A Brief History of Ducks
I’ve had ducks for years. I started with 3 little ducklings and I raised them as pets. The dogs got the drake when he was a year old, so I had 2 hens. A friend took some eggs and incubated them, hatching one. After the cute little duckling became a duck, they didn’t want it anymore, so they gave it to me. Back to 3 ducks. Then one of the hens developed a cough when she was about 3 years old, and croaked almost immediately. I had the two ducks for another year until the hatched duck stayed out in a snowstorm and froze to death. I brought the one remaining duck in my house and she lived with me all winter. I got her a boyfriend 2 years ago in the spring. Then last year, 6 1/2 years after I got my first ducks, MFDR came home (drunk) and ran over my old duck in the driveway. After the rage and tears subsided, I picked out 3 new ducks, 2 hens and a drake, (which he paid double for), and brought them home to the lonely drake. The four ducks wintered very well, but they are not pets. I can’t pick them up, they don’t follow me around, we don’t have quality time. I feed them, they eat grasshoppers, they boss me around.
Both my hens have nests. They’ve been on these nests f.o.r.e.v.e.r. filling them with eggs on top of eggs. They have been so dedicated to their nests that I thought one of them was dead since I hadn’t seen her in days. Then I stumbled upon her nest and between you and me, I nearly peed my pants when she started hissing and flailing me with her wings. I haven’t made that mistake again.
Yesterday as I watered the pepper plants hanging by one of the duck nests, I told the duck, “You really should give up on that nest and enjoy your summer. You have done nothing but sit here for a month, and you know those boy ducks are shooting blanks. They are dumb boys. It’s a waste of your effort, and you should be sitting in the pool rather than sitting on this hot nest.” She stared at me, probably wondering what I taste like.
Pekin ducks aren’t known for sitting on their nests and hatching young. Almost everything I’ve read says you need to incubate the eggs if you want ducklings. I decided I was going to give the nests another couple of weeks before I candled the eggs and got rid of all the rotten ones. I always candle the eggs before breaking up a nest because the thought of breaking an egg open to find a half formed duckling freaks me out.
Today when I left for work, I heard one of the ducks making a strange noise. I dropped my stuff off in the van and went to her nest to check on her. I found the most wonderful surprise:
Seven baby ducks! I risked my eyes to get this picture while telling her how awesome she is. Flat out awesome! I expect the other duck’s eggs will hatch soon, and I will have more ducks than I know what to do with. For now though, I don’t care. I’m tickled that I have babies again so I can raise them to be pets, not wild, bossy ducks.
I guess it’s time to build that fence I’ve been thinking about around the front part of my yard.