We are not, as I have said before, having a lot of duck luck this year. But on one cheery note we have got these two new little Muscovy ducklings now. Against the odds.
Their mum abandoned the nest pretty much on the day we expected them to hatch. I saw her off the nest at 10 am and then when I was cutting logs at 2pm, realised she was still off the nest. So yes, the eggs had been left that long. It was a warm day though, which might have made a significant difference. We took 7 of the eggs from the middle of the nest and slipped them under a broody hen. We left the remaining eggs (just too many to fit under a hen) but she never went back to the nest.
Four days later we decided the eggs under the hen would come to no good, but at the last moment decided to check just one rather than removing them all to go cold. And sadly that one proved to be a viable duckling, so we left the remaining 6 eggs under the hen.
And today I noticed when checking on her that she was ‘talking’ to her eggs. A little poking revealed 2 ducklings. She was still sitting tight firmly, so we left her another day, but it has been so hot, and one of the eggs was clearly bad and broke, and the smell… so we called a halt and moved adoptive mother hen and her two new charges to another coop.
One (a boy I’ll bet) decided to lessen his chances further by going walk about, squeezing through a gap in the pen and walking the entire length of our big hen run (which is big!) and into another pen and he was found settled in the sun with some junior chickens. Fool. He was put back with his sibling and mother hen.
They say ducks make bad mothers, and it is true, even though Muscovy ducks are better than your average duck, they don’t compare to hens.. but I think ducklings are pretty poor compared to chicks. Chicks naturally stay with their mum, and obey her orders.. but ducklings seem to do what they want..
I hope we manage to raise these two at least!