And boy, are they cute!
I came home from giving a final yesterday afternoon to 2 fluffy chicks and one newly-hatched and still wet one. So exciting, right? But, the evening was actually pretty stressful. We got our ducks as pretty tiny babies, but we never have hatched chicks, and it is a whole different ballgame when the mama is around. By the time I went to bed last night there were 6 chicks, one of which was not looking so great. It looked like there was a smashed egg at the bottom of the pile as well, and so I was pretty sure we had at least one casualty. And the cold temperatures last night had me especially concerned. Really, I just didn't know if I needed to intervene or let mama handle it all. I went to bed hoping for the best.
I was woken up at 5:30 am by Mutter (mama duck) quacking from inside the coop. Of course, I was concerned, so I flew out of bed and opened up the coop.... and saw 10 fluffy duckling peeping around. So cute!
She eventually brought them out of the house and paraded them around the yard for several hours this afternoon. She is very protective and doesn't want anyone to touch them, although she lets me get within a few feet to take photos. She is clumsy, and accidentally steps on them often, and when she sits down they will all crawl underneath her to keep warm. It is hilarious because you can barely even tell they are under her. It reminds me of the lady with the big skirt in The Nutcracker who has all the children underneath it.
When she left the nest today 2 unhatched eggs had been pushed aside and left behind. My instinct says that they are probably not viable, but I felt like it was also possible that she just had her wings full with 10 babies and couldn't spend anymore time sitting on eggs. So, I grabbed them out of the nest while she was up and she didn't seem to mind. I tried to candle them both, and although they looked developed, I didn't see any movement. One was smelling a bit rotten, so I got rid of that one. The second I currently have on a heating pad, just in case it is still viable. I am not counting on it though.
I am feeling really lucky that we got 10 live babies out of 12 eggs and no big complications during the first couple of days. As time goes on and they get bigger (and if the weather warms up this week as promised!) I will be able to let go of some of my concerns.
This is quite an adventure and I am looking forward to watching these guys grow over the next couple of weeks. We will be choosing 2 to keep, along with mama, and will find lovely homes for the other 8. Here are a few pictures of total cuteness!
still wet baby in the nest
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