Monday, 7 October 2013

A duck lost, a duckling born

So where to start with the updates?

Well, let's start with the sad news. We lost one of our Cayugas. It was while one of the girls was sitting on eggs under the old pea plants and we sort of assumed this one had sneaked off somewhere too, maybe in the dyke. But Sue was getting worried as this duck was not even returning for food in the morning or evening. Then one day I was over in the goose paddock investigating a wasps nest when I noticed something in the goose bath. You've guessed, it was our poor duck, long gone. It must have happened on the one night when we were away for the evening, otherwise we'd surely have heard her struggling and quacking to get out.

But, on the plus side, the sitting duck did, against our expectations, manage to hatch one duckling. This little creature is hilarious. For, as protective as she is of it, mummy duck does not wait around for her fluffy little offspring.

Instead, the poor duckling spends most of the day running as fast as it can through the long grass, those clockwork legs doing their best to keep up. Despite its constant extreme exercise regime, our new duckling is growing, though nowhere near as fast as those that Elvis recently reared.

These are now virtually indistinguishable from the adults and will be going into the freezer after Christmas, so I've been making sure that Sue doesn't get too attached to them!

Not so long ago these were cute, fluffy ducklings.
Now they look good enough to eat!

Elvis has already long moved on and is now sitting tight again on anybody's eggs she can find. So Sue has put some Cream Legbar eggs under her. A big softy is Sue.

Despite our attempts to stop them, I recently found Lady Guinea sitting amongst a patch of thistles, incubating quite a clutch of eggs. I've decided to leave be, but it will be a miracle if any survive till next Spring. For starters, it seems to be another of those communal nests where no bird is quite sure which eggs she's responsible for. It's late in the year too, so if any do hatch they'll have an uphill struggle against the elements. Guineafowl chicks are particularly susceptible to cold, wet conditions. The long grass won't do them any favours.

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