We were down to just two ducks in the flock after the raccoons and the eagles got done helping themselves. And of course, as luck would have it, they left us with two hens that hadn’t laid a single egg in the past four months. And in creep those pesky moral decisions again. Do we let every animal live out its days here on the farm even when they’ve outlived their productive age? Some animals we may and others we won’t.
I hate to say it, but part of it depends on how good they taste. And we know that these ducks are delicious. So in the next few days we will slaughter, butcher, saute and indulge ourselves in them. We will invite our good friends over, regale them with embellished tales of their slug eating prowess and their bravery in the face of raptorial danger, and we will honor them as best we can. We will remember them through story and treat their flesh with the respect that it deserves as the centerpiece of a fine meal.
The passing of these two ducks doesn’t mean that we’re getting out of the duck business, though. We just picked up five new hens and one new drake. We’re hoping to get back in the egg business, and hopefully into the meat bird business as well. Our ground is good for fowl, and their lives here, whether short or long, will hopefully be a little slice of duck heaven.
…postscript: So I wrote this last Sunday night, anticipating to slaughter them the next morning. The ducks must have gotten wind of our dinner plans, because Monday morning an egg lay waiting in the coop as I opened the door. She either pushed like she’d never pushed before, or rustled up a wild mallard egg and brought it home with her; either way she bought herself some extra time.
We still had our friends over, and the pork lasagna was fantastic.