Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

We’re Professionals.

Posted on | August 25, 2010 | 3 Comments

Everything we do has a reason.  All of our actions are the result of careful research, proven technique, and effective cost analysis.  We’re professionals.

For example, we do not rescue unhatched eggs because we “feel bad” for them.  We accept the cycle of life.  The survival of the fittest.  We’re professionals.

We only brought an unhatched egg into the house, put it on a towel, in a pot, under a heat lamp because an adult duck is worth $40 at market price.  It was not because we could hear the desperate pipping of the duckling inside the abandoned egg.  And, for the record, we did not run into the house with the egg cuddled in the warmth of Pretty’s T-shirt because of concern for the egg’s well-being.  We were simply done with the morning chores (most of them) and Little had to pee (after a while).  Besides, it was actually only a quick jog.  Professionals don’t run for the sake of an unhatched egg.

We did not mist the eggshell with lukewarm water or gradually chip away at the external pip for the next 8 hours because we wanted to save the exhausted duckling inside the egg.  No, we just figured we had already spent $2.00 running the 250 watt heat lamp, we might as well try to get a return on our investment.  It was purely a professional, financial decision.

We did not spend the rest of the day crouched by the pot, peeping at the egg, to encourage the duckling to hatch because we were too soft-hearted to let it die.  It was simply a cheaper way to entertain the kids than taking them to the movies like we had planned.  It might even count for a Girl Scout badge.  That’s the kind of cost-saving, forward-thinking farm we run around here.  We’re professionals.

We didn’t dry the duckling off after it hatched and take turns holding it cuddled on our laps because we were controlled by some misguided anthropomorphism that told us “babies” needed to be warmed and cuddled.  We were just trying to raise it’s core temperature and stimulate it’s drinking reflexes so it could drink on it’s own.  This is a working farm and we know that an animal that eats early, recovers from the birthing/hatching process faster than those that don’t.  We’re professionals.

We didn’t let the duckling sit on the couch with us because we are amateurs who cannot separate the distinct realities of raising animals to be butchered and raising pets.  We simply recognized that ducks are prone to an injury called spraddle leg which comes from being raised on a surface that is too slippery for them to have decent traction.  So, couch it is.  That’s the kind of educated professionals we are.

We didn’t name the duckling Meghan and attach a tiny adjustable band around her leg before returning her to the mother duck because we got too attached to consider butchering her.  We just checked our farm journal and realized we needed to mark some more young ducks to be saved as breeding stock.  Being a professional farmer requires that kind of organization and preparation for the future of the flock.

Besides, these sorts of things don’t happen that often around here.

We aren’t constantly rescuing unhatched eggs.

Just every once in a while.

We’re not always playing with, I mean, caring for, ducklings in the house.

It just happens.  Sometimes.

It’s a tough job.

But we’re just the professionals to do it.

P.S.  we don’t use that pot for cooking anymore 🙂


3 Responses to “We’re Professionals.”

  1. Annabelle
    August 26th, 2010 @ 8:01 am

    you guys are too much! our Muscovies finally hatched 11 ducklings about 2 weeks ago.. we’re down to 7. One drowned 🙁 and the other three were hanging around a stack of alfalfa when the goats kids came running up and knocked a flake right on top of them? Guess we were only meant to have 7 our first hatch?

  2. mARY
    August 26th, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    you know you love those ducks!!!

  3. forensicfarmgirl
    August 26th, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    At least you don’t use that pot for cooking DUCK anymore! hehehehehe

    I “feel” your professionalism! Years ago we had a lame mallard named “Bernardo” because I was too “professional” to let Husband kill a duckling who appeared to have a broken leg. He walked with a rolling paddle for a long time and eventually grew to be a normal adult!


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