Well, the day has come… the Silver Appleyard ducks are all grown up, and our skewed sex ratio (7 males and 4 females) has started to become an issue, with groups of males ganging up on the girls. Brandon and I decided earlier this week that we needed to cull the flock, and I’ve had FEEEELINGS. I’ve been a vegetarian for… 23 years now?! Something like that. A loooong time. The reasons have changed–when I first stopped eating meat as a teen, it was because I wanted to go to vet school, and felt weird about eating some animals while healing others. I was also horrified by what I read about factory farming (and still am), but in recent years, reducing my ecofootprint has been the most important factor in my decision to forego meat.
When we decided to really start trying to produce our own food here at home, I had to give it some hard thought: a duck (or other animal) that we raise here is certainly going to have less ecological impact than a veggie burger that has ingredients grown somewhere, shipped somewhere else for processing, and then shipped to the grocery store where I buy it. But still… this is a stretch for me. I’m finding my comfort level. Brandon and our friend Tom have been processing the birds this morning–someday I may be able to help out, but that day is not today. I decided that, for myself, “success” would just be letting it happen without freaking out or calling a halt. Baby steps, but I achieved that much, and even went down to see how things were going and touched a gizzard (so weird!!). Apparently Brandon and Tom were discussing recipes with an eye toward easing a vegetarian into eating duck… we’ll see. It would be a real drag if after all of this I just didn’t like the taste!
One of the girls (we call this one Big Red) demonstrating the indoor feeding and watering barrels. I'm loving the orange drinker cups–took the ducks a few days to figure them out, but much less mess than the standard poultry waterer we were using before. Plus, much easier to keep full, since the barrel holds 55 gallons! In the winter, we'll just drop a heater into the barrel. #ducks #ducksofinstagram #silverappleyard #permaculture #permies #homestead