Wednesday, 27 August 2014
A brooding duck
A couple of days ago, I found a clutch of hen eggs hidden beside the greenhouse. Last night it was the turn of the ducks to have their secret stash of eggs discovered. I spotted our older aylesbury under the hedge during the afternoon and when I returned in the evening she was still there. It was typical of a brooding bird. Sure enough, when I moved her, I found 7 eggs.
They weren't all laid by her. She lays green eggs and the nest contained beige and green. The discovery explains why the number of duck eggs collected from the duck pen in recent mornings has been lower than we would expect.
Whilst we would love to experiment with letting a brooding duck hatch some eggs, her timing and the location of the nest were not helpful. The ducks are put in a pen in the evening to protect them from foxes but the nest was elsewhere. And at home we have 17 duck eggs in the incubator. This is the last batch of eggs (of all kinds) we are hatching this year. We don't need her hatching any more. She could however have a role as mother duck to any hatchlings. The question is, will she adopt them in 3 weeks when they are due to hatch or will she have lost interest in being a brooding mother duck? (Actually, some of the eggs in the incubator were laid by her so she would for some of them be the real rather than adoptive mother.)
We will take a decision once the eggs have hatched but if the aylesbury does become mother duck, it will be better for the ducklings that our having that role!