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Family Homesteading Advocate
Simple Living for the Urban and Rural Homesteader

Raising Small Livestock  page 2

Raising Small Livestock page 1

New! Duck Raising Tips - Sent in by our readers
The Trials & Triumphs of Farm Life - By contributing editor, Bea Frankland. She has raised goats for 20 years.
Beekeeping - Some resources and info

The following are Duck Raising Tips that were sent in by our readers. If you have a tip you would like to add please click here to send.

Ducks are a valuable source for keeping pests down.   Even better than chickens.  Where a chicken won't go into a pond and scoop up thousands of mosquito eggs at a time or even fly eggs, the ducks will.
Rev. Dr.D.Boldeux, Oklahoma

Find an old wading pool that still holds water.  Just fill it to the top and place it where the ducks can get into it easily.  Just make sure that if the babies get in, they have something to climb onto to get back out.  The edges of most wading pools are too slick for ducklings to get a hold on, and they will eventually get tired and drown if they can't get back out.  Of course, the pool will have to be cleaned out and refilled at least once a week, ducks are not the cleanest creatures.
Shelby Denter, Brant, Michigan

Right now we have 4 ducks and 1 goose (the goose thinks she is a duck) We have a swamp down the hill from our house but, the ducks are too lazy to go down there. We have a child size pool set up in our back yard for them to swim inside of. Our ducks range in age from 4 years old to the youngest born in June. All of them run free in the yard with the other animals.

We started them off in a small fenced in area and when they got comfortable with where they were we started to let them free in the day time. After about a month of working with them they were allowed to run free. We did this so they would know were they lived and come back home.

I found ducks are not good adopted mothers. I started off my baby ducks with my chickens and then moved them over with the ducks and goose when they were old enough to fight for themselves. (about 1 month old) My ducks are wonderful pets, they are all females and only lay eggs for about 2 months of the year.

We live on a small dead end street and they sometimes wander into the front of our yard to play or eat bird seeds. When they do this they stay close to the house and cars will drive by and stop and look.
With my ducks I found they do not like to be confined. They LOVE to run free. When I make them stay in an area (no matter what size it is) they start making a pecking order and breaking the skin of each other. Now that they are free I have not seen them fight nor have I found any pecking order spots on them.
Liz Harrison, New Hampshire

We raise ducks, chickens and goats.  The ducks and chickens share an aviary my dh built out of used and found building materials.  Both the ducks and chickens eat laying mash and cracked corn.  We also put out oyster shell for them.  The ducks love our goat milk.  They could be a "Got milk?" commercial.  LOL

The ducks have a wading pool.  I'd like to come up with something a bit deeper and with a plug to release the water.  We change the water daily.

I found that ducks stick to their own "group".  The first set of ducks (seven) are Swedish blue, Pekin and Rouen.  The second group came from a kindergarten incubator project.  We had given the class twelve duck eggs and eighteen chicken eggs.  We also agreed to take the chicks and ducklings after they'd hatched and the children had a chance to enjoy them.  Six ducklings and one chick hatched.  There is one Pekin and one that looks Rouen.  The others are part Pekin and part Swedish Blue or Rouen.

We did butcher two of the original Swedish blues -- too many drakes.  I wouldn't suggest it to any one simply because there was not much meat on these small birds.  The usual "meat" duck is the Pekin.

I sell our duck eggs to a lady who is allergic to the protein in chicken eggs.  I sell our chicken eggs to people who find out about us and request them.  Duck eggs go for $3 a dozen and chicken eggs for $2.50.

We enjoy our aviary.  It is relaxing and the birds are fun.
Sharon G., Southern California

P.S. About the wading pools...ours just broke down.  I went to Toys R Us and purchased three for $2.98 each.  That should stock us up for a while.

