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Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby davefrombc » Nov 28, 2011 1:55 pm

I have never kept the Khaki Campbells, and hadn't heard of the Appleyards before. I have kept Muscoys.. They are a quiet bird , they don't quack or make any noise beyond a loud hiss. They are great foragers so don't require a lot of supplemental feed if they have sufficient graze. Their eggs are about the size of 2 -3 large chicken eggs on the plate , and have a stronger "egg" flavour.
Mother Muscovys and drakes are fairly good at protecting their ducklings, but the birds are not generally agressive. When I was in my teens , my ducks and bantams had free range so I didn't have to add much feed for them at all.
A bit of evil fun I had then was putting two duck eggs under a broody bantam hen .. She'd hatch out her babies and absolutely freak at them when they hatched and shortly after headed for the nearest mud puddle . Then it wasn't too long before momma bantam had trouble perching on top of her two babies, bigger than herself, to brood them ..
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby klr650teach » Nov 28, 2011 3:38 pm

LOL, I can just picture Mama lookin at the little ones thinkin they were just way bigger than they should be for that age hehehe.

My evil fun was to tie a 12-16 inch length of yarn to the rooster's tail feathers :o and then watch the antics ensue. :lol: That was just payback for him being mean to us kids when we tried to collect the eggs and got attacked so we relished in the payback. lol There was never any harm to the bird but it was sure funny to watch. Kinda like watchin a dog chase it's tail but with summersaults thrown in! :lol:

Finding heritage breeds is difficult. Do you have a source for those Muscovy's Dave? Seems 30 years ago they were everywhere, Now.........hard to find.

I thought I'd get a couple Emden Geese to put in with the ducks for their protection. So far the only really good souce is http://holderreadfarm.com They are in the USA and it is expensive to import due to the health certificates needed and the vets like to rake you over the coals for it....150 bucks US. Then there is shipping and the cost of the birds and taxes once you bring them in. Not worth it per bird but if you plan on maintaining a flock into perpepituity and you buy them as your starting breeding stock.............they will pay for themselves in due time.

Ian....
Penticton, BC in the Sunny Okanagan Valley. Zone 5a
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby davefrombc » Nov 28, 2011 6:59 pm

There's all sorts of sources for muscovys here in the Fraser Valley . A quick search on Craigs list will bring up a page full. I also saw one ad from Oliver and one from Osoyoos. I came up with blanks on the geese. If you have a small incubator, you might be able to import some fertile eggs for the geese and hatch them out . That would likely cut some of the red tape at the border , or allow you to order from a Canadian source. I had some white geese when I lived in the north . Breed unknown , but they were big , white birds I raised from eggs given to me by a neighbour .. They very well could have been Emdens. Maybe an add in a local Craigs list or community bulletin board will bring up sources near you .
Of course, Getting stock down here would be a good excuse to make a trip to the coast for a shopping spree for significant other too. You're only about a 5 hour drive away .
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby klr650teach » Dec 29, 2011 4:19 pm

Hi Dave and the rest, Dave you are correct in what you said in your last post. I checked on CL and found it just as you said...about a page full. Most were many miles away or just the drakes for sale with no ducks. But the only sources for Appleyard ducks in Canada won't ship live chicks and are very leary of shipping hatching eggs. I don't blame them on the eggs.......duck eggs can be very finnickitty on how they are treated and don't generally hatch out well if they have travelled. Very much unlike chicken eggs.

Yes I am only 5 hours or so away from the coast but, if I'm going to travel all that way and spend a hundred and fifty bucks on fuel there and back....I might as well just pay the hundred and fifty dollar health certificate fee and get the breed of ducks that I actually want out of the states from Holderread Farms.........not that there is anything wrong with the Muscocvy breed of duck. It is just that I had wanted the Appleyard from the moment I first discovered a picture of them with a short description.

The Appleyard duck is reputed to be the number one dual purpose duck out there in the heavy class where ducks will weigh approximately 8 lbs and the drakes 9lbs when grown. Thats a nice size carcass for the table. They don't lay as many eggs as the Khaki Cambell - roughly 80% of what the Cambell will lay but the Appleyard will weigh twice as much as the Cambell when finished. So for meat AND eggs in the heavy category..........the Appleyards are my number one pick with the Saxony's coming in a close 2nd. I ordered 20 Appleyard ducklings yesterday for spring delivery.

I'd still like to ad some geese to the mix as well but I torn mainly between two breeds. Those being the large white Embden that can weigh close to 30 lbs if kept that long or the Pilgrim goose which I believe end up around 12-14lbs. Not having kept either of these two breeds of geese before, my decision will depend on a couple of things. Temperment is a biggy. Noise is another biggy.
And if at some point in time I have to go to one type of bird (ducks and chickens included) I may end up with just geese as they are pretty much self sufficient once they start to range and forage for their food. Grass is almost a complete food for geese once they come of age. So the cost of raising them will be far less than ducks or even the chickens. Once I have breeding stock I will no longer have to purchase goslings so the cost drops by roughly 15 dollars a bird making them very affordable to keep and a treat to eat. I might end up buying 5 of each and raising them just to see which will be best suited to our back yard.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and all the best of the New Year to everyone!

Ian....
Penticton, BC in the Sunny Okanagan Valley. Zone 5a
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby davefrombc » Dec 29, 2011 10:54 pm

OK Ian.. Good luck on the ducklings come spring . I wasn't thinking of a special trip for the birds, but to think of them as an addition in a shopping trip if you happened to come down in spring . The Appleyards do sound like an interesting variety . I hadn't heard of them before you mentioned them.
The muscovies van get as large as small geese , and some as large as" not so small" geese . .They are much like geese in that they are grazers and nearly self sustaining when lots of green and bugs are available.. Bonus with muscovies is they are "quackless" , merely making loud hisses when annoyed. The geese I had weren't particularly noisy , but did tell us when something strange entered the yard.
Take care and have a Very Happy New Year .
Dave
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby klr650teach » Dec 30, 2011 12:35 pm

Too bad you can't remember what variety of geese you had Dave. I'd be curious.

Yeah I knew what you were getting at with the trip to the coast. Just the thought of buying birds and turning my wife loose on a shopping spree is just downright scary! lol

I've attached a couple of photos of the Appleyards that I found on the net so you have an idea what they look like. They are a heavy breed with a long deep breast. I personally think they are a really beautiful bird.

Off to Mexico now for a few weeks. I'll tty more when I get back. cya

Ian...
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Re: Encorporating Chickens into the Garden Cycle

Postby davefrombc » Dec 30, 2011 1:35 pm

Those Appleyards look like the Khaki Campbells I knew, on steroids. I I never knew what breed of goose I had . I got the eggs from a neighbour of one of my chums in the north.. From the descriptions and pictures on the net , I would say they were Emdens. I can't remember if they had blue eyes, and I think mine were a little lighter , so they could have been either a cross, or possibly just a smaller variety of Embden.
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