Monday, January 26, 2015

Trimming Bird Wings

We came home from a wonderful week-long vacation in Florida to find (don, don, don, DON)... duck poop all over our front porch.  Yuck!  Like other birds, ducks aren't able to excrete urine and (ahem) poop separately, but rather leave moist nasty droppings that are a combination of the two.  Ducks seem both especially prolific excretors, and also prone to constant explosive diarrhea as well.  All these factors combined to make our porch exponentially disgusting.  It turns out that in our absence, they took advantage of the opportunity to gorge on dog food that was left out in bulk for our two dogs.  Prior to our departure, they dutifully stayed confined in their 1/2 acre fenced in area.  We should have known better, but as they say, hindsight is 20:20.  When I think back, I recall questioning my sanity on a few occasions when I thought I saw a streak of white fly by the window.  It didn't fully occur to me that (1) our ducks might be escaping their area, and (2) this means bird droppings in the yard.  On a farm full of many animals, poop-free zones are cherished and necessary for sanity.  And so, the very next morning, donning kitchen shears and a clear intent, we set out to trim duck wings.  Calvin, our resident chicken (and duck) whisperer, coaxed the birds into a small enclosure, and Johnny and I grabbed hold of duck shoulders and proceeded to give them a trim.
In all seriousness, trimming bird wings is both simple and painless - much like trimming your fingernails.  One needs to simply extend a wing, holding the meat (or muscle) so as not to cut it, and cut feathers off bunty clear across each wing.  We've read that a farmer can get away with trimming just one wing, or disrupting the pattern, and leaving some feathers long, but since it is truly painless and quick, we figure, why gamble and complicate things.  After the bird is caught (admittedly the hard part), we simply cut all long wing feathers. 

Before cutting the wings
Enjoying local food - a coconut washed up on the beach. 

A word of thanks to our neighbor and friend, Stan, who made our vacation possible.  It occurs to us that just a couple hundred years ago, when we were all subsistence farmers, taking a vacation - even just one in a lifetime - was a rarity experienced by only a fortunate few.  We are so lucky to have a friend on hand who is willing and capable to farm-sit for us.  THANK YOU, Stan!

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