I read your great tips, but just thought I'd point this out to prevent others from making my mistakes. I had chickens and ducks together, but I've separated them because chickens drown. If you have a pool for the ducks, make sure the chickens can easily get out of it, because they do not know what to do in water at all! Also, ducks can make chickens sick because they carry bacteria that they are immune to, but chickens aren't.
Cheryl, Northern CA

I have three domestic mallards.
I had a wading pool that I used for their water supply but I had to dump it out every day because they got it so dirty. I needed some thing bigger so I took an old satellite dish and super glued bolts in all the small holes. I plugged up the bottom hole with a drain plug. Then I dug a hole to put it in. Now they only swim once in the morning and once in the evening. I syphon it out once a week with a hose. 
Michelle Tenney Spring Creek N.V. 

If you have a tip you would like to add please click here to send.


The Trials & Triumphs of Farm Life -by Bea Frankland

Bea with one of her babies 
     I had just returned from a 2 mile hike with my dozen goats. We had taken the mountain trail that starts just beyond our front door and we had walked to the top where the old skid road meets the county road. Thus we had leisurely wound our way back home. Included in our motley crew were my huge Saanen buck, three milking does, various wether's, a doeling and finally my Angora mama with her twin boys.
     One week later, my matriarch mama goat
was dead. I miss her dearly. Farm animals,
especially goats, I think, can take you on a
roller coaster ride of heavenly highs and abysmal lows. When one of them is sick you
try everything to help them. You become doctor, nurse, comforter, friend and healer. And you learn. Oh, how you learn! You learn patience. You learn midwifery. You learn herbs. And you learn to find
trust, joy, love, patience, friendship...and letting go.....
* * * * * * * * *
     In future articles, I will relate certain episodes, various cures and innumerable stories of my homestead living.  After 20 years, I am still enthralled. Two decades have only served to bring me to the brink of this wide, wonderful world of God's

Bea doing her daily chores
creature's, nature's herbal remedies, and the sweet interaction of caprines with humans, animals and gardens, sickness and healings, giving and receiving.
      Everything is circular. The goats give us milk, meat and manure. The manure is taken to the garden.  We receive fruit and vegetables

Bea, Korey 11, K.C., 
Timothee 6
from the garden and the goats enjoy its over abundance. They then, in turn,reward us with more nanny berries for the garden.  To everything turn...turn...turn. I give. I receive. Though, honestly, I truly believe I have received more from my garden, my goats and my farm critters than I have ever been able to put into them. Nothing can match the joy and the satisfaction of a milk goat that supplies your family's needs. And from that milk can come cream, butter, cheese and cheese cake. I shall leave you with this easy recipe for a simple
homemade cheesecake.  If you don't have a goat (yet!) you can jump right in with store bought cow's milk. Even the crust is convenient. Here goes. Bye-Baaa for now!
©2001 Bea Frankland - Bea has 4 children and her family lives and farms high on a mountaintop in Southern Oregon. Her farm consists of several breeds of goats, including a buck, sheep, geese, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, cats and dogs. She farms and lives without the convenience of electricity!

Emma, 14 & Timothee Frankland

Click on link to read Bea's other article, Gentle, Loving Goat Care.

Although bees aren't exactly livestock, we would like to include them here as they do require attention, care and feeding just like other animals. Stay tuned for more bee raising info including honey recipes!

We are collecting Beekeeping stories, tips, and favorite beekeeping supply companys that you have personally purchased from that we can share with others on this page.
If you have something to share just click here!

Beekeeping: The Beekeeper's Home Pages
This is THE Beekeeping site to end ALL Beekeeping sites! This guy has done lots of homework putting his site together. Everything you need to know about beekeeping and if you can't find what you need to know on his 32 web pages, he has links to over 700 other beekeeping web sites!!!  If you are new to beekeeping, check out his Beeginning Beekeeping Page! There is also Beekeeper's Joke's, Beekeeper's Photographs,  Beekeeping News, even Computer Software for Beekeepers and more. If you like bees you need to see this website!

Beekeeping info link:
Cornell University related web site; has a new Master Beekeeper program for learing how to be just that, a master at the art of keeping bees.  Also, links to honey recipes, beekeeping tips and articles.

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