Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Broody Duck and Angelus

Our ducks have decided that the current piggie pen is also part of their domain. They have devised an opening in the door which separates pens and they slide through it at their whim. No amount of persuasion has stopped this practice from continuing. And, my only consolation is that the piggies in question are being relocated soon, down over the hill, to a new home and the current piggie enclosure will become part of an expanded bird area. It is a consolation, but it did not prevent neither Sean nor I from becoming annoyed every time we checked the piggies to see a duck or a chicken wandering about in there.

Usually, we shoo them back to their own side of the pen. Sean entered the piggie pen to do just that yesterday on his afternoon "egg collection tour", when he discovered this... a nest of mallard eggs and one chicken egg against the wall, in the hay, on the far side of the pig shelter. When Sean discovered the nest, it was being vehemently guarded by a hissing Momma duck and her mate, both refusing to give up their eggs. At first, Sean thought that there were only a couple eggs in the nest, but on closer inspection, he counted 12 eggs.
We discussed removing the eggs from the nest. We had planned on getting an incubator and trying to hatch some duck eggs ourselves this year. So, we decided to wait and see what would happen, if we left them to their Mother's care, instead. Our intention is to remove the day old ducklings and raise them inside. This will help to tame them. It will also prevent the piggies from attempting to eat the hatchlings, if they are still in residence when the hatching occurs.

It may come to nothing. This is all new territory for us, so we aren't really confident about what will happen. But, we are hopeful that we might have our first clutch of ducklings to sell in a few weeks. It takes roughly 28 days before they will begin to hatch. I have marked my calendar to "candle" the eggs on April 30th, about 2 weeks into the cycle. We should be able to see a duckling forming. Then, the eggs should start to hatch around May 11th.

We'll keep you posted.
Sonja ♥

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