This week has been a bit mixed bag, pretty good on the whole – except for one thing… the ducklings have had a very hard time.
Belle the duck hatched four little birds on my birthday last week out of 11 eggs. The rest didn’t hatch but for a first time attempt it wasn’t too bad. My friend Annette gave me another four ducklings as she has hundreds – she is a seasoned poultry breeder.
The eight tiny fluffy creatures seemed very happy in the new nursery pen and duck house we built for them with Belle the duck seeming to cope really well. But the next morning I got up early to see them and one of the ducklings was dead. It was very upsetting to hold its tiny little body in my hands – it weighed next to nothing and I felt so sorry for it having its little life snubbed out before it had almost begun. I’ve only bought ducklings and chicks before now and every single one of them has survived.
I phoned Annette in a panic and she said it happens from time to time. I kept an eye on them all day and Belle was kind of clumsy, she kept treading on the babies but they all seemed fine, scampering about all over the place, running up the carpeted ramp to their little house and having fun. Next day though, same thing – and three days later another duckling lost. The OH said we needed to think about taking the ducklings away from Belle but she appeared to be trying to so hard and the ducklings huddled under her when I went near them so we thought we’d give it one more go.
Everything was fine for another three days. Yesterday I went down to the nursery at the crack of dawn to let them out of their little house – out came Belle and five little birds, cheeping and running about. Two hours later, three more were dead and I decided enough was enough. I don’t know if Belle is just struggling with first time motherhood or if the damp weather that suddenly descended has been too much for them but having said that I would never have birds in the house again – guess what – I have birds in the house again…
I prepared a cage for them in the house with a heat lamp to keep them warm. Belle looked as if she was quite upset but ten minutes later she was back with her beau Dickie and at the food bowls – she’s been sitting on eggs and with the ducklings separated from him and the others for the best part of seven weeks and I really didn’t want to do this but its just too heart breaking to lose them all after such an effort from Belle.
So there are two lovely little ducklings who need to be looked after to get them strong enough to return to play with the other birds – one is a boy and one is a girl and I really hope they make it… I’m going to call them Bonnie and Clyde if they do…