Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Your mama is a ... ?

Earlier today I signed on to post a story about a chicken hen who'd adopted baby ducks, but Blogger was down. Now, I'm posting about baby ducks that we've adopted! There was a duck setting in the barn, and apparently her eggs hatched within the last 24 hours. Today, Katherine discovered a speckled sussex chicken hen being mama to the seven ducklings. This afternoon she went to check on them, and all seven babies were wandering through the grass of the near pasture with no mama in sight. She picked them up and put them in a box for the moment. She is now working on creating a brooder for them.

Brooder sounds so high tech. It's nothing more than a safe place for the babies to stay, and there is a heat lamp to keep them warm. I swore I would never again raise baby ducks in a brooder, because they were the messiest birds we ever raised. We bought 15 ducklings four years ago, and within a few days, I was counting the minutes until one month had expired. Brooder-raised ducklings can't go into the water before they're a month old. They are not producing their own oil prior to that time. If they are being raised by a mama, her oil rubs off on them, and they can swim safely without getting hypothermia.


gnightgirl said...

I love your blog! Just when I think there's nothing to learn about a duck (a duck is a duck, right?) I learn about duck oil and hypothermia. It all makes perfect sense, but who knew?!!

I really am fascinated.

june in florida said...

Missed you. What happened to the duck mama and did the speckled mama abandon them as well? Its good they have you and a month will go by quickly. Can you substitute something for the duck oil?

Deborah said...

We have no idea what happened to the duck mama. My daughter put the baby ducks down in front of all the different ducks we have, and none of them were interested in the babies. I guess the speckled sussex hen suddenly decided she didn't want to be a mama after all.

I don't think there's anything we can do with the ducklings other than take care of them in a brooder and hope the month passes quickly. They are messy, messy, messy! They don't know that they aren't supposed to get wet, and they play in their water, making a big mess. At least they stay warm with the heat lamp.


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