Friday, July 12, 2013

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Duck Eggs...

This summer my son has decided to try and let some of his duck eggs hatch.  The trouble with this plan is that some of the domesticated ducks will not sit on their nests.  Ducky, our mallard, will sit on her nest, but complains loudly and gets bored and leaves to go play with the other ducks.  Anna, our East Indie bantam, makes nests and lays eggs around the yard, will sit for a few minutes and then abandons the whole project.  Snowball, our Pekin, just doesn't care about any of it.  Thankfully, there is Daisy.  She is some kind of Pekin hybrid who seems to still have an intact mothering instinct.

We noticed Daisy making nests in the duck house and also in the hay in the pen.  We need the nest to be protected within the pen.  Ducks lay one egg a day and once they get enough eggs they will start sitting.  We didn't want to hatch a bunch of the big ducks for space reasons, so we smuggled Anna's eggs into the nest when Daisy wasn't paying attention.

Once there was one Daisy egg and seven Anna eggs in there, she happily sat on them.

Ducks eggs take about 28 days to hatch (which is 7 days longer than chicken eggs).  We have all been patiently waiting, but then we noticed eggs disappearing.  The first egg that was missing was Daisy's big egg.  She was still sitting on the 7 of Anna's though.  After another few days we were missing two of the little eggs...  Finally we were down to four.  We had no idea what was happening to the eggs..

Then yesterday, the husband noticed a little black puff running about the pen and lo and behold we had a duckling!

So far the other three eggs have not hatched.  Today we noticed a bit of a stink.  The boys said it smelled like tuna fish.  Then we saw Daisy pick up the stinky egg and chuck it out of the pen!  Unfortunately, it was a almost formed duckling that just did not survive.  The egg disappearing mystery solved.  Somehow ducks must know when the eggs are viable and get rid of those that are not.  Jack said that he did find a few eggs outside the nest that were squishy...

We are down to to two eggs...waiting to see what happens with those...they are hoping the other two hatch so then the boys can name them Mo, Larry and Curly.  Mom is hoping they are all female!!!