Dr. B’s Dew Duck Inn! No Vacancy!
This is an exciting time in our backyard! We have three Wood Duck boxes, two that are placed on posts in the water and the other sits on our dock. I purchased the new duck box house and prepped it with fresh shavings last year because our other one rotted and fell apart. The neighbor across our canal had intentions of adding a boat house this year. I was going to ask the dock builders to sink a post to install the new duck box. That hasn’t happened yet. After our rescued duck was released I checked the duck box and observed downy feathers lining the box! A few days later while enjoying our view, we noticed two eggs on the dock! So we walked on to the dock to inspect and as we went to pick up the eggs, out flew momma duck! So we gently opened the side door and placed the eggs on the nest with about a dozen other eggs. The duck box is just setting on the dock, not secured and the opening was not facing the water. I wanted to turn the nest box so the opening was over the water and of course secure it. No, I did not use duck tape, but a couple of bungee cords to safely, gently secure the box. We have been watching momma enter and exit the box morning and evening to keep her brood safe. Incubation is 28-32 days, T-minus 15 days. Waiting for jump day!
One Degree of Change #19: Eat Local Free Range Eggs.
Of course, I am referring to chicken eggs. Eggs are quite possibly the world’s perfect protein source. The six grams of protein in each has the highest biological value — a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs — of any food, including beef. The yolk itself contains Vitamin B12, deficiencies of which can cause attention, mood and thinking problems.
Are these the kind of eggs you eat?
Depending on where you’re getting your eggs, though, you could be getting a lot more than you bargained for in that egg carton. Here’s an example of what you might get:
- Arsenic, added to feed to promote growth in hens (linked to various forms of cancer)
- An extra dose of antibiotics which is also used to promote growth (linked to antibiotic resistance & obesity in people).
- A heaping helping of salmonella. Hens confined to cages had 7.77-times greater odds of harboring salmonella bacteria than eggs from non-caged hens. (2010 study published in the journal Veterinary Record)
- Feed for the hens may also include pesticides, animal byproducts and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
And guess what? There is no independent third party that certifies egg producers as “cage free” so you have to take their word for it. Once again, obtaining locally sourced free range eggs is a must and a plus. The taste of a fresh egg is so rich. The yolk is so yellow it is almost orange. And the benefits health wise are endless. If you are within my locale, try local feed stores, farmer’s markets and Lake Meadow Naturals. If you are outside of our area go to Eat Wild, you can type in your place of residence and find local eggs and more!
If you can’t find a local source, create your own. One of our friends, Janet, always wanted chickens. She has made her dream come true. She also realized the health benefits of eating locally sourced foods. She researched how to build a coop, utilized recycled wood, repurposed an old hot tub base and built it herself! She purchased chicks (she recommends to spend the extra $$ to ensure you are buying pullets) that were a month old. Within five months she had her first eggs! She has three chickens named Kaleesi, Doodle and Noodle. She said they are easier to take care of than a dog. She feeds them table scraps and they roam around the backyard eating insects. At night they march into their
nesting boxes to sleep and prepare for their daily chore of laying their eggs. Janet warns that it is extremely important to be certain that the coop is locked for the night. Dogs, raccoons and predator birds love to invade and partake of your egg source. Also chickens are clever. They can open locks, so several locking mechanisms maybe necessary to secure your prized chickens. The chickens are part of Janet’s social life too. When entertaining guests in their backyard, the chickens take part in the festivities. How cool is that!
If you want to make your own coop, do your homework. The internet has DIY plans or you can purchase pre-made coops from local feed stores and sometimes farmer’s markets. Make sure when you purchase your chicks that they are pullets. No one wants a noisy rooster as a neighbor. And be certain the type of chicken you purchase is hardy for your locale.
Purchasing free range eggs from a local source also supports the local farmers who are doing the right thing for the environment and for the quality of the food they produce. Don’t pay the big box producers rent! Or better yet, be the landlord and accept only eggs for the rent!