Friday, June 22, 2012

Duckling and Chick Update

    I tried to do a formal head count and cleared out the unhatched eggs from the nest box.  I only found one unhatched duck egg and one unhatched chicken egg, both of which appeared to have not been fertilized.  At least I opened them and found no developing chick or duckling inside. I was unable to count the little ones as they either hide under mom or scramble around. I am assuming we have seven ducklings as I had originally put 8 duck eggs under the hen.  I'm not sure whether there were two or three chicken eggs added to the mix so we have either one or two chicks.  I've only seen one chick at a time so I don't know for sure. The mother hen, now formally christened Aiglentine, certainly has some grit.  She stuck it out for three additional days to make sure all of the viable eggs could hatch. I added a wooden ramp so the little ones can get into and out of the nest box more easily.  It appears they are doing that as there was dirt and bits of chick starter in the water I had given them.  It is very important to use non-medicated chick starter with ducklings. They eat more than the baby chicks and can overdose on the medication.  Besides, ducks are susceptible to only a small percentage of the diseases that affect chickens so they don't really need the medications.

     As I was feeding the chickens and collecting eggs I discovered that I have yet another hen wanting to go broody on me.  She pecked at me and drew blood when I collected the eggs this morning. If I let her have her way we will be eating a lot of chicken this fall.

     I made biscuits this morning using my favorite recipe thus far.  They turned out nicely and I took advantage of our company to make Nancy Sweet serve as a biscuit guinea pig. I already had to heat up the oven so I could bake short cake for tomorrow night.   Short cake is really just a sweet biscuit so I baked them together, 12 minutes at 425 degrees.  I used Short Cake Recipe II on page 83 of my favorite retro cook book, the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook.  The ingredients are 2 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder,  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/3 cup butter.  I mixed the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, added the milk, rolled them out on a floured board, and cut them into heart shapes.  I did modify the recipe a little in that I substituted buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of baking soda rather than the milk and baking powder.  I'd rather not have the extraneous aluminum phosphate and corn starch that comes from baking powder in my baked goods.
Freshly baked short cake

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