Even though ducklings are supposed to be tougher than chicken chicks, the duck hatching process wasn’t as easy as “everyone” said it would be. The first two ducklings pipped a few days ahead of schedule – we hadn’t even started increasing the incubator’s humidity yet. Lilly, the second one, then got hatched, while the first one seemed to be stuck. He needed some assistance, so Patricia carefully peeled some bits of shell away and then left him overnight. Still no appearance although we could hear he was alive.
So after more careful shell peeling away, Quackers was hatched. Unfortunately he seemed to have a lame floppy foot… and we already knew from Millie the Miracle chick, that it is a hard handicap for a ground foraging bird to live with. Anyway, two days later, Tulip and Iris were hatched closely together.
(A note about the names – the hope is that Quackers is a drake and that the other three are hens, but like with the chickens, this is only wishful thinking. We could be wrong….)
Well, that was it. Apart from three eggs that went bad earlier, the rest were all infertile – not even dead ducks, all just blanks… But we had four, and that is quite sufficient for our own needs. Also fortunately by this time Quackers’ foot had totally recovered and he was waddling and messing about together with his siblings.
My word, they grow fast! Literally four days after the last two we hatched, they were already waddling on the lawn and also went for their first swimming “lesson”. Not that they need any teaching. By the second swim, they were already diving underwater and clambering out of the container by themselves.
From the start Micaela wanted to be “responsible” for the ducks. Her interpretation of the word “responsible” is of course totally different to her brother’s interpretation of the same word… Anyway, so even before they were hatched, she was already calling to the eggs the by now familiar “Come… ducky, ducky, duckies”, which we now regularly hear at our place. (Easy to know where she is – just listen for the call!) It seems her conditioning on them must have worked, because they just love following her around.
Well, since the ducks have been hatched, we’ve had visitors from far and wide to come and see them. All the kids’ friends and their parents have been over, and even our neighbour’s grand-kids have come for two visits so far. Each time the duckies happily oblige with either a swim, a follow-the-call waddle or both! So either they beat the 15 chicks on the cuteness scale, or maybe a contributing factor is the fact that the school holidays are on. Either way, it’s fun getting our little ducks in a row. (We won’t talk about the mess yet, because I believe it gets “better”.)
We’ll soon do a chooks update – they’ve quietly been growing up to be amazing too!