Noel Young

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since Oct 12, 2019
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Recent posts by Noel Young

Depends on the breeds. Vent sexing can be done on day olds but it's not foolproof and takes practice. In my experience goslings are easier to do than ducklings. Some breeds of ducks and geese can be sexed by bill or coloring at birth or as they feather out. Welsh Harlequin ducks are fairly reliably sexed by bill color at hatch from a good breeder. Cotton Patch and Pilgrim geese are both sexed by down coloring I believe. There are probably other breeds those are just examples I'm familiar with.

As to geese, two lady gossies raised alongside the ducklings is a good call. That doesn't guarantee no problems but it's less likely. Waterfowl are less brutal about pecking order in the flock than chickens but they do have an order.
2 months ago
Any possibility this weird chicken hatched from an egg laid somewhere out of the ordinary? Is it a different breed/type than your birds? Do you have other surviving chickens in this same pen? Neighbors with chickens?

The straw sounds suspect to me. Ditto the others saying to remove it and clean. I wonder if it was sprayed or had something spill on it out of the ordinary and possibility something poisonous to multiple species if ingested.
2 months ago
We do a deep litter of woodchips from the power company and leaves in our duck/goose run. Sometimes straw/hay goes in too. We turn it regularly and add more as needed then pull it out after about a year. I might consider it at least partially vermicomposting as the compost is always loaded with earthworms. I'm in the process of pulling last years compost out and rebedding them for winter now.
2 months ago

S. Bard wrote:

Noel Young wrote:We determined after several fortunately not very serious incidents at night that they should not be enclosed together overnight for the ducks' safety and split their quarters.

Thanks for your insights Noel!
Might I ask what incidents you had between the ducks and the geese at night when you kept them together?

Ducks getting roughed up. Not critically BUT enough to warrant concern. (Feathers missing and bloody on back and neck.) No incidents since separating during lockup hours. The geese definitely view themselves as the superior branch of the flock family. It does somewhat depend on how many geese, how they're raised, their age etcetera but bottom line is they are significantly bigger and capable. Breeding season is the worst with hormones surging and the lady ducks are serious flirts even with the geese. The lady geese would probably overnight fine but with a gander I'd advise against it.
2 months ago
I raise American buffs so I can't speak specifically to Sebastopol but our geese are penned at night separately from our ducks in an adjoined run/shed that is completely enclosed with welded wire. They range in the daytime with the ducks in electric netting. We determined after several fortunately not very serious incidents at night that they should not be enclosed together overnight for the ducks' safety and split their quarters. Both waterfowl tend to favor sleeping in the run at night over the shed unless it's very cold and windy. Domestic geese do not generally fly, especially Sebastopol with their quirky feathers, so they are vulnerable. My geese can clear a 4 ft fence with sufficient motivation but that's about it. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, owls, eagles... all could be potentially problematic. In the daytime they do fine in the netting and probably do deter overhead predators from bothering the ducks as well as sounding an alert. Hope this helps! Also be aware ganders can be a handful in breeding season.
2 months ago
We had a lot of hornworms early in the season this year. The parasitic wasps eventually showed up but I picked many before I saw any sign of them. After I saw one hornworm with the little wasp cocoons I saw no further hornworms of significant size.
4 months ago
A couple pictures from the summer garden...

So many tomatoes. Unfortunately, a bunch have also split open this week.
4 months ago
The most interesting GMO project I've seen is trying to restore the American Chestnut using transgenics. There are also programs that are modifying the native chestnut by breeding to more resistant Chinese chestnut and then breeding back to American over generations. Which is better? They're both modifying the genome. I'll be interested to see how both projects play out over time.
4 months ago

Larisa Walk wrote:We had our first taste of one of these from a friend this year. Very productive and fragrant but bland. We tried peeling, slicing, and dehydrating to concentrate what little sugar is there and the end result is still bland. They seem like a good melon to experiment with crossing to get their early productiveness into something with better flavor? We've grown Sakata's Sweet for several years, a Japanese melon that is eaten skin and all. It dehydrates nicely and tastes almost date like when preserved by that method. But their thin skin, while convenient for eating and slicing, offers no protection from rodents and their button end, like buttercup squash, is where the rodents tunnel in to get to the seeds. They can be grown on a trellis but maybe crossing them with the Tigger might make it possible to grow them on open ground? Just a thought.

It was definitely less sweet than a larger melon but this one was pretty ripe so maybe not as bland as some? I ate it paired with a cup of black coffee so maybe that made it seem less bland? Or maybe growing conditions affect taste? I haven't had a second one yet. I will have to look at the Sakata. If compatible definitely might be interesting to try crossing. I like the idea of a smaller snack size melon. Thanks for the reply post!

Mk Neal wrote:How long does this little melon take to mature?  My garden is short on sun,  so I am on the lookout for a melon that will ripen faster,  seems like a small one might.

I planted these in June. Package says 80 days which sounds about right. My other melons are definitely behind these but I think they're listed as 90 days. So, not much shorter unfortunately based on the packet info.