A few eggs were lost along the way. Mama rolled two eggs out of the nest early on. A couple of eggs were lost to some big black snakes, which I killed when I found them in the coop. One had obviously eaten an egg. A few days later another snake was trying to steal an egg and the female duck was attacking it to protect her eggs. I cut it in half with the big pruning loppers that I'd been using earlier that morning. Don't mess with my ducks!
June 2nd came and went, and so did the 3rd and the 4th. On the 5th, I found a dead duckling at the edge of the nest. On the 6th there was a live duckling. And that was it. Out of 17 eggs we had one duckling hatch successfully. It's sure a cute little thing; hubby says it's a shame it will grow up to be ugly.
While Mama Duck continued to set on her eggs, Papa Duck shared the parenting responsibilities. It's been fun to watch. The duckling either sits next to its mom on the nest, or is following its father around the coop. At first it seemed to hop and I worried that something might be wrong with its legs, but it walks now and is doing just fine.
I had to remove the old eggs from the nest a few at a time over several days. When Mama realized what I was doing, she'd reprimand me for messing with her nest. (Ouch)
The nest looks pretty bedraggled these days. Now that the nesting phase is over I can give the coop a good clean-out. It definitely needs it. Ducks are messy.
This photo made me realize that the female's caruncles are pale, so I looked it up online to see if it was a problem. It is: she's probably anemic. A cure for this is to feed a treat of dry dog food daily; another website suggested wet cat food. I'll be offering both to see what she likes and to bring her back to good health. I imagine that her condition is partly because she's been setting on the eggs for such a long time and hasn't been very interested in eating. I've offered a variety of greens before and both ducks were completely uninterested.
Muscovies can go broody three or four times a year, according to Wikipedia, and "they usually hatch most of their eggs." I hope she has a better success rate next time; I feel sorry for this little solitary baby.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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