Notes from Windward: #69


An Incubation Update

reworking the warmerator


the old ducks watch the new ducks
enjoying "their" pond

     Each batch of chickens and ducks has taught me something new. Some of these lessons have been difficult and some enjoyable.

     We now have 12 ducklings housed in the Duck Palace adding nutrients to the duck-ponics system and our main garden. The four adult ducks have been moved out and are roaming the land working for their supper. They have access to fresh water, a nesting box, and get some supplemental feed.

[Walt: The four older ducks seem rather bummed out over having to turn over their private pond to this year's hatchlings. It's necessary though in order for the young ducks to get established in the pen before we allow the older ducks back in. Ducks are highly dominant and the males will gang up and beat up on weaker ducks. After a few weeks, we'll merge the two groups, but by then this year's ducks will at month older and they'll have the home turf advantage.]

a Rhode Island Red chick explores the brooder

     We have nearly doubled our Rhode Island Red population. There are 29 RIR chicks, some still housed in one of our battery brooders, some in the chick plex and one clutch in a box brooder that I assembled from a sheet of plywood several weeks ago.

the outdoor brooder

     The Warmerator has been reorganized several times. When one of the first clutches of Rhode Island Red chicks managed to drown in the water bath, I modified a window screen to prevent the chicks from falling through the shelf.

the new warmerator setup

     The next chick to hatch managed to climb out onto the door shelf, squeeze through and get to the bottom metal shelf, get chilled and die. That caused another revision to the Warmerator. I moved the water tray up and the hatching eggs down. I also added wood chips to the bottom to keep the birds warm if they manage to get down there.

the latest warmerator setup

     A few days ago, the most recent clutch of RIRs hatched and some of them managed to get down to the bottom area, but the wood chip insulation kept them from getting chilled.

one of the chicks saved by the new arrangment

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69