Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Duck Wrangler Update: Ducklings could hatch any day

You may remember from some of my earlier posts that Paul and I have ducks. It wasn't something that we planned. Paul surprised me with eight ducklings a few years back as an Easter present. We've lost a few and gained a few new ones over the years, but it looks like these birds may be the gift that keeps on giving.

One of our females has been sitting on her nest for about four weeks, refusing to come out of the coop more than once a day to eat and splash around in the pond for a little while. We've seen four eggs, although she may have laid more in there by now.

What makes this noteworthy is that the kind of ducks we have, Pekins, aren't very good breeders. They're bred for poultry and don't have a very good nesting instinct due to the over-breeding. They usually lay one egg a day and walk away from it. If  you want to raise them, you have to collect the eggs and put them in an incubator. We haven't done that, because, well, we're sort of looking forward to the day when we can once again be a duck free zone.

Don't get me wrong, we love our feathered children and the illness, injury, or loss of one of them is always very upsetting. They are trained to put themselves to bed at sundown every day, but  one of us has to be home to close and lock the coop after they're in and to let them out and feed them each morning. It can be inconvenient and sometimes keeps us from staying late at parties. Any trips we make out of town have to be day trips and we have to be home by sundown. The alternative is to pay someone to stop by twice a day, which can get expensive.

So, when or if we see any grand-ducklings hatching, I'll post some pics. The usual gestation period is about fours weeks, so it could be any day now.
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