Ducklings are born to us

duck Rosie on pond

It’s been a hectic week on the duckling front this week although the problems actually started three months ago when Rexie hurt his leg and couldn’t do his manly duties with the Rosie’s. Let me explain. We have 6 Indian Runner ducks comprising of one male, Rexie, and five females, all conveniently called Rosie. Now the girls started laying eggs in the early spring and I was soon getting desperate for egg recipes.

My mate Jane found this recipe for Egyptian eggs and we were both thrilled as they too have Indian Runners (we got ours from them) and were also inundated with eggs. So she diligently followed the recipe and cooked them for 5 hours. Yes, you read right, and no, this is not a typo, 5 hours. The recipe said that the hard would become soft again and that the eggs would then keep for weeks……………poor Jane, the only thing that kept for weeks was the memory of VERY hard boiled eggs and lots of laughs. But she and I will persevere until we find an egg bound solution.

Eventually we stopped taking away the eggs so that the girls could sit and hatch ducklings, but the first sitting went askew because of the aforementioned under performance by Rexie. So I chased two girls off their nests (well, I let Joerg do it as they are very protective and bite so this falls into the Man’s Work Category) and took away about 40 eggs. They would, however, not give up that easily and sat on someone else’s eggs, so there was often a lot of screaming and shouting coming from Duckingham Palace as the girls quarreled as to who was sitting where.

Indian Runner ducks have a shorter thigh bone than standard ducks, so their feet are further back forcing them to walk in an upright position. They are very regal looking and really fun to have around. Their main diet consists of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails (okay, minus the last one), so they are fantastic on the farm. Apparently they are not normally broody – well you try and tell my lot this as they’d be happy to sit on a clutch of golf balls!!! For those of you unfamiliar with the brooding cycle of ducks it is exactly 28 days – I always leave them a couple of days longer just incase my maths is not quite what it once was. So some of the girls had been sitting on eggs for over 2 months! It’s definitely a lot quieter when they sit, but that’s not a good enough reason to leave the unfertilized eggs (or is it?!?).

Rexie and Rosie with ducklings

But this week we could bring out the champagne as five ducklings were hatched to three mothers – a low rate, but still better than nothing. So they buggered off and left one mother alone on about 25 more eggs and then we heard a pitiful squeaking and there was another little one sitting a few feet from the mother. I put him back in the nest, not without great risk to my limbs, but several hours later he was out again. For 2 days he survived by himself and then I had to intervene and adopt him. Seems the poor thing has a severe case of scoliosis (not good in a breed with such long necks) and can only move in circles or fall over. Heaven alone knows what we are going to do with him, but he just so cute! At this point in time I am feeding him as best possible every couple of hours and the whole family is taking turns to carry him around.

feeding the duckling Andy

Another two hatched and she refused to get off the nest even when one of them got stuck on the pond and screamed for help for ages. You’d think that one of the other four bitches would have helped it out of the pond, but no, I had to call in the big guns, i.e., Joerg. Fortunately (for him) it was able to get out and then I took away the other eggs so we now finally have seven ducklings plus Andy, the rolling duck. I also have to try and keep Puss Puss, our wanabee Siamese cat, from eating him – she thinks I’ve brought home take aways/out. Fortunately my parents-in-law and brother-in-law are here for a couple of weeks so there are enough hands and shirt pockets to share the load.

duckling in shirt pocket

Today’s recipe was going to be Egyptian boiled eggs, but seeing as it was a complete and total disaster, I have decided not to post it. So go and boil an egg as per usual and enjoy!!

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