Maggie, our matriarchal pet duck, has decided in her infinite hormonal wisdom to have a third nest this year. Not good. Besides not wishing to have more ducklings this year, not to mention Maggie being a terrible mum, it is also putting a strain on her ageing body. So we are all about breaking the brood.
Eggs are duly removed as laid, leaving 2 eggs behind so the nest wouldn’t be abandoned whilst she was still laying. We mark those two eggs with a big X. Each day as she lays another egg, we remove the new one. The X tells us which ones are the old ones. (The new ones make a very nice omelet.)
Now a full on broody duck is a sight to behold. They come off their nest for 20 minutes at the height of the heat of the day (so the eggs stay warm) and it is all about stuffing their beak as fast as possible. Then they clean and dampen their feathers, and get back on to their nest once more. All to the very loud accompaniment of panicked duck quacks. Well, more like wails, but in duck style.
We continue the process of removing an egg a day until Maggie decides she has had enough of that. Normally a duck will wait for at least 4 eggs to sit on her nest. Eight is optimal. Eventually Maggie will give up and sit on the two eggs. Or if we are very lucky just give up and not nest at all. Not this year though.
Duly sitting on her nest of two eggs, we gave her a day to nest. Then we removed the new egg (as they keep laying for a few days into the beginning of their nesting). The next day any new ones and one of the old X marked eggs, leaving one egg remaining. Removing the remaining egg will break her brood. It took only an hour to do, and suddenly Maggie was our chaotic and fun loving Maggie again, running around the house and then the garden, with George always following behind.
For more tales of Maggie… our pet duck, we’ve written lots of posts as she is easy to write about.
You’ll find pictures of Maggie and our other pets on Instragram
And should you be on the lookout for duck and other animal inspired gifts – you’ll find quite a few in our shop.
(Just click on a picture to be taken to our shop.)