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Duck Summer Molting

September 3, 2019

There’s one fact that you simply can’t overlook when you’re involved in farming one way or another: Mother Nature is the boss, and we (as humans) are just one very small piece of the pie. 

We’ve been reminded of that this week when the ducks decided that NOW is the time for them to have their summer molt. Molting allows the ducks to shed old feathers and regenerate themselves with a fresh new supply of healthy feathers.  Ducks are water lovers and healthy feathers are essential for healthy ducks. Their “overcoat” of feathers are grown in an intricate pattern that, in conjunction with a waxy waterproof coating, help protect the soft and warming down next to their skin. This whole system helps provide insulation and buoyancy to ducks in the water.

During the process of molting the ducks are simply too occupied with their feather regrowth to bother much with egg-laying. As a result, the flock has gone from laying about 200 eggs per day down to about 12 per day. Not quite enough to supply all of our duck egg lovers.

Many people love ducks eggs for their rich and creamy taste and texture, high protein and Omega-3 levels, and for the fact that they can often be tolerated by our friends with allergies or sensitivities to chicken eggs. However, some people, my daughter included, who cannot tolerate conventional chicken eggs do great with ours. This is most likely because our pasture-raised chickens are also soy-free and corn-free (two items that are so overused in our food system resulting in skyrocketing sensitivities).

The summer molt should last two to three weeks and they will pick right back up with egg production once they've regenerated their feather supply.

Kristin Varela-Schild

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