Monday, July 23, 2012
Mother knows best?
The hatch from the Muscovy's did not go as planed, we had thought that they had been sitting firm for the required 35 days, not counting the first day when they first sat .
We thought we had a problem a few days before the due date as we had found two ducklings still half in the shells dead just outside the house. We blamed this on Magpies, they get blamed for a lot of things.
It now rather seems that it was our fault allowing two broodies to share a nest, quite what happened we will never know, but lesson learnt, never let two mums share a nest. Although it does work with chickens.
We fenced off the house and netted above the run so Magpies could not get near any remaining ducklings, and we waited.
On Tuesday we discovered that we had three ducklings so we were a bit happier, however the next day when we went to clean out the house and nest we found that one of the little things had been trampled, the remaining two were brought indoors and put in the brooder.
The mums by this time were out and about so we looked at the now deserted nest and saw that there were still nine eggs in it. We candled them and could see that seven contained ducklings, we don't know how long the nest had been left, the eggs were cold but we thought we had nothing to lose by putting them in the incubator. By Thursday four had hatched, Friday another one had pipped, but by Saturday it had not progressed and I thought it had died, taking it out of the incubator I heard a cheep, so a gentle helping hand to pick away more of the shell, it still made no progress although by this time it's head was free, I offered it water from a pipette which it took readily, I continued with this all of yesterday and at six in the evening I got it out, it is a fine little thing and as large as it's siblings, by eleven last night it was demanding food, so I gave it mashed up hard boiled egg and put in in with the rest of the brood where it is doing fine.
When I got up this morning I checked the incubator and found that we had another one hatched, this one was quick as there was no sign of it pipping last night, this one is also in the brooder. We will candle the remaining egg later on, but we are happy with what we have. Two rescued from the mums and six that would have died if we had left them in the nest. It would seem that mother does not always do things right.
We used to keep ducks years ago, but in those days we had little or no bio security, the ducks would take themselves off, lay their eggs and return several weeks later with a line of ducklings, sometimes as many as two dozen! We never found the nests, and never lost a duck to a fox, but they survived.
There is still one more duck sitting but we are not quiet sure when she is due, but again we will fence her off and put netting above the run. This will be the last hatching for this year, and it seems as though we will be having roast duckling twice a month.
The first four of the rabbits are now in the freezer, the others have a reprieve as despite buying a second freezer we have run out of space, but the next years meat is now assured.
Garden wise things keep growing, this includes the grass and weeds, we have dicovered some yellow rattle growing near by so we will seed harvest and spread the seed around the edge of the veg garden in the hope of keeping the grass growth limited around the edge and prevent it from encroaching into the veg garden.
We are still getting a lot of butterflies visiting the flower garden although it is now what is described here as a soft day, this means it's raining! Not the heavy stuff, just a gentle drizzel which I think makes you wetter than a downpour.