Raising Ducks as Pets

raising ducks country parent

 

It all started a few years ago when my son decided to take on a waterfowl project for 4-H. We were familiar with raising chickens, but we didn’t have any experience with raising ducks.

So in this post I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the years in case you ever interested in raising ducks of your own, whether it’s for 4-H purposes or simply to have as pets.

 

The best beginner ducks

In my experience, Pekin ducks and Khaki Campbell ducks are the best beginner ducks. 
Pekin ducks are beautiful large ducks,  avid eaters, and quite the entertainers. They are homebodies, they like staying near the house, feeding all day and love taking naps.

duck pekin 2

The male often spends hours socializing with the ‘other’ duck during mating season.

duck pekin 4

 

Khaki Campbells are another suitable breed for beginners. Unlike the Pekins, they are more adventurous and might wonder around your property, especially during mating season. However, they do come back when called, if trained earlier on as ducklings. They are also easy to handle and make wonderful show ducks for 4-H.

ducks free range

 

Suitable housing

If you decide to start off with hatchlings in late spring, then you can keep the little ones inside the house for the first couple of week, in a large container lined with wood shavings. Provide them with heat by attaching a red lamp about 20″ above the base and include a small waterer and a feeder containing starter feed. The starter feed contains more nutrients then the regular pellet feed, which they will be consuming a few weeks later. Be sure to keep their container clean and give them fresh water daily.

The ducklings will eventually need to be housed in a larger space. A small shed (or duck coop) with a fenced-in enclosure works best. Be sure to add a fence above the enclosure and preferably under as well, to prevent predators from climbing in, or from digging their way in from underneath. Place wood shavings or hay at the bottom of the shed for added warmth and comfort.
Ducks love water, so if they do not have access to a pond or creek, include a water source in their fenced area, such as a small baby pool (or large shallow container). Keep in mind, that ducks are very messy! So change their water daily in order to keep it clean. Also, as ducklings, they won’t be able to climb in and out of the pool with ease. Adding a wooden ramp and a few rocks inside the pool provides them easy access in and out of the water.

duck pool 1

ducklings 2

ducklings 1

 

Get to know your ducks

Ducks are very entertaining and just like any other pet they each have their own personality. So get know them by interacting with them and handling them often. One way to do this is to hand feed them daily, which is the perfect way to develop a trusting relationship.
Side note: avoid leaving food in coop or in the enclosure as this will surely attract rodents and predators.
Our ducks are free range, they forage most of the day in the back yard. However, we do feed them every morning and give them treats whenever possible.

ducklings watermelon 1

 

Practice your duck call

Yes, it sounds silly, but it works (especially if they like to wonder around). To train them, simply quack whenever they are at a distance and have some food on hand to give them when they come back. That way they know that whenever they are called and come back to the house, they will be greeted with some food or treats.

Springtime and mating

If you have ducks and drakes, then chances are they will mate in the springtime. In my experience, Khaki Campbells are great settlers and are very caring towards their young.
Meet ‘Pow’ (yup, the kids named her) our resilient Khaki Campbell! She raised her sibling’s 4 ducklings following an unfortunate racoon attack, then later she had 12 ducklings of her own!

ducklings 4

ducks free range 6

duck pile 3 copy

 

What happens in the wintertime?

Winter, cold weather, no problem. Ducks are winter hardy and can tolerate being inside or outside even in cold weather. You can use a red heat lamp inside the coop at nighttime if the temperature drops to -15 degrees, or insulate the coop for additional heat retention during harsh winter days.

duck winter 1

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duck winter tracks

 

Will they fly away?

We never had any of our ducks fly away. They are capable of flying and could fly over a fence of 4 feet or so for example, but they do not fly long distances. Other types of ducks like the smaller call ducks could however fly away, in which case you could keep them in a fenced-in yard or you could clip their wings. However, make sure you have this done by a an experienced duck farmer, do not attempt to do this yourself!
Side note: If you will be using your ducks in 4-H competitions, best to find out what your club’s rules are regarding wing clipping and 4-H Day waterfowl presentations.

duck winter 4

 

Fun for the whole family

We definitely have enjoyed having ducks in our back yard for the last few years. They do make wonderful and very entertaining pets.
So, if you are thinking of getting ducks as pets, then I hope this post encourages you to take the leap.

Reg.

                duck pekin 1   

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Easter Bunny Brownies

easter bunny brownies

Looking ahead to Easter, I’m sharing this simple dessert idea your kids will love.
It’s cute and can be used to top off any brownie recipe of your choice.

