We used to have ducks on the farm.
A few years ago, we raised about 15 Silver Appleyards – an old English breed brought to the U.S. in the 1960s, that are rare here. We appreciate old breeds, and liked the fact that Silver Appleyards are well suited for both eggs and meat.
We installed the adorable day-old ducklings in a brooder in our chick barn, and the plan was to eventually put them out at the pond when they were large enough. It was a joy to see them splashing and gliding on the water, and hear them quacking. We couldn’t wait to collect their rich, flavorful eggs to sell in the farm store.
What we didn’t realize, or anticipate, was that they would lay their eggs wherever they wished – and not necessarily where it was convenient for us to find or retrieve them. In fact, for awhile we didn’t see any eggs at all. So we set up a couple of nesting containers – plastic drums lying on their sides with straw inside, and a fake egg or two in the straw for encouragement. We never did find a real egg in those containers.
One morning, Brian was on his way to the milking parlor and walked by “the Harem” – the area where we keep our sows and our breeding boar. In the upper corner of the Harem, by the fence that borders the pond, he noticed that a couple of the ducks were going back and forth under the fence. And then he watched as one of the pigs went nosing around up there, found something, and started eating it. Little did we know that the pigs had been enjoying a fresh breakfast every morning while we scratched our heads over what had become of the duck eggs.
The ducks? They were delicious!