Wednesday, 27 August 2008

More ducklings, with a hen for Mum!

Using the incubators, we have successfully hatched out 48 Muscovy ducklings this summer. 3 died in the first few days, which is a reasonable survival rate, although I hate losing any.

The photo to the left shows the first two clutches that hatched in June. The eldest of these are now 10 weeks old, and are pretty sizeable birds.

Whilst the 3rd and 4th clutches were in their respective incubators, we had one of our Marans chickens go broody.

Chickens stop laying when they go broody, and you have the alternatives of putting them in a special coop where they cannot settle (we use a cat basket) with food and water for a few days, so the broodiness stops, or using the bird's natural instincts to hatch out some chicks.

The muscovies were still laying, so as an experiment, we put 6 Muscovy eggs under the Maran in a run seperate from the other hens.

Chicken eggs normally incubate for 21 days before hatching, whereas Muscovies take 35 days, so it was a big ask of the hen, but she stuck to the task diligently, and this weekend hatched out 4 ducklings. One died shortly after hatching, but the other 3 are doing well, and Mum had them out in the run two days after hatching. They could not be more adorable.