Just because the hen is setting...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by iamcuriositycat, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    doesn't mean she'll be a good mom. I've learned, finally, I think, that Indian Runners just don't make good mamas. I know that's the conventional wisdom anyway, and I know some people have had Runners successfully hatch babies, but it's just not working out for me.

    They'll sit for WEEKS and then, just when the babies are close to hatching, they'll either cannibalize them all or just walk off and leave them cold.

    The latest incident happened this morning--she walked off and left seven eggs cold and untended (uncovered, on a cool morning). When I discovered it, they were already cold. I removed them and replaced them with refrigerated eggs in case she comes back--then I can switch them out. But I don't think she's going to--it's been hours.

    Now they are in the incubator and should hatch this week. While I'm out of town.

    I have options--housesitters can tend them, I'll probably lock them down right before I leave, or maybe a friend will want the experience and take them home to hatch and brood, but it's rather inconvenient!! Argh!

    So, I won't be letting Indian Runners set any more. It's way too much hassle.
     
  2. Violet22

    Violet22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of my runners was/is an excellent mommy.......never left the nest for the first few days of the babies being hatched and guarded them with her life after that, they are almost 2 months old now, and she still hangs around keeping an eye on them.
    My other runners which I got as adults, are HORRIBLE!! They abandoned their day old baby and trampled another one. They are still sitting on the eggs, but I am watching and am going to pull any babies if I see any more. I put the one back with them and penned them in so the baby can't get out and get hurt.

    What I am hoping is when my other ducks hatch their eggs, if it's around the same time, that they will take in the babies. I don't want to raise any more babies inside, last year was my first and hopefully my last!

    One of the other ducks sitting is a runner, and she is sharing a nest with a WH, so it will be interesting to see how she does. I *think* she will be good, she's been very loyal to the nest, tho lately she has been letting the WH do most of the sitting, but she is there every day. She's the queen bee of the flock, so I know those babies will be protected at least. No one will take her on.
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I'm afraid I may have wrongly accused my poor little broody girl. I have had bad experiences with Runners brooding, but in this case I now believe she was taken by a predator and did not abandon her eggs intentionally.

    It's totally my fault. She was well hidden but otherwise unprotected. I know this is a major no-no, and I won't defend myself. She disappeared for two weeks before I realized where she was and by that time I didn't have the heart to move her. Stupidly I thought that since she'd made it that far, she'd probably be okay. Feel like an idiot.

    So now the real thing is: I won't ever let a hen set on eggs outside the coop/pen if I can help it. Runner or otherwise.

    Anyway--the eggs went to a friend's house tonight along with an incubator and brooding kit, etc. Six were alive and kicking, and they'll be in a warming incubator again within 20 minutes. My friend has very careful instructions and I'm confident she'll do well. I'm glad it happened tonight and not, for instance, tomorrow night when I wouldn't have been here to rescue the eggs.

    RIP, broody girl. You done good. Your eggs are in good hands.
     
  4. sianara

    sianara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    Quote:Sorry for your loss. It's always a bitter pill to swallow when we screw up but at least you've learned from this experience. I knew someone who would get new chicks & ducklings every single year because predators kept getting hers. After listening to her complain for three years I finally said something sarcastic like "well I guess one way you could look at it is you are doing a community service for the local wildlife". I had explained to her over and over that if she wanted to keep them she had to protect them! She either never understood that OR (and I suspect this more strongly) I really think she just liked them when they were babies. After the third year I stopped sharing chick/duckling orders with her when I finally realized she really only liked them as babies (dawn breaks over marble head!! [​IMG] ) Haven't talked to her in several years now...

    Don't misunderstand, I'm not linking your loss with her behavior at all. The only animal I've ever lost to a predator was one of my silkies when I stupidly forgot to lock their coop door one night. The next morning I went to let them out and saw the door was wide open and Samantha was long gone, not a feather in sight and none of the other silkies were missing... Sadly, she was my favorite silkie. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  5. saxet

    saxet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Oh no. I am so sorry that you lost the mom.
    I keep running my own unprotected pekin off. Every day around dusk, if I have not shoo-ed her yet, I will go out and do so. Being broody is not allowed around here. (it has cost me dearly)
    Today, I found that she had already left on her own account, but the egg (I take them every day) was nicely covered under pine straw and feathers. So sweet. [​IMG] I would almost be tempted to let her try, but it would be heartbreak. Losing mom would be worse to me, than losing the babies.
    I hope you can keep us posted on your brood, iamcuriositycat. It would be a fitting tribute to the mother who gave her life. *snif*
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awwww. Thanks, you guys. I do hope this batch hatches--they are ALL hers, I believe, because everyone else was setting in the pen and she was "holding it" to put them in this nest.

    They should do well. They went home with a friend last night who will tend their hatching. She emailed last night to let me know the incubator was stabilized and the eggs were still warm when she put them in. The transport bit was a worry, but I think they're going to be fine, and I feel better knowing someone is tending them daily. Plus, her family will get to experience the magic of hatching! Gotta run--long drive today--thanks for the warm thoughts.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    I hope your friend enjoys seeing the little ones hatch- and that at least after this terrible experience you may have some little ones when you return home again. I have been so lucky living in the suburbs to not have any real threat of predators - But I will be living in the country again one day- and will have to remember about providing my flock with good protection then.
     
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quick update--too much to do to be lurking on these boards, though that's exactly what I want to do--

    Four of the seven eggs hatched. All appear to be fawn/whites, which is what the mother was (but the father could have been fawn/white or black).

    The babies are with my friend for the next week or so, then they'll come back here. She took great care of them and even helped one out of the shell that got stuck. Thanks for all the well wishes!!
     
  9. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    Great news. Im so happy for you that with your friends help you managed to save some of those little lives and you also have a living legacy of the mother duck you lost.
     
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I can't wait to see the babies, but I'm so glad some of them hatched. And I'm grateful my friend was able to take them at the last minute like that and baby them through. They might have been okay left here at home, but I'm sure the one that needed help wouldn't have made it, and it was great peace of mind knowing someone was keeping an eye on them. Plus, her children enjoyed the heck out of it and it's a great education.
     

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