Appleyard broodiness and garden progress

It was an eventful week in the Appleyard universe.  The Silver Appleyards are a heritage duck that was popular in the 30’s.  Almost nobody breeds them anymore, and as such they are listed as critical by the ALBC.  They are quite large, grow fast, and are fairly regular egg layers, so good for both meat and eggs.  I bought a breeding pair last year from the Holderreads, one of the world’s most respected duck breeders, and lucky for me, within driving distance of here.  I tried to name them Bob and Alice, in typical geek fashion, but Kyle insisted on renaming the male “Bill”, which did suit I suppose.  Last year I put 4 of their eggs under a broody chicken and hatched 3 more females and 1 more male.  This winter we lost Bill to probably an owl, so Bill’s son became the new Bill.  A couple weeks ago Alice got a nice nest built up and began sitting on it, but sadly this past weekend we lost her to an owl as well.  I’ve started locking the remaining Appleyards up at night – which has been surprisingly easy.  But, Tuffy – another Appleyard female – got broody about a week after Alice, and before the Owl Incident, and is sitting on a nest so buried in the brush that we can’t get a fence around her.  Unlike a chicken, you can’t move a broody duck – so if we move her we have to accept that she won’t be hatching any eggs.  Considering the loss of Bill and Alice, we really want Tuffy to succeed, so we are going to leave her there and hope for the best.  Tuffy got her name because she was born with a non-breed-conforming tuft on the topish of her head. Ideally, we wouldn’t breed her. But, from my perspective, she appears to have a favorable trait that I’d like to keep – the desire to sit on eggs and make more ducks. So, despite her lack of conformation, we will probably save some of her young and allow them to breed next year. I guess everyone’s got their own priorities when it comes to breeds. My priorities for the ducks are: large, tasty, generally takes care of themselves, and can breed naturally.  The other Appleyard females are now laying in the pen at night, so I will probably start letting a nest accumulate in there in hopes of convincing another one to set.   I’m also going to set a “broody chicken trap” in the chicken coop and see if I can’t catch one of them.  I just pile up a bunch of fake eggs in one of the nests and then if a chicken has the broody instinct, it might just convince them that it’s time to get serious.  We’ll see what happens.
I got out into the garden last week for a few hours. Planted a bunch of potatoes and a few leeks. I am running out of room in the upper garden. I might have to expand. The weeds are a nightmare right now. I’ve not been up there since last year. The blueberries are simply buried in weeds. I spent about 3 hours weeding the blueberries and only got about 1/2 way done. The peas I planted in February really desperately need weeding – but there was no time.

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