Ingredients

A basic chocolate brownie cake or regular cake recipe (or click here for one of my recipes).
12 pretzel chips
A tube of white icing (for the bunny face)
Dark chocolate sprinkles (for the whiskers)
Round dark and white chocolate sprinkles (for the eyes and nose)

easter bunny brownies 5

Instructions

Prepare chocolate brownie mixture
Pour cake mixture into a 9″ by 11″ rectangular pan
Place the pretzels on top of the cake mixture an inch a part
Bake the cake as usual
Remove cake from oven and let cool completely
Fill in each pretzel with the icing to form the bunny faces
Add sprinkles for the eyes, whiskers & nose
Cut between each bunny to make individual squares

Enjoy!

Reg.

easter bunny brownies 1
easter bunny brownies 2
easter bunny brownies 4

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Caribbean Pasta Salad

caribbean pasta salad

Looking ahead to Spring and BBQ season, this Caribbean salad goes perfectly alongside any meat or fish dish.
A simple pasta salad with a lovely sweet-and-tangy taste.
Try it, I’m sure you’ll like it too.

Ingredients

1 lb rotini pasta
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 sliced black olives
1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tsp salt

Instructions

Cook pasta until al dente
Meanwhile prepare the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise and condensed milk together
Stir in the remaining ingredients
Rinse cooked pasta under cold water and drain well
Place pasta in a salad bowl and pour dressing over top
Mix well and chill for 1 hour before serving

Enjoy!

Reg.

caribbean pasta salad 2
caribbean pasta salad 1

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Snowman Wall of Fame 2019

snowman contest 2019

Here are the latest snowmen to enter the 3rd annual Snowman Contest 2019.

Her name is “Daisy May” and she was made by the children at Childrens Place Learning Centre (in Antigonish). She is 100% hand made by paper mache. 
His name is Frosty and he is waiting for some spring flowers to pop up. Submitted by the Macfarlane family (Antigonish).
Spring Snowbunny submitted by Darlene Van Oirschot.
Spring ball cap snowman submitted by the Vaughn family.
Snowmen family submitted by the Corkum family (St. Andrews). This is their ‘Snow Family Goes to the Beach to Look for Treasures’. “They are on the sand with their little son who also likes to dab! Sun protection is also important! Beach combing in the spring is something we like to do as a family to see what the ocean has tossed up after the winter”.
‘Building a snowman on a spring-like day’ submitted by the Bell family.
Irish snowman submitted by Catherine Sorrey
Ronald and Finlay enjoying their #readyforspringtocome snowman!
Shawnn and Flynn with their sweet Spring snowmen cookies!
Kennedy and Hallie Rose with their sweet Spring snowmen treats!
St. Peters’ Richmond Villa residents along with recreational director Karen Budden, recreation worker Martha and volunteer Paula, created these wonderful spring snowmen for the contest – “The residents had such an awesome afternoon with this project, which are currently displayed in the great Room for everyone to see.”
Bria sharing her sunglasses with her spring snowman.
“A Springy Birthday” by Lilien Gilham
“Spring friends” by Franky Gilham
Wood Ridge Spring Blossom snowman submitted by Johnny MacIsaac

Antigonish Winter Activities & March Break Activities 2019

Antigonish winter activities and march break camps 2019 a

Looking ahead to March break and other fun winter activities, here’s a compiled list of what’s happening in the Antigonish area so far.

Andrews Hockey March break camp. If your kids are into hockey check out this program. This is considered a growth camp focusing on forward specific, defense specific, skating, puck skills and scoring skills for children born 2006-2011.
And they also offer a Goaltending March break camp where each goalie receives exclusive goalie ice time! For more information click here.

X-Chem Outreach has partnered with WISE Atlantic (Women in Science & Engineering) to host a Girls Science Retreat for girls in Grades 7-10. The girls will explore hands-on STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), as well as sessions with local female role models working or studying in STEM fields (ex: paramedic, chemical engineer, math professor, plus more). How cool is that!
The cost of the retreat is only $10 and includes pizza for lunch.  For more information and to register click here.

X-chem wise science retreat

Also by X-Chem, check out the Saturday STEM workshops on March 9th from 10am-12pm.  There will be a STEM activities workshop for Ages 5-8, as well as a Codemakers workshop for Ages 9-13 with our friends from the Department of Math and Computer Science.  See the attached flyer and visit http://www2.mystfx.ca/chemistry/x-chem-outreach/about to register online.

The Arts House full-day camps feature Dr. Seuss’ crafts, up-cycling projects, sticker making, sock monkeys & monsters, and much more. For more information and to register click here.

