Sneaky Nesting Duck reappeared from her broody nest on Friday August 28th, right on time, 28 days after I’d first noticed her staying out all night. She successfully hatched four ducklings; out of, I think, eleven eggs. So though her overall percentage is better than the incubator, it’s still not great, and not as economical as using the incubator to produce ducklings.
It looks like she has one purebred black and white Magpie baby in there (you can see it at the tail end, with the perfect black cap and back markings). This one is not hers, so somebody else must have been contributing eggs to this clutch! The other ones, I can’t tell, there is another black and white one and two blue and white ones, which could have been sired or mothered by almost anyone in the group.
I had contemplated selling some or all of these babies to make her absence from laying more worthwhile. But decided that four wasn’t worth the hassle of advertising, so aw, heck, I let her keep them.
For the first week, I put her family in an A-frame shelter by themselves, to protect the fragile ducklings. Sometimes drakes will kill ducklings, and our chickens’ aggressive behavior is suspect as well. But, now that they are over a week old and are pretty quick on their feet, I’m letting the mama take them out during the day. She is extremely protective of them and willing to risk her life for them- as I found out when she flung herself at me a few times while I was handling them. So I think they’ll be safe under her watchful eye; and the other ducks don’t seem too interested in them.
The ducks are sure enjoying the rain this week, after such a long dry summer! Their favorite season has begun.