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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
June 13, 2003     Cape Gazette
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June 13, 2003
 

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cAPE G, Friday, June ta. June 1! gO0 - 7 1oucRs are one of the easiest poultry to raise Gardens are for long talks, but not long-winded talks. Take the case of a poor Greek who kept the Goddess Hera in a long conversa- tion, preventing Hera from catch- ing the Nymphs who had been keeping company with her hus- band. Hera took away the girl's words, allowing her to only repeat the last words she heard. Her name was Echo. Not having your words repeated can sometimes be a distinct ad- vantage. Often we try to say something without others hearing. In humans we call it a secret, in ducks we call it a quack. But a human's voice will echo, reveal- ing his whereabouts, while a duck's quack is oneoof only a few natural sounds that usually won't echo. Perhaps to keep them from becoming sitting ducks. And ducks are one of the easiest poultry to raise. You can often or- der a few ducklings from local feed stores or have them shipped directly to you from hatcheries such as Murray McMurray (800- 456-3280) or Metzer Farms Hatchery (800-424-7755). Keep the ducklings under infrared heat lamps. Put the ducklings in a pen cov- ered with 2 inches of wood shav- ings or straw for bedding. You can add commercial duck vita- mins or a lit- tle sugar to the water if you want. Ducklings are born with their eyes wide open and ready to forage for their own food right away. Ifyou can't find duck feed you can use unmedicated chick starter feed the first few weeks. Tempting as it is, don't give ducklings water to swim in the first few weeks because without a mother nearby they can quickly get chilled even in a brooder. Af- ter two or three weeks you can feed ducklings pelleted chicken feed plus cracked corn, or any oth- er grains. Give them some grit, though they can usually find their own. Ducks are hardy and aren't sus- ceptible to very many common poultry diseases, so you won't need medicated feeds. In fact, you can really hurt ducks by giving them medicated feeds formulated for chickens and turkeys. A fawn and white runner duck with its ducklings. summit00 GARDEN JOURNAL While water for swimming isn't necessary for successful duck pro- duction, it does seem cruel to de- prive them of this basic part of their natural habitat. Farmers and gardeners are dis- covering how helpful ducks can be. They eat tremendous amounts of snails, slugs and insects. Ducks are raised mainly for meat but there are loyal buyers of fresh duck eggs. Bakers often prefer duck eggs to chicken eggs for richer cakes and breads. There are many colorful ducks to choose from. Runner ducks are a Scottish breed with long, slender bodies. They come in three types, fawn and white, pure white and pen- ciled. These ducks are fast mov- ing and walk upright, rather than waddle. Runner ducks are among -the best egg layers of any breed, with some producing over 200 eggs per year. The Khaki Campbell duck is another good egg layer., These are small ducks that will only reach about four to five pounds but they are still excellent roasting birds. Their light plumage makes them easy to pluck, making them a good dual pur- pose bird. The most popular meat breed is the white Pekin, first brought to America in 1873. Pekin ducks have large meaty, breasts and at- tractive yellow skin. The males will have a fall weight of l0 to ll pounds, while the smaller females will weigh around eight to nine pounds. The Pekin's all white plumage makes it the eaSiest duck topiek for the table. Raise a few ducks for eggs or meat or just for entertainment. And their quacking can be quite calming on a summer day - or is that only an echo. p Look for the blue & white umbrellas for parking info, permits & change. Change Machine at First St. & Rehoboth Ave. traffic island across from City Hall Enjoy your stay with us and hurry back! Paul Barbano writes about gar- dening and farming from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Address questions or comments to him c/o the Cape Gazette. [ [ 1 ' N IV I " " ][-- -1 ........ VVF-'-- Tr-'r]TIIill|lmnilllllllg 11110111111111HIII,, i[ll,lll ...... F ' mid IMIlIIIII Iolm IIIIITT1HilIIIT1FPF1111T