March break camps Antigonish 2019

Other fun activities offered this winter…

Paint Maud Lewis’ house! Children can decorate a cardboard version of Maud’s house at the Antigonish & County Library. For more information click here.

march break activities 2019 antigonish 1

Kids can join the Minecraft Club, also offered at the Antigonish & County Library. For more information click here.

march break activities 2019 antigonish 2

Try ice fishing on Gillis Lake! Enjoy the Antigonish Free Family Fishing Derby 2019 scheduled for February 16.

family fishing derby 2019 Antigonish Gillis lake

Attend the Keppoch Winter Fun Day 2019 scheduled for Sunday March 3, 10:00am-4:00pm. This year’s theme is ‘Winter Wonderland’.

keppoch fun day 2019 winter playground antigonish

Enjoy free swims and free skating on the weekends:

free swim skate 2019 antigonish

And free gym play time on Sundays:

free open gym 2019 antiognish

Take advantage of the Town and County’s equipment loan program to stay active:

equipment loan antigonish 2019

Looking for more local activities?

Check out the local Winter programs HERE, Year-round programs HERE and other fun activities HERE.

And there’s still time to enter the 3rd Annual Snowman Contest. Click HERE for details.

snowman contest 2019 country parent Antigonish

Most recent add-ins:

For more details, see the ‘Activity Details’ pages at the end of this post.

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Homemade Granola Bars

homemade granola bars

What do you do when you have a bunch of close-to-expiry-date grains, nuts and dried fruit?
Chewy granola bars!

Here’s my recipe (no baking required)

🌼 Ingredients

•1 cup rolled oats
•1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
•1/4 cup raisins •1/4 cup dried cranberries
•1/4 cup slithered almonds
•2 tbsp sunflower seeds
•1 tbsp sesame seeds
•3/4 honey
•1 tsp vegetable oil

🌼 Instructions:

•Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl
•Mix honey and oil together
•Pour honey and oil mixture to the dry ingredients
•Mix well until blended nicely
•Add mixture in a pan lined with parchment paper
•Press down firmly
•Refrigerate overnight
•Cut the granola bars into desired shape (side note: since these are not baked you’ll have to store them in the fridge to maintain their shape)

🌼 Enjoy!

Reg.

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homemade Granola bars

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2019

Valentine’s Day is only just a couple weeks away! Are you looking to buy something special for your loved ones?

Here are some local gift ideas to get you started:

These pretty earrings are known as Ulus and are made by Shelley MacDonald, a silversmith that just so happened to grow up right here in Antigonish County! These beauties have also been worn by Kate Middleton. How cool is that?! So lovely. Starting at $68
The Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts · 200 Main St. Antigonish NS · 902.863.HOME
These HARLOW ROLL ON + RELAX oil blends smell so good! DREAMING contains French Lavender, Sweet Orange and Bergamot which is so nice and relaxing at bedtime or anytime! SOOTHING contains Peppermint, Spearmint and Eucalyptus and smells so fresh and energizing! $26
The Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts · 200 Main St. Antigonish NS · 902.863.HOME
Flower arrangements are always a thoughtful gift for any loved one.
From a simple bouquet of roses to mixed floral arrangement Elm Gardens offers a great selection to choose from.
Elm Gardens · 25A East Main St. Antigonish NS · 902.863.3492
Why not get your special someone a Thirty-One Gifts gift certificate?
Contact Andrea Smith, Independant Consultant at Thirty-One Gifts (902)371-1282
Or choose from a variety of fun totes and organizational storage solutions. Starting at $12
Browse and shop Andreas website here or Join her Facebook group at Bags to Bling & Everything In Between.
These lovely scented heart shaped soap made with pink grapefruit essential oil. They smell delicious and the colours are gorgeous!
Swinkels Bee Products · shop@swinkelsbeeproducts.ca · 902.863.5791
For the outdoors man and outdoors woman in your life, a Leaves & Limbs gift card is always a great idea! Available in any denomination.
Leaves & Limbs Sports · 4167 Highway 104, South River, Antigonish, NS · 902.735.3800

