Animal Husbandry is the science of breeding and caring for animals. A person who does this was, historically, called a husbandman. So, being a “husbandman” is difficult. You just have to know so many odd things. Like, Duck breeding habits. Let me share a little bit of what we learned this week about Drakes. There may be some frank talk about animal parts and pieces, so if you’re reading this with children – please pre-read to make sure you’re comfortable with what follows.
So — you may already know the Cheese (the Apple duke Drake, counter part to the hen’s we call “Quackers” – get it? Cheese and Quackers? That’s for our friend Holly’s entertainment.) has not been feeling well. He’s been in semi-solitary for a bit for what we thought was a digestive issue. Well, before we let him and is Quacker back into gen-pop, we wanted to give them both a swim in a warm Epsom salt bath, then give him a look over. So, cleaned the bathtub, ran a nice warm bath, dissolved the salt, added two ducks. Allow to them to frolic and bathe. Drain water after 20 minutes. Then examine said drake. Well, I noticed that he had something extending from his underbelly near where the “vent” is. The vent is the external opening through which fecal matter and uric acid is excreted. Since he had been having what we thought were digestive issues, I was afraid he had a bowel prolapse, which is also something that happens. So, I held him and Sue examined. What I feared might be bowel, was actually his penis. Ok, now look: if you want to see some more information than I’m going to share right here, just google it; there are articles and videos and so much info… but I’m not going to link to it all. I did take a short video of the ducks, if I can get it uploaded soon, I’ll post it on the Facebook page
We had already read that if, during mating season, and through over use, a penis remains outside the duck’s body – you may have to reinsert it. So we did. Poor guy, but he survived as well as Sue. Then we did more research and found out that sometimes – depending on the duck and how many other ducks were around, both hens and drakes, the penis could remain outside the body through the season. ALSO, we learned that the ducks loose the penis after mating season and then regrow it the next season. They even control the amount of growth, as in length, and the length they grow depends on their status in the social hierarchy. Who knew all of this??? There have been studies on this and scientific papers written —- lucky for us, people share this knowledge. Sure enough, when we went out to check on the ducks again, Cheese was back with his bits outside his body. We’ll just leave him alone now; knowing that, if anything is wrong, he can loose it and then grow it back next year. Husbandry, odd knowledge.
OK. While writing this, I went down a rabbit hole and drug Sue along with me. I knew I had sung a Master Work that used Biblical Text which talked about “the husbandman”. I couldn’t figure it out. Sue did the biblical research until we found the passage. Then I did the Master Work research until I found the composer. I was thinking about Brahms German Requiem, second movement, which is transalted – basically:
For all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man like flowers. The grass withers and the flower falls. Therefore be patient, dear brothers, for the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the delicious fruits of the earth and is patient for it, until he receives the morning rain and evening rain.
I really enjoy hearing this passage… I’m sharing this link of a performance from Ohio State University… poor video but ok for a pirated recording. There are better recordings, just not readily available. That’s all for now. Did you learn something? I bet you did! What will we learn next? We’ll see what happens over the weekend. It’s always an adventure 🙂 Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: Started out crisp and clear. 34° when we headed out to do chores around 7 am. Currently, at 8:55 pm, it is 43° with 30% humidity. Our overnight low is predicted to be 37°. 0% chance of rain. I don’t know where my phone is, so we’ll just have to skip sunrise and sunset for today.
Egg Report: Thursday – 35 chicken, 2 duck. Friday – 28 chicken, 2 duck.