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All About:

Ducks and other birds, including LINKS to other resources
Incubation and hatching
Eggs for eating too
Candling Eggs a tutorial on incubation, embryology and candling eggs with drawings, photos & video
Rabbits This is a link to Mink Hollow Rabbitry

School Hatching Program
IMPORTANT NOTE: This section is for reference ONLY. We no longer provide hatching eggs.
*Before you get your eggs
*Hatching Handbook
*Count Down
*Checklist (updated 2009)

For Teachers (support materials)
Activities (for various age groups)


Farm Photo Album
(farm pics & more)


Mink Hollow Media Site

<hi> Contact the Farm: school [dot] program [at] minkhollow [dot] ca </hi>

farm:info

Last changed: ~~LASTMOD~~

About The Farm and Our Program

Who We Are & What We Do:

We are a small (privately owned) farm North-East of Cochrane (about 15 minutes from the Calgary city limits or 15 minutes from Butterfield Acres Farm) where we primarily raise uncommon varieties of ducks and geese. We sell hatching eggs, day-old ducklings and goslings as well as older birds occasionally. We currently raise Khaki Campbell, Silver Appleyard, and Chinook Ancona (our own variety) ducks, plus Brown African and Pilgrim Geese (See our Breed Notes for more information). We also sell duck eggs for eating. Since 1988 we have provided hatching packages to a number of area schools and are very pleased to make this offer again. Please note: we do not sell hatching packages to private homes at this time. See below for explanation.

Most of the children that have been able to experience this project have been very excited about it and it is one they will remember for many years to come. However since we are dealing with living animals it is a project that should not be entered into without careful thought and some planning. Arrangements must be made in advance to have adequate facilities for the eggs and ducklings as well as for their care during weekends (most classes keep the new ducklings in their class for about two weeks).

When We Do It and What We Provide:

We normally have hatches due on Wednesdays from the end of March (weather permitting) through mid-June and are happy to provide either freshly-laid eggs or ready-to-hatch eggs any time during our regular hatching season. We regret that we are unable to provide ready-to-hatch kits to private homes at this time. We normally do “pick-ups” on SUNDAY afternoons (only) between 12 and 5. The eggs must be picked up here at the farm.

For those interested in ready-to-hatch eggs: these are eggs that have already been incubated for 26-27 days and are just 2 or 3 days away from hatching. Ready-to-hatch eggs must be ordered a minimum of 5 weeks before the eggs are wanted. Since we normally only hatch enough eggs to fill our orders payment will be due when you pick up your eggs. There is a $20.00 cancellation / 'no-show' fee. All of the information we have available is now up on the web, so you can look through it at your leisure. We have a finite amount of space in our incubators so please order early to ensure you can get your eggs when they will best compliment your curriculum.

If ordering freshly laid eggs we will only need 1-2 weeks notice. Payment for these will be due when the eggs are picked up. Schools have reported some impressive hatches from our fresh eggs so be prepared! If you wish to try fresh eggs but only want to keep 2-3 ducklings in the class we'd be happy to take the “overflow” once the hatch is complete.

Cost:

Please see our complete pricelist <HERE>

What You Get:

  1. Reference Materials and Activities (now on the Net!) (Everything you've always wanted to know about ducks and hatching!)
  2. 3-4 (as available) Ready-to-Hatch Duck Eggs OR 12-18 (as available) freshly laid duck eggs
  3. 2 Kg. (Pyrex. 4 - 5 lb.) of Duck Starter
  4. Vitamin Supplement for the ducklings' drinking water
  5. 2 Fresh Duck Eggs to examine
  6. Duck feather samples

Goose Kits:

Some years, we have a VERY limited number of Goose Kits available. The printed materials are the same but instead of duck eggs you will receive 3 ready-To-Hatch Goose Eggs or 6 Fresh Goose Eggs. The cost for these kits is $50.00 each. Geese are typically more difficult to hatch than ducks and they will require more space and care but they imprint VERY strongly on people so if you feel you are up for the challenge ask us.

Incubators:

Unfortunately we can not provide incubators or brooders at this time. Brooders are easy to improvise (baby ducks are not very demanding!) and incubators are available for purchase locally. In Calgary, (ALberta, Canada) Hova-Bator incubators are also available for rent from Science Is… (547-4422) If you are patient it is possible to improvise an incubator for ready-to-hatch eggs using an aquarium and a desk lamp (we'll be happy to explain how).

When You are Done:

When your project is complete you may either return the ducklings to us or arrange to give them to someone who wishes to keep them as pets. If the ducklings are going somewhere else, please ensure the new home is prepared for looking after ducklings. If there are any concerns, please contact us.

Why we do not sell to private homes:

We are very sorry, but we do not sell hatching kits to private homes at this time. When dealing with living animals used for learning, there are factors that must be considered that make this kind of project different from any other. These are living creatures that are being brought into the world so people can see them being born. The other end of this adventure is that they will also die. This is the part most people would rather not think about, and usually ignore once their 'project' is complete. It is however, the part we have to face at the farm.

I used to offer this service to homeschoolers, and stopped, for several reasons.

It is expensive to keep enough birds to 'supply' eggs. We charge money for the kits, but the total income from the hatching kits only covers about 25-30% of the cost of keeping the birds all year. We subsidize the cost quite heavily out of our own pockets. If we were to supply home schoolers as well, we would have to increase the numbers of birds that we keep, and our losses would grow accordingly. We can't afford it.

Home-schoolers typically require more in the way of support than schools do - primarily in terms of time spent at the farm, time to answer questions, helping when things don't go smoothly, etc. we encourage questions, but since I have a full-time job as well as a family and the farm, and I'm also a full-time student, I don't have the extra time that this requires.

Although all homeschoolers say they are well prepared and responsible (and to be fair, many are), the number of eggs and ducklings killed through accident and miscalculations is much higher in home settings than in schools. I must weigh the learning benefits against the cost in ducklings' lives. Although it may sound unfair, I simply cannot justify letting that many ducklings suffer and die. (This, and the time factor are the main reasons I no longer supply to private homes.)

Finally, we are already left to deal with several hundred 'surplus' ducklings each year. There is no commercial market in this area for ducks or duck meat, unless it is professionally butchered and prepared, which makes it impossible to do without incurring further losses. I do not wish to kill any more birds in a year than I already do.

I used to home school one of my children myself, and I do understand. Most home schoolers devote a great deal of time to their children's education, but too many have expected me to devote the same time to their children, and I'm afraid I simply don't have it to give. I have had to cope with too many homeschoolers who expect special considerations, and too many who ended up killing their ducklings. Believe me, each and every one of them assured me they were well prepared.

farm/info.txt · Last modified: 2020-05-09 15:02 (external edit)