Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We finally have ducklings!

About a month ago, our silkie hen hatched 9 chicks. They are all doing well now and are already starting to get their little silkie feathers. We did lose one little chick because our great dane Rozalyn stepped on it and squashed it, but the other 8 are still doing well, especially since they are free run and we don't lock them in at night.

Our Rouen duck has been sitting on eggs for what seems like at least 6 weeks now. Noah and I had pretty much given up on seeing any ducklings since it had been so long. We figured the mama duck was crazy and the eggs either weren't fertilized or they weren't incubating well. Well, mother duck and mother nature are much more wise than we are. Our duck hatched 13 ducklings a week ago! We couldn't believe it! Unlike the chicken who all of the sudden one day had 9 chicks, we got to see some of the ducklings hatching out. It was very neat. I wanted to bring the eggs in the house to watch the whole hatching process, but decided it was probably best to leave them with their mama. 13 ducklings are a lot! There were actually 6 more eggs in the nest when she stopped sitting on them. We checked out the eggs left behind. 2 of them seemed to have died while in the process of hatching....survival of the fittest I guess. 2 of them must have died sometime during their gestation because there were little ducklings in there, but they didn't look fully formed. And then the last 2 eggs were not fertilized. The mommy duck kept the ducklings in the nest for a couple days before she finally brought them down to our pond. I made sure to put out duckling food and a waterer for the babies near the nest which the gobble up.
Above is one of the eggs that is in the process of hatching. The little baby was wiggling around inside and breaking through the egg.

The little ducklings are a week old now and I can't believe how fast they are growing! I haven't actually seen them swim in the pond yet...just play at the edge, but then again I don't have the time to sit and watch them all day (although I would if I could). I am a little worried that one of the little ducklings will not make it. He is about half the size of all his siblings and this morning, wasn't really moving around much. We will see if he pulls though. I thought about bringing him in the house and trying to nurse him back to health, but decided against it since I have so much going on and don't think now if the time to get attached to something that probably has something wrong with it and is probably going to die anyway (we had a very good friend and one of our ferrets pass away this week which I am already trying to work through emotionally). A few years ago, I would have never thought like this, but living on the farm has really taught me a lot about life and death. I will try and get some updated pictures of the ducklings and chicks this week.

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