ROCKSPRINGS - It's January, the snow is falling and yet Funny Duck Farms is growing fresh, green fodder for its animals.
Samantha Klinck, husband Aaron and her sister Jen Hart, made the decision less than a year ago to invest in hydroponic fodder units to provide better nutrition year-round for their mixed farm of chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs and cows. The innovation has earned the local farmers a 2017 Regional Agri-Innovation Award from the Province of Ontario (see related story below).
"The big thing for me is this is good nutrition for my animals year round," says Samantha, adding they are happy they invested in self-contained, insulated FodderWorks ("Animal Nutrition is no longer cut and dried") units at their two Morrison Road (Kitley Line 8) certified organic farms in Elizabethtown-Kitley. See the
Fodder at Funny Duck Farms
"It's a good return on investment," she says. The farms are using less water and electricity. "We've seen no jump in our power bill whatsoever because we're using our water pump less," says Samantha. Some of the run-off water from the fodder units is directed in to their duck ponds.
"It's like springtime every day," says Jen. Various types of seed like wheat, barley and oats, are fed into the units on trays. Each unit produces in 4-6 days the same amount of feed as 50 acres of hayfield.
"Our feed costs have dropped by 50%. It's feed at $900 a ton versus seed, which is $200 to $400 a ton," Samantha says.
They learned of the units from a friend from Saskatchewan, where the Klincks lived before moving to Ontario. It seemed like a good idea to try here, particularly since there have been two droughts in recent years. The units come from California. There have been a few glitches dealing with Canada's cold but overall they've been able to refine their operations to suit their needs.
Funny Duck Farms has between 30-35 Whole Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) clients, providing them with baskets of items ranging from duck and chicken eggs, honey, beeswax salves, maple syrup, herbs, vegetables (more than 40 types over the year), cheese and pasture-raised poultry and meats. It is a sustainable, soybean-free, mixed organic farm.
"Unlike most traditional CSAs that are predominantly baskets of veggies, we offer a wider range of foods and also offer our members a selection of other organic products, such as flours, beans, dried fruits, rice and sea salt," says Samantha.
Learn more about Funny Duck Farms by visiting their
page, where they have a five-star rating, or
. You can also send them an email.