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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jmc, Sep 13, 2009.
Someone had one, and I was just wondering if she 'mothered out' successfully!
I'm the one who posted about my duck Blossom. She had 2 ducklings hatch and was a pretty good attentive Mama. Something snagged one of the ducklings the first week, then we started putting Blossom & her surviving babe in the duck house at night with the drake & 4 other duck hens. Since my son was the one to check on them before latching the door for the night, and this duckling was the sixth member of the little flock, he named her Six.
Six did all right following Blossom and hanging out with the rest of the flock, her dad & her aunties. But one day the drake started bothering Six, biting her on the back of the neck, even carrying her around in his beak. He took a dime-sized chunk of skin out of the back of her neck. So I took Six out of the flock & put her in a pen with some other chicken chicks that were her same age.
Six seemed more upset than Blossom about being separated. Blossom didn't seem to miss her baby very much, not much at the start, seemed to have forgotten her by the next day. Six settled in with the chicks, stayed with them for about a month, and now is a part of another group of 4 teenage ducks a few weeks older than she is.
Maybe Blossom would have done better as a Mama if she'd been kept confined in a pen alone with Six. Though it wasn't really her lack of parenting skills that made me take away Six, but rather the drake's aggression towards little Six.
Right now I have another Khaki, Myrtle, who is setting on eggs. She made a nest for herself and sat for over 4 weeks but none of the eggs hatched. They may have been duds from the start, too old to develop. She's a fierce broody duck, hissing & biting anyone who comes too close. But the eggs may have been too old before she began to sit. She was probably working on the clutch only sporadically, laying sometimes in the duck house, other times in her nest. After 4.5 weeks we swapped her old eggs for some new fresh ones. If they hatch they're due at the end of this month. She's such a intense broody that we thought she deserved a second chance to hatch ducklings.
I'm very glad I 'found' you. Thank you for replying!
Yes, I would agree that it was probably the drake problem that got in the way.
I will probably ask you about Myrtle sometime.
4 of my Campbells are now laying, usually in the nest box. Yet I regularly find a 'nestlike' depression in a corner of the coop also; and I wonder if maybe some of those would actually go broody.
I am taking all their eggs (which are fertile) for eating, but will want to get some babies from them in the Spring. Would be neat if I could get a good broody. I like your description of Myrtle, as a 'fierce broody'.
Maybe with 11 girls I will be bound to get......one..............???
thank you again, sunny!!
My duck hens seem to like to lay their eggs in one spot, usually in a bowl-like depression in the ground that they make themselves. They spend the night latched into their duck house which has a dirt floor. I never offered them nest boxes. The eggs are there by morning when they're let out to free-range the rest of the day.
When Blossom & Myrtle went broody they made new nests in places of their own choosing, way on the other side of the yard from their pens. There were some mornings when there would be less eggs in the duck house than there were ducky butts to lay them. I thought they were just taking the day off from laying, but now think those were the days they were waiting to lay in their secret nest spots. Myrtle hid her nest very well, I hoped she was off brooding when she didn't come in to the duck house at night, and guessed it was so when I'd find big broody-duck poops in the driveway. It took us a few days to find her on her nest.
And that's why I think many of the eggs didn't hatch, because they weren't as fresh as they should have been. The eggs would be laid every 3-4 days, over the course of a few weeks, and probably weren't viable any more. When I knew Blossom was setting, I gave her some fresh eggs to add to her clutch. I didn't think to mark them, so don't know if those were the ones to hatch. I let Myrtle set her clutch for 4 weeks but none hatched -- I didn't dare open them to check for development -- but now she's setting on fresh eggs I gave her as replacements.
I know the duck eggs are fertile, there are huge bullseyes on the yolks of the ones we eat, and we've had some hatch in incubators & under chicken hens. That may be an option for you to make more Khakis, whether or not your ducks go broody. It's just fun to watch a mama duck with her babies, makes your blood pressure go way, way down.
UPDATE: After eight looooooong weeks of setting Myrtle hatched out 4 adorable lil' ducklings this morning! I think she got 100%, I think that's all the eggs I gave her the second time. It was right on the morning of the 28th day after replacing her eggs. Her first clutch must have been eggs laid over a long period of time that had lapsed viability before she began to set. If I ever get a broody Khaki again I think I'll swap out the eggs when she first begins to set.
She is still a fierce Mama, hissing & biting any of us that comes near. I am going to keep her confined to the duck pen with her babies until they get to be a good size so there aren't any losses or injuries.
I'm sorry I cannot post photos, but will try to see if I can at a later date.
Another update: Blossom seems to be thinking broody thoughts again! She's got a nest site under a bush in the front yard again. Some days she lays her egg in the duck house, other days she waits to deposit it in her nest. She spends a lot of time setting on the nest during the days, but still returns to the duck house at night.
Last night I checked the nest, there were 5 duck eggs -- and 4 guinea hen eggs too! I removed the guinea eggs for eating (she's a single guinea so they're not fertile anyway) and threw one duck egg into the compost, one that felt light & old. I marked the other 4 duck eggs & returned them to the nest.
When & if Blossom decides to set full-time I'll let her keep a few of her newer eggs and add a few fresh ones from the duck house. That way there are some that will be sure to hatch.
It seems my ducks take too long to assemble their clutches before setting. But I'm surprised to have Khakis that want to go broody at all, so I don't mind helping them out a bit.
i posted about my broody campbell also..
Momof, I never saw that thread when you posted it in June, what happened with that broody duck of yours? I hope she stayed safe, did she get her eggs to hatch? Your duck sounds as fierce as Blossom & Myrtle, they hiss & snap whenever anyone gets near. I've received a few hard pinches from their bills when I've had to get right next to them. It feels like pliers!
hi there Sunny Well her eggs started to disappear slowly, until whatever was taking them finally scared her off the nest, at that point i think she had about 5-6 days to go.. But i know she put up a good fight....