Introduction: Duckling Disaster - What to Do When a Duck Deserts a Nest at Point of Hatch

About: I live in a forest garden by the sea in an old Celtic longhouse in the Baie de Mont Saint Michel, France, which I share with Andy and our poultry. Before I escaped and became a happy peasant, I had three jobs …

One of the unwritten rules of reciprocal homesteading or smallholding is that animals or birds always choose the time you are away to have a crisis! Our neighbour assured us, before going off on his holidays, that his two ducks always sat together, albeit in separate nests. In the event and unbeknownst to Andy, who went to open them up, the one nest of ducklings had already begun to hatch overnight and the two mothers had both decided to appropriate it and them. It was lucky that we returned, just an hour later to mow the lawns and noticed both mothers were still out and that there were still only seven ducklings.

By the way the ducks were acting, it was obvious that they were neither of them going to return the ducklings back to the duck house in order to sit the remaining eggs in either nest.

Back in the duck shed, the eggs were pipping and one was minus parts of the shell and thus badly dried out, it was necessary to make a quick decision. We scooped up all the eggs and headed back to our house and our broodies. Luckily, as usual, I had quite a few substitute duck mothers and of the four available, I initially chose Pearl, a young Cochin and Mille-feuilles an older and more experienced semi-Cochin.

Step 1: What to Do

The film shares detailed information such as how we made our broody Cochin Pearl comfortable with hatching the duck eggs and how we went about releasing one of the ducklings from his dried out egg. was a wonderful experience to see him safely hatched.

So far Pearl had hatched seven of the eggs we had recovered from the duck house it was now time to let them all have a snack before going to sleep and then think about how we were going to restore them to their biological mother in the morning.... but that's another story...

There are more pictures and background information on my blog post and you can find it HERE

Part Two will follow shortly.

All the very best,

Holistic Hen aka Sue