Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Not So Ugly Ducklings


Twenty nine days ago Elvis was sitting tight on another hen's egg and was pecking me most voraciously. For she had gone broody again.

So I decided to save duck eggs for a couple of days. It took me three days to collect eight eggs, which I carefully placed underneath Elvis, who pretty much hadn't moved away from the nest box in several days.

She clucked most contentedly, like only a broody hen can, and settled down to sitting on the eggs.

Well, to cut straight to the chase because it's so exciting, this morning I opened the door to the highrise coop and could immediately hear the cheeping of baby birds. And there, looking incredibly cute, was a duckling! It wasn't there last night, but was already dry and fluffy.
The temptation was to try and see how many others there might be, but I just took a couple of piccies and let be.

My first duckling, no more than twelve hours old

Later in the morning I went back to check on Elvis and her duckling(s). As I approached the chicken pen I could hear a very loud cheeping coming from a very small bird. A duckling had made it all the way down the ramp. Now that's a big ramp when you're a very small duckling. I picked it up carefully in my giant hand and placed it back on the top floor with Elvis and her other chicks. I still didn't get to count them all, for Elvis was protecting her newly hatched young under her spread wings. I did manage to count at least four though.


Two new ducklings doing their very best penguin impressions
The last visit of the day and Elvis had moved off the nest. Two eggs were left intact and proved to be infertile. Next to them lay five empty shells. And one was missing. The decision was taken to move Elvis and her brood to a different coop, without the danger of the highrise ramp. I transferred first one, then a second, then another three ducklings. Sue picked up Elvis, who was protesting quite strongly. She then crawled in the coop to retrieve duckling number six, which had ran to the back out of reach.

I took a few more very cute pictures as they settled into their new home, then let be again.




I only wish that things were going so well with the adult ducks on the other side of the fence. But all is not peace and harmony at the moment. More later.

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