Our duck and goose house and yard setup.

We’re getting lots of nice starter-sized duck eggs now, despite the shortening days:image

We also got our first goose egg:

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Ducks and geese don’t need nesting boxes like chickens do. They’ll just dig a little depression in the straw in the corner of their house.  I suspect some of them are also laying their eggs in the reeds around the pond, though I haven’t yet found any.

I thought it might interest some readers to see our current duck and goose yard setup.

In the middle of the yard is a hugelkultur herb and vegetable bed around which I’m slowly building a lashed fence made from tree branches I harvest from our woodlands:

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Spent straw bedding is used for mulch in the garden bed.

We had grand duck house dreams but ran out of time and had to settle for repurposing a Rubbermaid storage shed for now:

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We removed the plastic windows and replaced them with hardware cloth. A bungee-corded fan helps with ventilation.

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The rabbit hutch is also in the duck yard:

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The duck yard is not covered, but does have an 8-foot fence around it. The bottom four feet are hardware cloth to prevent raccoons from reaching through and grabbing sleeping ducks.

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There is a semi-dwarf peach tree that provides shade and fallen fruit for the ducks and geese. In turn, their droppings fertilize the tree.

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We took a second piece of hardware cloth and attached it to the bottom  of the fence and made a skirt on the ground that extends out several feet. We then let the grass grow up through that hardware cloth skirt. This discourages digging predators from getting into the duckyard..

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We also strung two strands of hot wire, one at four feet and one at the top to discourage climbing predators:

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We have a large earthen pond…image

…directly behind the duck yard:

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Uncle Waldo, our Pilgrim gander

The duck eggs we are currently getting are about the size of a large chicken egg:

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Three brown chicken eggs and one white duck egg

I was uncertain about how cooking duck eggs might be different, so I followed Carol Deppe’s directions:

I use a heavy pan, which is covered and off the heat for the last part of the cooking. I scramble the eggs, adding a little salt, cayenne pepper, and oregano. (You can add milk if you want. I don’t.) I start the cooking on medium-high and stir the eggs with a spatula a few times initially until they start chunking up. When I have mostly big chunks of egg dispersed in some remaining liquidy egg, I turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook 2–3 minutes—until the eggs are lightly brown on the bottom. Then I use a spatula to turn the eggs over in spatula-sized sections, then cover the pan, remove it from the heat, and leave it for 3–5 minutes to finish cooking the other side of the eggs. I end up with sort of hamburger-patty-like slabs of eggs. These make great leftovers, hot or cold, and make good sandwiches or finger food.

I started with two duck eggs:image

Added the seasonings:

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The whites are thicker and stickier than chicken eggs

And used my trusty cast iron skillet that we’ve had for 25 years:

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Served on a slice of fresh sourdough bread with a few remaining cherry tomatoes from the pot on the balcony:

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The duck eggs tasted richer and did not have that “chickeny” flavor. Yummy!

 

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