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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