Ducks and duck eggs.

Pretty blue and white rouen duck eggs.

I have chickens that lay eggs. We’ve been eating and selling our eggs for many years now. But let me tell you about another egg that is overlooked, and underrated. The duck egg. Yes, you can eat duck eggs (I often get asked that) and they are not just for baking, though they do well in baked goods because they retain moisture better than chicken eggs. They are delicious and nutritious on their own. They have the same nutritional value as chicken eggs but because they are larger, they have more of the good things. Duck eggs are high in vitamin B12, and vitamin A, an excellent source of protein, riboflavin, iron and phosphorus, they provide us with thiamine, niacin, folate, zinc and calcium.

Scrambled duck eggs for breakfast

The flavour is richer and creamer than a chicken egg. Though you may not notice this, depending on how you cook them. To me they are richer tasting when scrambled as opposed to being cooked sunny side up. The yolks are larger and the shells thicker. Sometimes I have a problem with my chickens eating their eggs, but as far as I’m aware, I have not lost a single duck egg to them eating it because the shells are far too hard for them to crack.

I was on the fence a long time about raising ducks. Honestly I couldn’t see the purpose. I didn’t think they would offer anything I couldn’t get from a chicken. But when I finally went ahead and got some, I can say I’m glad I did because I really appreciate and value their presence on the farm. I have Rouen ducks which are considered a dual-purpose breed (egg and meat). They look similar to mallards and the males are non-aggressive. The Rouens don’t require water for mating (some breeds do) so if you have just a small pond or pool like we do, it is sufficient for them. As meat or as eggs, they provide interesting variety at the table. In the farm yard, they are a source of entertainment. If you’ve ever seen a duck in water, you know what I mean. I house them with my chickens and they do not require anything special apart from a nesting box on the floor, as they don’t roost and can’t jump up to the chickens’ nesting boxes.

If you are also on the fence about getting ducks, you have to make your decision based on what is right for your family and your farm. They have been a wonderful addition to ours!

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday blog hop hosted by GNOWFGLINS, Culinary Bliss and A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

And Fight Back Friday at Foodrenegade.

First duck egg!!!

Pretty huh? First duck egg on our homestead!

One of these things just doesn’t belong here. One of these things are kind of the same… 😀

Thank you ducky! Whichever one you are.
I don’t know what to do with it, though. In the spring, when I have a few, I’ll incubate them.
What would you do with one duck egg?

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday blog hop, hosted by GNOWFGLINS, Culinary Bliss and A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

Incubating eggs

So I put 2 dozen eggs in the incubator last Friday. If you want a better look at my homemade incubator go here. I’ve successfully hatched eggs out of it but I find it very tricky to get the temp and humidity stable. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of confidence this time. I’d be surprised if any of them hatch, but I’m hoping. 😀

I ordered day-old chicks and turkey poults that are coming at the end of April so I was trying to time the hatch with their arrival so I can put them all together. That’s why I’m incubating now. If I had a broody hen, I’d rather let nature do it. Once a hen goes broody, I may get her setting too.

I took this picture this morning. The ducks and chickens are so happy to be outside!

One little chick

A while ago I had a couple hens that went broody so I decided to let one of them sit on a clutch of eggs. I’ve never actually done this before. One year I had a hen hatch some eggs but that was an accident. She disappeared one day and I found her hidden in some bushes on a nest of eggs.

Anyway, I decided on a spot to seclude her from the rest of the flock, tucked 9 eggs under her and let her be. It was around 15 days or so that I risked putting my hand under her to see the eggs. (She pecks HARD!) I see that there aren’t 9 eggs anymore but only 7. She ate 2 of her eggs. 😦 I didn’t think the rest would hatch because they had gotten egg yolk and white on them, but decided I’d wait and see.

On the morning of the 21st day I see a chick under the hen, but it’s not moving. 😦 Later that day I look again and low and behold there’s another chick hatched! And it’s alive! 🙂  so exciting!

I left the other eggs under her for another 3 days but looks like there’s only one little chick. I can’t tell if it’s a poult or cockerel. We’ll have to wait to see.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday hosted by GNOWFGLINS, A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa, Sustainable Eats, and Culinary Bliss.

Back in business

New sign

New sign

I’ve got eggs for sale again!  The chicks I got this spring are now laying very well.  I took down the old worn out sign and hung up this new one.

eggsEggs are $2 a dozen.  Come by call or by chance.  Please bring empty egg cartons when you come.

🙂

First egg

eggs1

I got my first egg from the chicks I got back in May!  Generally, they are expected to start laying when they are 20 weeks old but these girls are just 17 weeks old.  Don’t ask me why, I was totally unprepared.  Though… that hen that squatted for me when I was in there yesterday should have been an indication.  I wasn’t sure if I saw what I saw, LOL.  The eggs from my older hens would be considered ‘jumbo’ in size.  The one I found today… definitely ‘pee wee’.  But that’s okay, because I’m so happy they have started laying.  It will be no time before I’m back in business!  (I had to turn away egg customers since my flock had gotten so small.)

Real Food Rustling

Phew! It’s been a busy week of trying new things!  The only diet restrictions my family has is with hubby and his sugar, high glycemic index intake.  I really have to give credit to my family for trying all these new things.  They did so without a complaint and even if they didn’t love it, they still ate it.  When I asked them for their opinion, they were honest yet sensitive.

Here’s a look at what real food has been rustling in my kitchen.

