They’ve done it again. The ducks have ganged up on us. Spring is very definitely in the air amongst our feathered flock, and particularly with the ducks.
The chickens are doing their normal thing of laying eggs. Well, at least 2 of the 3 are, the other one prefers slightly warmer weather before she graces us with an egg. We take their eggs, as and when, without much fear of zany nesting antics. The ducks on the other hand, they are a mission unto themselves.
Unlike chickens, the ducks are not as keen to lay eggs in the same nest, each preferring to have their own. Since we have 4 females this has led to various nests dotted about the garden, each well hidden from predators and consequently us. Luckily the ducks give themselves away every time, mainly by clustering together protectively near the laying duck and then quacking a lot (go figure), so we have been able to find the nests.
We learned the art of leaving an egg behind the hard way. Initially, we would take all the eggs but we then found the duck would shut down the nest and set up a new nest elsewhere a day or two later. Obviously we had proved to her it was not a safe place. So, we took to leaving an egg or two and that has kept the nests in the same location.
However, there is always the one that got away. Delilah, our oldest female (and the one with a white ring around her neck so we can tell her apart easily from the others) , did the devious and managed to set up a nest without us knowing. Our first realisation was when she didn’t show up for bedtime the other night.
Normally the ducks collect around the duck house come dusk, in preparation of being protectively shut inside for the night. But the other night only four showed up for roll call. No amount of searching, particularly in failing light, turned her up. But then, when a duck doesn’t want to be seen, we’ve discovered, it is nigh on impossible to find them.
The next morning we let the 4 ducks out and watched where they headed ~ straight to Delilah. They stood around, near her nest, having a nice gossip, and thus the game was given away. She had made herself a beautiful nest in the hedge, but this time having learned her lesson from the previous hedge nest, went for lower, less trafficked ground. (Read about the other nests in: Inundated with Easter Eggs)
But then to add mischief to mayhem, Lucy decided that the one egg we’d left on the nest in the duck house was good enough and she would add to it as she sat. And so she sat, with lots of hissing if anyone came near . We had this same problem last year of sitting on one egg when Delilah and Lucy ganged up on us (read: Ducks are Devious-ly Clever), so obviously a tactic we will need to watch out for in future. Yup, smart, devious ducks.
So as we have been outmanoeuvred, in about a months time, we will once again be seeing little balls of fluff running about. Anyone interested in enjoying their own personal duck antics, drop us a comment as we’ll be looking for new homes for any new devious little creatures.