I started incubating duck eggs on Thursday night, and I’ll put the chicken eggs in this coming Thursday night; that way all the eggs should hatch about the same time. Then we’ll decide if we want to keep any of them, and which we’d keep (ie, the ducklings or chicks – still a good amount of debate about that and I think it will depend on what kind of ducklings hatch out).
For quite some time I’ve been keeping an eye out for possible frugal housing options for them once they are hatched, assuming we decide to keep 3 or 4 for pets/eggs. But one big thing holding me back was the limited time to put together some housing without spending much money on it.
This morning, my ds11 came home and told me he saw that someone put out a sturdy wood dog house for free and thought it would be just the right size for a coop. I took a walk with my dd13 to go look at it, and he was right – it was just right. Big enough for the amount of birds we’re considering, but compact enough to not be a major presence in my yard.
But dh had taken the van to work, and what would usually be a quick and easy jaunt to pick this up wasn’t. It was HEAVY. Dd and I started carrying it, but after just a couple of minutes, I sent her home to bring back reinforcements (ie the muscles of some other children :)). Since ds16 was at shul (synagogue), dd15 was davening (praying), ds11 was at piano lessons – so the only muscle was from dd9 and ds7. Not quite the muscle I was envisioning.
But they did great and we got the doghouse home with a good amount of effort, laughing most of the way at how ridiculous we probably looked to people driving by. We’ll have to make some adaptations to it – namely, to put in a perch for roosting, nesting boxes for egg laying, and to make the roof hinged so we can open it from the top easily for cleaning. But the frame and size are good, and I think that’s doable. I also like that it doesn’t look like a chicken coop.
Having this housing at least partially taken care of is one more thing that I don’t need to think about, and having it means that it’s looking a lot more likely that we’ll end up keeping some. We still need to put a fence around our entire property – not a small project at all – but I have a new friend in the area who is enthusiastic about doing this as a team effort. If she has anything to say about it, I’ll have a fence up before you know it, lol!
I still have several weeks before anything will be hatching, and then it will be at least two more weeks before I’d think of transferring them outside – so about 5.5 weeks until I need to have everything in place. So while it doesn’t feel very urgent, time has a way of going very, very fast, particularly when you’re busy with lots of other things (which I am). I know that if I don’t think about this now, there’s no way we’ll be ready to deal with everything later on.
Wasn’t that a great find?