Chicken broth –  I’ve been processing our home-grown chickens this week so I’ve got giblets for making broth, which I’m freezing in quart sealers for using later.  After the broth is made, I’ve been giving the giblets to the dogs but I’m looking at making chicken liver pate.  What do you do with chicken livers?

Cold Grain Salads – Honestly, it never occurred to me to make salad with cold grains but cold pasta was once a foreign idea to me too (long time ago when I was a kid).  Since I’ve discovered them, I’ve been having fun trying different kinds of cold grain salads on my family.  Some are hits, some are misses and some come close.  Here’s the two I tried this past week:

Cold Rice Salad – Leftover brown basmati rice inspired me to create this cold rice salad.  I mixed in carrots, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and tossed with a simple homemade vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette was apple cider vinegar, olive oil, crushed garlic, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Final vote: 2 hits, 1 miss and 1 came close.  I’m not worried about the “miss”, he’ll come around. 😉  I voted “came close” but I’m more of a critic with my own food.

Cold Barley Salad – This is an altered version of a favorite Greek pasta salad.  I mixed barley (soaked and cooked), green peppers, tomatoes, onion, mixed beans, black olives and fresh parsley.  The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice, a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Final vote: 3 hits, 1 miss (still holding out on the “miss”).  In my opinion, one thing that could have made this salad better was some feta cheese.

Mesclun mix salad – I have lots of lettuce coming out of the garden.  I planted a mesclun mixture which makes a very eye-pleasing salad.  We’re having a tossed salad almost everyday!  I rounded out the salad with whatever I had on hand… and lots of dill! Always a HIT!

Souffle Omelette with Mushrooms – You know I have to include an egg dish when I’ve got my own hens!  This is another new recipe I tried this week.  The egg whites are beaten separately from the yolks and folded in for a very fluffy omelette.  The mushroom sauce with fresh parsley is very simple and together it was a delicious, filling and very satisfying meal!  I liked it so much I had it twice this week.

Baked Peppers with Egg and Lentils – Okay, this one might be pushing it with my family.  The ingredients aren’t foreign to us.  We’ve all had green peppers, lentils, and eggs… but together?  It was good, everyone ate it. I didn’t mind it but it was nothing to write home about and as pretty as it presents itself,  I don’t think I’ll be making this one again.

With all the new recipes I’ve been trying this week, (which is not usual for me) I have made one huge observation.  Real Foods are much more filling. 

This post is part of  Tuesday Twister hosted by GNOWFLGINS.

Critters

Never a dull moment when you have animals. 😉

turkeysLast week we had coyotes trying to get at my turkeys!  We woke up at 3 am to the sound of their ‘yipping’ just outside our bedroom window.  Luckily hubby chased them off and they haven’t been back since.

We have a mouse (or two) in the house!  They have been difficult to catch, despite our best efforts.  Finally caught one in a trap this morning!  I’m hoping Pixie learns to be a good mouser.

LucyandPixiePixie is very rambunctious!  She goes from one trouble to the next.  Climbing inside the dishwasher, hanging on the window screen, eating the dog food, chewing on cables… it’s like having a toddler in the house again!  I’m thankful when she finally falls asleep.

 

 

BuddyThe dogs have been leaving the property.  Lucy took off the other evening and was gone for a few hours.  I know if she is in ear-shot, she comes and she won’t ‘run away’ but still not acceptable.  Before a thunderstorm, Buddy took off.  He’s afraid of thunder. He was found a mile and a half away! Hence the leash.  Too nice outside for them to be in but I don’t need them wandering off again.

 

nestMy layers have access to a chicken yard.  It is full of thistle and other tall growth.  They’ve taken to laying their eggs in the tall grass.  I didn’t find where they were laying until there was a clutch of about 6 or 8 eggs.  Those ones got thrown out.  It’s interesting trying to find that spot every morning.

 

 

chickensThe meat birds are ravenous every feeding.  I guess that is the nature of the breed.  But it makes it hard to fill the troughs when they are all diving in at once.  We’re going through a lot of feed. They are just about ready to butcher.  The black ones are layers. I’ll mix them with the others when they get a little bigger.

 

 

The goats have been doing fine.  I put up a temporary fence so they have access to graze.  They don’t wander far from their pen, but the fence keeps them from things they shouldn’t get into. 😉

Deviled Eggs

I’m making deviled eggs this morning for tomorrow’s Easter meal.  We have our own farm eggs so they are fresh and can be so hard to peel! But we’ve discovered the trick to peeling them cleanly.  Before you put the eggs in the pot to boil, give them a light tap on the counter top to barely crack them.  Fill the pot to completely cover the eggs with water.  Only put enough eggs that can fit in the pot in one layer.  If the eggs are allowed to float freely in the water, this will help keep the yolk centered in the white. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 10-15 min. Don’t allow it to boil so hard the eggs rattle in the pot.  Too much bouncing around causes the eggs to leak out of the shells where it was cracked.  Cool the eggs under cold running water. Peel.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

My recipe for deviled eggs is very simple but delicious.

  • 1 dozen eggs, boiled and peeled
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion
  • 4 heaping Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of seasoned pepper

deviled_eggs2

Cut the eggs in half.  Remove yolk to a bowl. Set whites on a plate, cut side up. Mash the yolks with a fork and mix in other ingredients.  Spoon mixture into egg white half.  Or you can pipe it in, for a fancier look.  Sprinkle with paprika.

Happy Easter, everyone! 😀