One of the huge benefits of keeping chickens and ducks for me is that I have a lot less waste food each week. A number of my lettuces in the garden had gone a bit past it and with a few tomatoes thrown in they have all had a lovely treat this afternoon. The chickens in particular seem to know when treat time is coming and all stand on guard at the gate bok-boking at me to hurry up while the ducks follow behind them excitedly quacking.
I’ve also started adding more wheat to their rations this week as the weather gets colder and they slow down laying. The ducks already have a fair bit in their wheat bowls (water filled washing up bowls with wheat in the bottom making it easier for them to digest and stops the chickens eating it) but the chickens rarely get corn or wheat in the summer months and it is a nice treat for them in the early evening. I only give one small handful between the three of them at bedtime, but when they hear me coming for locking up at night they will jump out of the coop hopeful for their little nibbles.
Unfortunately I have noticed an unwelcome visitor to the garden the last few nights – Mr Fox. I had noticed him down the road last week when driving home and last night I saw him sniffing around the duck house and chicken run. At the moment I still haven’t got the roof on the duck run so that is the task to complete before winter sets in as now he knows where a possible meal is it is likely he will become braver and start visiting earlier in the day. I’m also looking at getting an infra red fox scarer to see if that will help stop him visiting, but there are so many on the market I’m struggling to decide which one to get!
My two drakes from this years hatch are soon becoming dinner. They are due for dispatch in 2 weeks so I plan on giving them a corn based diet as well as finishers over this period. The Appleyard-Aylesbury cross is a very large drake, but sadly Bumble is attacking him and asserting his dominance so for the two weeks until they go I’m keeping them separate to stop them getting injured and to allow them to eat the different diet form the rest of my flock. Although last year I culled and dressed the cockerels I don’t feel confident doing the deed with the ducks (unless in an emergency situation) so Grannie Annie off the forums is kindly preparing them for me, which also means I can get a few more of her delicious home reared chickens for the freezer while visiting.