Mama Duck Hatches an Egg
Good morning Dear Reader. Well, the funniest thing happened in the duck pen yesterday. Unusual chirping wounds were coming from the duck pen. Our hen mallard has been setting on a clutch of eggs for about 3 weeks, so it is getting near time for the eggs to hatch.
Here is our hen mallard hunkering down, trying to be inconspicuous, as she does her motherly chores, incubating eggs.
Hearing unusual sounds led me to investigate. The funniest thing happened on my way to the duck nest.
Here is the little fellow that I found under mama-duck’s wing…
Now if you look closely, you will see that there is no bill and no webbed feet. Plus the markings on the feathers are all wrong. And the voice is WAY too loud for a baby duckling. Nevertheless, Mama Duck was very unhappy with me when I removed the little hatchling, moving it to the duckling pen under a heat lamp, where there is water and food that a little one can access.
We use a red heat lamp of 250 watts to ward off the chill that little chicks and ducks would feel. Red is supposed to be soothing, and inhibit aggressive behavior amongst the birds. It makes for ugly pictures, though.
The little chick would have a hard time in the pen with these adult ducks. It would not be able to reach the water in a large water pan, and the food would not be appropriate either.
Welcome to the Nursery
What was entertaining about the chick being added to the duckling nursery was the loud chirping really scared the little ducks. The chick wanted to *hang out* with them, but they were too frightened to let that happen.
The chick moving quickly excited the ducks, who moved quicklier away. (Kids take note “quicklier” is not a real word). The chasing routine went on for quite a while.
We “taught” the newborn how to drink water, by gently dipping its bill into the water. Hopefully, the chick will be accepted, and allowed to cuddle with the much bigger ducklings when its nap time.