Busting Out All Over

Ducklings are hatching out fast and furious. For starters, the Magpie family continues to do well. The ducklings are thriving with their mother, and are noticeably larger. In addition, two other Magpie ducklings suddenly appeared one morning — but they were wandering all over the barnyard without any mother duck to guide them. We assume they wandered off a nest that the mother duck was clinging to, attempting to hatch additional eggs. Anyway, they tried falling in with the other mother Magpie, but couldn’t keep up with her in the high weeds. I rescued them, and they’re now thriving in the brooder with the chicks.

One of the Khaki Campbells has hatched three ducklings, and so far has been taking good care of them. However, Khakis are one of those notorious “production” breeds that has basically had the mothering instinct bred out of them. We’ll watch her closely in the upcoming days, but we may need to put her ducklings into the brooder.

Meanwhile, the Khaki in the hollow tree is in the process of hatching her clutch of eggs. Notice that my presence has made her nervous, and she has puffed up the feathers on her back as a warning (much like a cat does when threatened). Two ducklings are entirely out and getting around nicely, and at least one more egg is half-hatched (I tried to zoom in, but the half-hatched egg isn’t really visible in this shot). We’ll check back with her in the morning.

UPDATE: Thursday morning, she had six ducklings and had led them the entire length of the vineyard to the “watering hole.” About an hour later, she had successfully led the entire brood all the way back to the nest in the tree. Looks like we may have among the rarest birds of all: a Khaki that’s a good mother. We’ll keep checking.

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