It turns out that wishing for a new baby is contagious on the homestead! Our runner duck Ramona has caught baby-fever and wants to hatch her own little ducklings. Poor girl is going to be very disappointed when she patiently waits and the stork doesn’t arrive…
Typically, I peek my head out the window throughout the day to check on the ducks and chickens, whose coops are within view. I have noticed that Ramona (pictured below in foreground) has been absent from the pool parties and daytime naps in the run, but I thought maybe she was just busy laying eggs. Turns out that she has been busy keeping a little clutch of eggs warm inside the duck house.
For those of you less familiar with the workings of farm animals, ducks and chickens will lay eggs regularly but they are unfertilized eggs (sort of like women having a menstrual cycle with their unfertilized eggs). You need a drake to get fertilized duck eggs and a rooster to get fertilized chicken eggs. Since we don’t want baby birds – just eggs for eating – we only have girl ducks and chickens.
When chickens and ducks want to hatch eggs, it’s referred to as going “broody”. They will sit on the eggs all day and night hoping to hatch them. Sometimes you have to physically move the bird and keep her from getting back on the eggs.
Ramona seems to be only halfheartedly trying to make babies. She leaves the duck house when I come outside and open the door. My strategy to break her of the broodiness is distraction – lots of opportunities to free-range, swim in a fresh pool party, and eating treats. I’m also hoping that collecting the eggs everyday will help. Being a blissed out new momma, I certainly can’t blame the girl for her wishful thinking.