Homemade Desserts: Duck Egg Cheesecake

Duck Egg CheesecakeDo you like cheesecake? If so, you must try it with duck eggs – we did, and there’s no going back!While the seemingly endless supply of spring and summer eggs seems to be over, we recently began finding a few duck eggs in the coop again! While they’re wonderful fried and scrambled, duck eggs are unparalleled for their ability to enhance baked goods: think denser and richer…words made for cheesecake. Continue reading “Homemade Desserts: Duck Egg Cheesecake”

Farm Projects: Cooling Off The Coop

Coop Cooling

It’s hot out today. With the heat index, it’s 97 degrees. Sounds like a good day for sitting in an air-conditioned room and taking it easy, right? Yeah, right – it’s the perfect day to add some insulation to the chicken coop to help keep the ladies cool. Happy chickens lay more eggs!

As you know from reading earlier posts, we retrofitted a lofted shed as a chicken coop when we acquired our first chickens. We’ve learned a lot since then and would definitely build our own, rather than try to make a shed work, in the future; that said, the shed wasn’t built with the special features a really good chicken coop incorporates, like excellent ventilation. In addition, the metal roof combined with the very tall loft traps heat. We’ve tried to ameliorate the worst of the heat in past years by employing shade cloth, installing a fan, building a sturdy screen door, cutting in a lot of ventilation, and making sure the ladies have cool water available to them after they’re secured for the night. Continue reading “Farm Projects: Cooling Off The Coop”

New Farm Denizens: White Chinese Geese

Chinese Geese

We’ve been considering adding geese to the farm for a while, and have been researching different breeds to find the one that we think will be the best fit. We’re pleased to share that yesterday, we brought three young Chinese geese home.

Why Chinese geese? They’re known to be good guardian animals because they’ll create a racket if they see something that doesn’t belong (this could be a downside if you live close to neighbors), they’re some of the best layers, they can obtain much of their nutrition from eating weeds and pasture greens, and they’re lovely creatures.  You know how we like pasturing our animals! Continue reading “New Farm Denizens: White Chinese Geese”

Beware The Super-Broody: These Girls Mean Business

Broody

It’s that time of year – the ducks have been laying lots of eggs, and when they’ve laid a clutch, they want to try to hatch them (and they’re exceptionally good at it). When one goes broody, and interesting phenomenon occurs: the broodiness seems to be contagious. So what happens when several ducks go broody and they all want the same nest box? They sardine into it. Never mind that there are other boxes, just as nice, that are available. They want that one special box.

That’s right: three ducks crammed themselves into a single nest box. Our nest boxes are jumbo hooded cat litter pans, normally very roomy for a single occupant. It’s even comfortable for two ducks, should they decide to be roommates. But three is pushing it – see how they’re stacked? Continue reading “Beware The Super-Broody: These Girls Mean Business”

Like Strange Eggs? Here’s A New One!

Strange Eggs

Each morning, we collect the duck eggs from the nest boxes in their coop. We time it so that the group is out eating breakfast while we take the eggs; otherwise, we risk invoking the wrath of the broody who’s been sitting in the corner nest (she knows we steal the eggs, I can feel it in her glare). Several of the girls have already gone broody, but this duck has been particularly committed to defending “her” eggs.

There are four nest boxes in the duck coop: three jumbo covered boxes and one small, shallow one. For some reason, some of the ducks prefer the shallow, open one – there are typically at least two eggs in there in the morning. We usually find several in each of the other boxes, with the broody’s nest being the cleanest, beautifully down-lined, and full of carefully hidden eggs. We’ve learned that you can provide the most deluxe, plush nest box, and that’s still no guarantee that the ducks will lay their eggs in it, so offering variety seems to work best – and an egg laid in a nest box has a much better chance of being a clean egg. Continue reading “Like Strange Eggs? Here’s A New One!”