Monday, 10 March 2014

The Magic that is Ducklings

Posted by Rosie

Ducklings at Eco-Gites of Lenault - March 2014

This week ducklings hatched here at Eco-Gites of Lenault.  6 gorgeous balls of yellow and black fluff.  Cute, adorable, lovely and wonderful.  Anything newborn never cease to amaze me - the sheer magic that a new life can grow and be born or hatched is just so beyond words.  What amazes me even more though is the fact that mother ducks (or pigs or sheep etc) have that instinct to know what to do.

Take Hilda my mother duck:

Nobody told her to stand whilst Harold are drake mated with her.
Nobody told her to lay all her eggs in a nest somewhere safe.
Nobody told her to to pull out some of her softest and warmest feathers to line the nest.
Nobody told her that once she had laid all her eggs she should sit on th enest for 35 days only coming off to briefly feed, drink and relive herself.  
Nobody told her to gather her newly hatched ducklings under her.
Nobody told her to leave the 3 un-hatched eggs and take her young to another nest.
Nobody told her to guard her babies with her life and peck anyone who came too near.
No - she did all this by instinct.  Nature really is wonderful. 

Deformed duckling - 2013
Sometimes however things do go a little wrong - and for us last year this was the case with our ducks.  Hilda once again hatched her brood - 9 eggs from 13.  However it quickly became apparent that something was not quite right - the beaks of 6 ducklings were deformed and the upper beak was shorter than the lower one leaving the end of the tongue exposed.  Also their feet has weird scabs all over them which in time cleared but caused their feet to curl up somewhat - a bit like Ali Baba type shoes ... and then the sides of their beaks did the same.

I searched online to try and find out what could have happened but found nothing.  No mention of anything similar and no pictures.  I was stumped.  However despite not growing as fast as their 3 normal siblings they did grow and ate by turning their heads on their sides.  Later in the year I was talking to a friend and he said he had had a similar thing and his reckoning was extreme  temperature fluctuations when the eggs were being incubated was to blame.  His had been in a very hot summer, where-as Hilda ended up sitting this time last year - remember... when we had all that snow and temperatures down to - 12ºC?  When the snow fell it had blown in and surrounded her nest. Instinct told her to sit tight but the snow must have lowered the temperature of the outer eggs whilst the 3 in the middle were kept warm and eventually hatched into the non deformed ducklings.

It is therefore with a great sense of relief that Hilda hatched these 6 perfect looking ducklings this year - no beak deformities, no scabs.  Just perfect little ducklings.









10 comments :

  1. Oh, how lovely. Congratulations on the new additions! And glad they all appear to be well, too x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jocelyn. It was a great relief to see that all 6 had perfect beaks!

      Delete
  2. Gorgeous! We have just started incubating chicken eggs but I do adore ducklings. Congratulations on a pretty brood

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Fiona - with good weather forecast I may get some chick at the market this week.

      Delete
  3. Such a lovely post Rosie and you must be relieved they're alright. Nature is a wonderful thing isn't it. Thank you so much for sharing #whatsthestory

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Charly, yes I was relieved and you are right - Nature is so wonderful and never ceases to make me go all gooey!

      Delete
  4. Such a lovely post - I hope the ducklings are safe and well - they are very cute #magicmoments #whatsthestory

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are very well and Hilda is a brilliant Mum so keeps them safe. Harold, the Dad isn't impressed though - he's been banished to the chicken run until the ducklings are a bit bigger!

      Delete
  5. awww this are so super cute! i am so pleased there have been no complications this year xx

    thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    ReplyDelete

I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.