May 4, 2015

Spring and Duck Eggs

I've been waiting and waiting and waiting all spring for duck eggs.

In November we were given a pair of Muscovy ducks, a hen and a drake. They inhabit the chicken coop for now, since my two remaining chickens are free-ranging in the front yard.

Momma duck

The duck hen had been setting on eggs when we got her, so she's a proven "setter and hatcher".

The male duck
They're not overly friendly birds, but they're quite personable. They chatter at me when I feed them and wag their tail feathers.

About the beginning of April the ducks both began hissing softly at me as well as chattering, and I started looking for eggs in earnest. Sure enough, on April 10th I found two eggs nestled in the corner among the fluff of feathers.


The hen continued to lay an egg almost daily until she had quite a large clutch. I told her several times that there might be too many eggs for her to keep warm and perhaps she should start setting on them. Instead, she made a bowl-shaped nest in the dirt to contain them all. Every day she covered the nest with soft feathers and waited at the coop door for me to bring their breakfast.


On Tuesday morning I opened the door to the coop and realized the momma duck hadn't been waiting by the door; she came from her nest to meet me. I poured the feed into the dish and moved closer to the nest to take a look while she ate her breakfast, had a drink of fresh water, and kept a eye on me. The nest looked different, with the feathers surrounding the eggs instead of covering the nest (below).


The next morning I paid more attention, and yes, she was on the nest when I opened the door, but she came over to eat and drink. I can count 17 eggs in the photo; I didn't count the actual eggs because I didn't want to make her nervous by moving closer. She makes different noises now when she talks to me, almost chirping along with the chattering.

The next day she didn't get up off the nest at all. I moved the food bowl and waterer near her corner so she won't have to go far.

Muscovy eggs take 33 to 35 days to hatch, unlike other duck eggs which take 28, and chicken eggs which hatch in 21 days. I made a note of the date in my planner and am hoping to have ducklings around June 2. I hope, I hope.



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~~~~~

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18 comments:

  1. Ducklings! So much fun.

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  2. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:09 AM

    Ducklings are so cute, and our grandchildren would love to see some when they visit this summer. But I know not to count my ducklings before they hatch. :-) Thank you for visiting, Rebekah!

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  3. You're her support system - she trusts you now...Animals are so wonderful for displaying basic virtues. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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  4. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead7:37 AM

    Thank you, Frances. I hadn't thought about that. I appreciate your insight!

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  5. Awww, such a good mama!! Hoping with you; ducklings would be SO fun!

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    1. Thank you for hoping with me, Rose.

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  6. It's so wonderful to watch mama and daddy animals taking care of their babies (the way the Lord taught them) even before they're born. Mrs. Muscovy will be so proud when her eggs hatch!

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    1. Yes, I think she will be, Mary.

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  7. So exciting! Down south, folks have a real problem with Muscovey ducks taking over.
    Enjoy your nature study!

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  8. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead2:05 PM

    I've heard that they can take over quite easily. In fact that's why this pair was given to us - the couple started out with just a couple and soon they were overrun. Evidently they can raise 3-4 clutches a year and hatch almost all the eggs in the nest.

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  9. oh my gosh, so many eggs!!! I had not idea ducks laid so many at at time. Pretty soon you'll be proud mama of a bunch of ducklings! how exciting! visiting from the great blog train

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    1. I was surprised too, Angelina. Thank you for visiting.

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  10. We had Muscovies for several years....they do indeed set several times a summer and I had them hatch 20 or more each time! You certainly should have a nice batch of cute little ducklings!

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    1. Oh good, thank you for that ibfo, Marilyn.

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  11. You and your grandchildren are in for some fun duck antics! My hubby and I have raised many breeds of ducks, I prefer them over chickens!A few of the breeds were Mallards,Pekins,Indian Runners,Golden 300,Black Cayugas.... I so miss our ol place. We live in an apt. now, my husband had a stroke. Ducks eggs a delish too eat as well! (Not what you want to hear, now...) I wish you the very best! Hugs, Kim
    http://acitywithoutaswing.blogspot.com/

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  12. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:28 AM

    Hi Kim! I've had a few ducks before - Cuyuga, Pekin and Blue Swede - as well as a pair of Embden geese. I secretly like them better than chickens too. I'm sorry you aren't able to have them anymore.

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  13. Oh, very exciting, little ducklings are so cute and I can't wait to see the photos of them. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  14. Ohhh...so exciting! They should be hatched by now..I'll look for an update!

    Thanks for linking up with The Great Blog Train last month. I hope you'll join us again for June!

    Lisa

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