Sunday, 30 August 2015

Two Little Ducks - Quack Quack

Just over a month ago one of our ducks went missing. Shortly after, I noticed that there were only ten guinea fowl roosting on the fence at night (there should be 12). Now there are only 9 guinea fowl every night.
So what's been going on? Do we have a case of poultry poaching? Or maybe a fox has been sneaking in? Are the birds getting ill?
There's no evidence to support any of these theories.

But there is this:
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To be honest, they didn't come as a total surprise. I rather suspected that Mrs Duck had taken herself off to sit on eggs and we did occasionally see her when she made brief forays to the food tray. She always disappeared off towards Weasel Ridge, which is somewhat overgrown at the moment, but it took me three weeks to locate her on her nest.
Once I knew where the nest was I waited for her to go for food and then was able to count nine eggs. Unfortunately only two have reached duckling stage, but that doesn't really matter. For when I let the birds incubate au naturel it is just really to keep the birds happy. Any offspring are a bonus and we always end up with significantly fewer young birds than if we took them away from nature and protected them in pens.

The chances of these two making it to duckhood are still slim, for there are many threats. But for the moment we will just enjoy their cuteness, watching their little clockwork legs whirring round at a million miles an hour to keep up with mums and dad.
And just so you don't get too attached, if they do become big enough they will be for the pot. We can't keep every cute animal we have as a pet. We are, after all, a smallholding and not a zoo.

As for those guinea fowl I mentioned, I've found two sitting on a loose pile of eggs (so many that they keep rolling out the sides) in the comfrey patch and one hidden under a rough patch of sage.
Let's hope we have more success than last year when only two made it through the autumn rains.

For now, I'll leave you with a couple more cute duckling piccies.









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