Categories

RBR News | April 17

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
Rock Bottom Ranch is anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new ducklings!  We are about halfway through the 28-day incubation period.

When a mother duck hatches her own ducklings, she maintains a consistent temperature by sitting on the eggs and only leaving the nest occasionally.  She will take quick swims and her damp feathers allow the eggs to stay humid.  At the ranch, we are artificially hatching the eggs in an incubator for several reasons:

  • The incubator environment is consistently maintained at 99.5ºF and 60-70% humidity.  This is more reliable then a mother duck and generally allows a higher hatch rate. 
  • The eggs and incubator are located inside of the Field Studies Center, virtually eliminating any risk of loss from animals like weasels,mink, magpies, and other predators.
  • When a mother duck begins brooding, she stops laying eggs.  We sell our delicious duck eggs (especially great for baking!) and want the ducks to continue laying their beautiful eggs. 
  • The eggs are turned several times a day, which prevents the embryo from sticking to one side of the shell, and also encourages proper development.  A mother duck can sometimes forget to turn an egg, potentially reducing development or hatching.

We currently have two breeds of ducks on Rock Bottom Ranch – Pekin (pictured above) and Welsh Harlequin.  Both breeds are dual purpose and can be used for meat or egg production, however the Pekin breed grows to a larger size and can reach market weight faster then the Welsh Harlequin.  The Welsh Harlequin breed is currently listed at critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy, which estimates less then 500 breeding animals in the United States.  The Welsh Harlequin is an excellent layer, good producer of lean meat, and generally a docile, yet active bird. 

Available Products
RBR’s pastured hens are still pumping out lots of fresh eggs! Pasture-raised, Animal Welfare Approved, non-GMO, chicken and duck eggs are available for purchase at the Ranch Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

-Harper Kaufman, Agriculture Assistant

Join us for Farm Tours Monday – Friday at 11AM.  For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.