And speaking of pigs, one of our sows is going to be giving birth to a litter of piglets in the next couple of weeks if everything goes well. Spring is in the air!Joshua Shultz Permaculture Manager