A funny thing has happened with the recently sewn-up duck and the babies with which she’s sharing her A-frame. They’ve decided they’re family. 🙂
The duck is a juvenile herself, she has not even started laying eggs yet. The hatchlings were “born” in an incubator, and saw no adult ducks for their first week. So much for imprinting, like wild birds do- I guess domestic ducks are happy to adopt a non-biological family!
When they were first housed together, within a day, they were sleeping together and the babies would run to their “mama” when they were scared. On Monday, I left their door open while I was getting feed and water, and found them out and about a few minutes later.
The momma duck is still quite lame, she has to walk on that leg very tenderly and rest often. But she seemed to want to be out mucking in the mud of a tire track, and was delighted with her freedom returned.
The babies definitely view her as someone to follow and trust. Normally, it’s hard for me to convince incubator babies to leave their A-frame, they are very afraid of the big world and it takes them a week or more to acclimate to going outside, even when they are much older than this. But these guys are having a great time following their new momma around outside. They rush to her if anything frightens them, and she talks to them to stay in contact when they wander a bit too far.
Look at the little guy on the left and how muddy he’s gotten! They sure love mud, water and rain!