Hettie is our newest young duck at Eco-Gites of Lenault and yesterday I mentioned, that against the odds, she had managed to hatch 5 ducklings. As a young, teenage even, Mum she wasn't always sure about what she was supposed to do and to be honest having to sit on a clutch of eggs for 35 days can't be fun for anyone, let alone a youngster. On several occasions she left the nest for long periods and just a couple of days before the eggs were due to hatch she was out and about all day, leaving the eggs to get cold. She had also chucked one out of the nest and to be honest I thought the whole clutch was lost.
Some ducklings thought otherwise though and on Wednesday we found a single duckling in the nest, very newly hatched, still damp and exceedingly cold. Hettie was however nowhere to be seen. Ben, with the warmest hands, held the tiny creature tight whilst I gently blew warm air onto it and Tom was despatched to find and bring back Hettie. 2 other eggs were showing signs of hatching but already this duckling was dangerously near to dying from hypothermia and it needed it's Mum as would the next ducklings when they hatched. Luckily she did return to the nest and her maternal instincts kicked in allowing her to successfully hatch a total of 6 young. One sadly died died but the other 5 are doing fine, even if at times Hettie seems rather at a loss as to what she should to do with her brood. I have had to shut them inside for now as she hasn't got the knack of keeping them close to her but I am confident she will be a fast learner ... or the ducklings, having already shown a strong will to live, with survive despite her somewhat unconventional brooding methods.
Aren't they absolutely gorgeous? I really do think these are miracle ducklings and hats off to Hettie for succeeding in getting them this far. Have you any stories of animals surviving against the odds?