This winter so far has been the worst it has been, as long as I can remember, in our area for snow and cold. With the mild temperatures of southern B.C., we rarely see snow. When we do have it, it stays for 2 days, everyone comments how pretty it is and the schools close and everyone goes tobogganing… and then it melts away. We all sigh and say how wonderful it was, and how picturesque, and carry on with our normal lives in the cold and rain. That’s the norm.
This year however, has been completely different. We have had a ton of snow… and the snow has stayed. And just won’t leave. Our mild temperatures are currently sitting at about zero celcius, to a couple of degrees warmer or colder… and so it’s staying. Add this to windy winter storms with power outages, and suddenly, you have horrible conditions for raising baby ducklings.
Of course, only an idiot would attempt raising ducks in the winter I have concluded. Real farmers know better, clearly which I am not. They probably know that if you have a power outage, the last thing you want to be doing is carting boxes of upset ducklings up from the barn so they can hang out in the house with you, quacking even more loudly in protest. They probably also know that starting up a generator only so you can feed the electrical cord through the window to plug your incubator and heat lamps to, by candle light, is also ridiculous.
Of course, you would never know all this was a crazy idea – raising ducklings in the winter – unless you tried it. And I know it’s all my fault – I just look at a laid egg and I see potential – the potential to hatch out something amazing. Watching the ducklings grow and develop right before your eyes! I mean, how can you not love ducklings?
Of course, the novelty of carting a box of ducks back and forth to the barn wears thin, especially when the power comes back on, and then turns off again an hour later and the whole process starts again. And the fishing the power cord back through the window, and unplugging and plugging in the incubator, sealing the window, putting more paper down for the ducks and so on… never mind figuring out what’s for dinner. When will winter finish?
I will say, we are getting the hang of it. I’m not saying I’m liking it, but we are getting the hang of it! Will we do this again next winter? Absolutely not… no way. Well maybe… if the weather’s better…. because who can resist ducklings? They’re so fluffy!
Good luck and Happy farming!