Campell duck gone broody!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Carol_af, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. Carol_af

    Carol_af Chirping

    I thought my Campbell duck went missing yesterday. She didn't come running for food in the morning as she normally does. The others came but there was no sign of her even when I called her by name. She has always answered immediately and comes waddling along as fast as she can. I really thought that something had gotten through the fence and carried her off, or a python had taken her, as I searched the garden several times checking all her hiding places but she was no where to be seen, nor could I hear her quacking.

    She is my only Campbell hen and I was very upset at her loss. I decided to walk the perimeter of the fence checking for holes. As I walked along, there she was, nestled into the leaf litter, hiding among the plants. She had made herself a little nest and was laying. She is just over a year old and while she has layed in the past, she usually just drops an egg anywhere and continues on her way. She has previously made two other nests but has never sat upon them.

    Yesterday, after I discovered her, she covered the eggs over with leaf litter when she left the nest. I was carefull not to disturb the nest and just peeked over the leaves to see what was in there. I thought I could count about 6 eggs. She doesn't stay on the nest all the time. This morning when I got up at around 6am she was running about with the rest of the ducks. Later in the morning I noticed she was back on the nest. Her nest is visible from our dining room window so I can keep an eye on her. While I was watching her this morning she suddenly jumped up and stood cautiously by the nest. I then noticed a shiny black snake (I think it was a red-bellied black snake) slithering beside the nest and out through the fence. Thinking the snake may be after her eggs, I didn't know if she would abandon them to their fate or try to protect them, so I ran out to protect her - mind you, not sure what to do. Either way, I was determined to grab her to safety! Fortunately the snake kept going and didn't stop for her or the eggs. As soon as the snake had passed she sat down on the eggs again. I noticed her panting but she wouldn't leave the nest to drink, so I took a bowl of water to her. She immediately drank quite a lot. We are in the tropics and although it's the end of winter it is very warm here. I've also noticed that she has lost weight. I don't think she is leaving the nest to feed until hunger gets the better of her. She seems to stay on the nest for most of the morning and when she leaves around midday to eat, she appears to be absolutely starving. Now that I know she is sitting I'm giving her extra food, care and attention. While she was up feeding I peeked in the nest - she has 9 eggs. I don't know if she is staying on the nest during the night. After she left the nest yesterday she continued to run around the garden, grazing or floating on her pond for the rest of the day. I'll watch her today to see if she goes back to the nest after feeding. It's 3pm and so far she is still wandering about in the yard. We are in the tropics but I am wondering if she doesn't stay on the nest, especially overnight, if temperatures will be too low for the eggs.

    This is my first broody duck ever. I am surprised as I thought that broodiness had been bred out of Campbell ducks. I had wanted to eventually increase my little Campbell flock (currently one duck and one drake), so I recently got 10 little muscovy ducklings to raise (they are currently 4mths old) so that I should get a broody female from them - how is that for irony!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  2. ejctm

    ejctm Songster

    Apr 25, 2009
    Congrats Carol on your clever little duck!

    I have a hybrid chicken which should not go broody, but she does every year, even though her sisters do not. Just count yourself lucky!

    If it is really hot weather, the eggs are fine to be left for longer than usual. In fact, I think they sometimes leave them for longer when it is hot, so that they don't overheat underneath her. She will have an instinct about temperature, turning, humidity, etc.

    If she does not go back at night, then you will have to rescue the eggs as she will have abandoned the nest, but don't worry about hot days. If this does happen however, you can scoop up the nest and put it and her inside a box or crate with a lid, so she is "encouraged" to keep sitting on them. Or you could incubate them artificially. Sounds like she is doing a great job though.

    Make sure she gets lots of high calorie treats as she will need them, and expect her to lose some condition during the brooding period. Also when it is hot, avoid giving corn as this raises the bird's internal temperature - I only found this out recently and switched giving my chickens corn alongside their feed in the mornings and only give it in the evenings now when it has cooled down, and then only ocassionally.
  3. Carol_af

    Carol_af Chirping

    An update to my little broody Campbell duck.

    While she was off feeding on Sunday I quickly peeked into the nest - there are 12 eggs.
    She is sitting day and night, only leaving the nest when she absolutely has to.

    She is now also quite broody. When I approach her to give her a clean water dish, she flattens her body out over the eggs, fluffs up her feathers and hisses! While she has learned that I bring her food or water while she sits on her nest, if my hand gets too close as I put a dish down, she pecks.

    Can't wait to see how she behaves if she has successful hatchings.
  4. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Crowing

    Jun 19, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I can't wait to see pics when you get babies! Good luck!

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