How about Valentine’s Day themed gift ideas for your pets and pet owners? Take a look at these Proud to be a Rescue Parent mugs for dog lovers and this adorable wide dog collar with hearts. Heart shaped small animal treats , ‘I love ponies’ socks, pink cat teaser toys and Darford heart shaped dog treats. $4.99-$26.99
One Stop Pet Shop · 3063 Post Road Antigonish NS · 902.863.1215
FAST 2019 Antigonish Theatre
Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre is back this year with the theme “Dream Big”! A Main Stage pass is a great gift for the theatre lover. Starting as low as $80 (plus HST), this is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
Available at the Bauer Theatre during regular business hours. Call (902) 867-3954 or email boxoffice@festivalantigonish.com to place your order.
Nova Scotia Summerfest Antigonish 2019
For the music lovers in your life, take advantage of the Early Bird Weekend Passes for the Nova Scotia Summer Fest 2019 taking place in Antigonish this summer! Enjoy performances by Alan Doyle, Anna Ludlow, Cassie and Maggie, and Christine Campbell, Classified and many more. $70
Tickets can be purchased on the NS Summer Fest website.

Reg.

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Valentine’s Day Marble Heart Sugar Cookies

Valentine's Day marble heart cookies

These colourful marble heart sugar cookies are easy to make and perfect for Valentine’s Day.

All you will need are sugar cookie dough and red food colouring.

Prepare your sugar cookie dough as usual and roll it out.
Then add a few red drops of food colouring on it.

Round up the dough to form a ball. Then roll it our again

Isn’t it pretty?
Proceed by cutting out the hearts with cookie cutters, then bake the cookies as usual.

And a few minutes later… tada!

Beautiful marble Valentine’s Day sugar cookies the whole family will enjoy.

Reg.

Marble heart cookie pin

You might also like:

Chocolate Filled Puff Pastry Hearts

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Using the same technique, you can make colourful marble patterned sugar cookies with other themes in mind like…

Marble Easter Sugar Cookies

For these cute Easter themed cookies use a few drops of red and blue food colouring. Knead gently, roll out the dough and make desired shapes using cookie cutters.

marble easter sugar cookies 5
marble easter egg chick bunny i
marble easter egg chick bunny h
marble easter sugar cookies 9
marble easter eggs sugar cookies
marble easter sugar cookies 1

If your little ones are into Jurassic World, try making these:

Camouflage dinosaur sugar cookies

For this camouflage pattern use red, green, blue and yellow food colouring. The key is to not overwork the dough once you add the drops of colour, otherwise you will end up with an overall khaki colour instead of marble-like motif.

marble dinosaurs camo 2
marble dinosaurs camo 13
marble dinosaurs camo 10
marble dinosaurs camo 9
marble dinosaurs camo 3

Or try making these Christmas trees with green, blue and red food colouring:

marble christmas trees a

Chocolate Filled Puff Pastry Hearts

valentine puff pastry chocolate filled heart copy

Frozen puff pastry is such an inexpensive and practical hack that can be used to make quite impressive desserts. I love how these chocolate filled heart pastries turned out. They are delicious and super easy to make. Try making them for Valentine’s Day. Here’s what you will need…

Ingredients:

1 box of puff pastry

1 cup chocolate spread

heart-shaped cookie cutter

icing sugar (optional)

PC butter puff pastry crunchy chocolate hazelnut spread

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Thaw puff pastry according to package directions

Unwrap one of the pastry sheet on a flat surface, but keep the parchment paper beneath it

Spread the chocolate spread evenly onto the sheet

Unroll the second sheet, remove it from the parchment paper and place it over the chocolate

Use the cookie cutters to cut out the hearts

Remove the excess pastry surrounding the heart cutouts

Gently transfer parchment paper with heart cutouts on a cookie sheet

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden

Cool completely

Sprinkle with icing sugar

valentine puff pastry chocolate filled heart 7
valentine puff pastry chocolate filled heart 6
valentine puff pastry chocolate filled heart 8

Enjoy!
Reg

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Chocolate filled puff pastry hearts pin

Chocolate Covered Football Chips

Chocolate covered potato chips are such a delight and easy to make.  If you are a football fan, then this is a great little treat for football nights and any Super Bowl party.

The Lay’s Poppables chips can be conveniently turned into little footballs with a bit of milk chocolate and white icing.

Here’s how…

Ingredients:

1 bag of Lay’s Sea Salt Poppables chips

300g milk chocolate chips

1 tube of white decorating icing

Instructions:

Melt chocolate chips using a double broiler

Add the Poppables in the chocolate and mix until covered completely

Remove the chips one by one with a toothpick and line them up on a plate

Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow for the chocolate to set

Pipe white icing on top of chips to create the football laces

Enjoy!
Reg.

lays poppables 2
football chocolate covered chips 2 Lay's poppables
football chocolate covered chips 4
football chocolate covered chips 5
football chocolate covered chips 8
football chocolate covered chips 10

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