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First duckling hatched: Update on Mrs Boss the bantam and the Indian Runner Duck eggs

day old duckling and pekin bantamLast summer we discovered that Mrs Boss is a brilliant foster mother. She was the heroine of the Farming Friends Cottage Smallholder interblog Guinea Fowl breeding event. She raised four strong guinea fowl from a box of six eggs that Sara sent us all the way from Yorkshire.

When she went broody this spring, The Chicken Lady suggested that she might like to sit on some Indian Runner duck eggs. The gestation period for duck eggs is 28 days.

The ducklings were due to hatch on Sunday so I made some final preparations the day before. Filled up the feeder with chick crumbs and topped up the baby water fountain to avoid any danger of the ducklings drowning.

Then I tended the castle grounds, racked the gravel clean and added a fresh layer. I found a small tile to use as a ramp from the Emerald Castle to the grounds. Everything was set to go.

By Monday there no sign of ducklings and I was getting concerned. Would they turn out to be unfertilised eggs?

I threw a scoop of wild birdseed to distract the rest of the flock, opened the gate and stepped inside the chicken run. When I gently lifted the side of the castle, Mrs Boss stared back at me with a glinty look. I carefully lifted her off the nest to reveal six unhatched eggs. She wasn’t keen to stroll in the castle grounds and hopped straight back onto the nest.

Then I heard the faintest intermittent tapping. I put my head right inside the castle to check. It repeated distinctly. But by the evening all was quiet on the hatching front.

This morning (Tuesday), when Mrs Boss heard me approaching the run she started to cluck. An urgent warning cluck that continued until I opened the castle wall and peered in. She was on red alert with her feathers puffed right out and beside her was a tiny duckling.

hungry duckling and Mrs BossAlthough a bit wobbly the duck was clearly hungry, stretching up and touching Mrs Boss’s beak. I moved the water fountain and feeder onto the capacious nest. In an instant Mrs B started to cluck and feed voraciously, turning her head to encourage the duckling to join her. After a few pecks at the rim of the feeder, the duckling found the chick crumbs and ate a morsel. The clucks calmed down and the duckling rushed down the ramp. Instantly Mrs Boss called the duckling back and it wheeled around and shot back into the castle.

I left them snuggled together as Mrs Boss patiently demonstrated how to drink water again and again and again.

duckling and eggsHatching can stretch over a couple of days. Perhaps there will be more ducklings in the morning.


18 Comments

  1. JamieThornwell

    Awww, I love that cute family, she will make a great mum, keep up the good work x

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Terry

    Runner Duck eggs are blueish.

    Your duck wouldn’t lay diffrent coloured eggs so some in the nest must belong to one of your hens. Also runner duck eggs are a bit bigger than a hen’s egg.

  3. I have a blue runner duck who is sitting on a nest. The eggs are colored and different sizes. Are Runner duck eggs blue and pink? I know Aracona chickens lay that color, and I do have Aracona chicken and Bantam chickens.
    The nest looks like it has assorted size and color eggs?? Could she be sitting on another chickens nest?

    Terry

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara

    How exciting that you will have ducklings too! Like Mrs Boss, I have a soft spot for Freddie already.

    Hi Mell

    Chickens and ducklings feel affection too! I must admit I was touched when I saw Mrs B and Freddie together – so gentle and loving.

    Hi Tania

    We are delighted! Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Tania

    How lovely! Congratulations!

  6. what a picture!! had a bad day at work,saw your pictures and that cheered me right up!lovely, lovely,lovely!!!!!!!mellx

  7. farmingfriends

    Fantastic news and nicely timed as my ducklings are hatching in the incubator!
    Hope you get more ducklings.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Yes the duckling is so cute! We are enchanted.

    Hi Sally

    When you see the broken eggshell and the tiny duckling/chick/keet it is magical and rather moving.

    Hi Toffeeapple

    We are delighted. Mrs Boss looks so happy.

    Hi Pamela

    We’ve been waiting on tenterhooks too!

    Hi Magic Cochin

    More duckling news tomorrow!

    Hi Veronica

    It’s exciting. Mrs Boss is keeping her cards close to her chest.

    Hi Gillie

    I hate having the chickens in a run but one of the benefits is that you can always find where a broody hen is hiding!

    Hi Kate(uk)

    The duckling is so sweet and happy just to sit beside Mrs Boss.

    Hi Sam

    We are so lucky to have Mrs Boss!

    Hi Amanda

    They are beautiful ducks but very noisy. Good competition for the guinea fowl newly weds!


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