Sunday, May 06, 2012

How to buy a (call) duck

My daughter has been lobbying for a call duck for almost a year now.  For the uninitiated, a call duck is like a bantam chicken. Once Olivia and Elliot arrived, my general arguments against ducks melted away, and so we marked our calendars for the Spring Poultry Swap.

Today we got up at the crack of dawn, drove through the country fog to the Schaghticoke (sca-ti-coke) Fairgrounds and attended the swap.  What started as a tailgate sale for poultry enthusiasts years ago has become a sort of farmer's flea market with animals of all sorts and a lotta other junk thrown in.

We saw beautiful and rare pigeons:

 We saw beautiful and rare pheasants:
We saw utility ducks:
( who defied logic and stayed in the little box)

And we saw plenty of sub-standard chickens (who didn't warrant a picture).  Which is kind of sad, really.  Not to be a chicken snob or anything, but the majority of the public do not know much about poultry standards, and I really hate it when breeders pass off sub-standard stock to unsuspecting customers just to make a buck.  If we want to encourage more people to raise chickens, and want to interest some in showing, we should be promoting heritage breeds, good stock, and educating the public as we go.  Instead, there are a lot of people out there selling crap.  (OK, off the soapbox now...)

We finally saw these call ducks:
Which happened to be kinda large for call ducks and too brown and mottled to be good quality for this particular variety (see above rant).  That didn't stop their owners from asking $30 for each of them...

So, we looked at all the neat poultry supplies, including these nice cages:
And we wandered amongst the goats, donkeys, turkeys, puppies, tomato plants, Adirondack chairs, saddles and tack, piglets, guinea pigs, walking sticks, parakeets....

....till we finally found what we came for:
...a happy teenager.  (What??!? You were expecting a call duck?)

Apparently, a cute Mini Rex is awfully close to a Call duck.  Who knew?


Michelle said...

Good thing teenagers are so fickle. :-)

I need to come wander around a poultry sale with you, because I know nothing about chicken breed standards!

Stevie said...

Aw, the bunnies are so hard to avoid when at a swap. Whenever the kids start begging for one, I ask to them to pick whichever one they think is the tastiest! That usually shuts them down :)

Susan said...

Wonderful post. That is, indeed, what it's all about! I agree with the lack of chicken quality. But I was quite taken with the Wood Ducks and the miniature burros. Which is why Marianne was with me.

LindaG said...

Go figure. ;o)

For all the reasons you state, regarding unscrupulous sellers, we will probably get our first chickens from a dealer.

I think I am learning, with all the reading I do. I think I know when I see not so healthy chickens at flea markets, but I'm not completely certain.

So we'll play it safe.

Have a great week! :o)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Bunny is so much more cuddly than a duck anyway. Cute. Love the varigated color in the sheep fleece.

Kayten said...

Mini Rex are my favorites. One caveat, though: when he/she starts shedding, brush her out well. My granddaughter's fought the good fight with wool block this winter. Seems to be more of a problem in my Rex than with my Angoras. He's just begun shedding again, and I'm brushing out TONS.