Duck egg’s are on their way

Duck egg’s are on their way

More duck egg’s are on their way

We’ve ordered (Ok, it was me, I couldn’t hold back the urge) 12 Runner Duck hatching eggs to repeat the process of hatching some ducklings.

This time they should be a mixture of either of the following colours:

  • Lavender
  • Chocolate brown
  • Chocolate magpie
  • And apparently there can be the odd lavender magpie – fine by us!

 

Lavender

Chocolate

Chocolate magpie

 

I can’t find a picture of a lavender magpie, it’s basically the same as the chocolate magpie but with lavender in place of the brown.

Last time we bought 6, and only two hatched, two weren’t even fertilised. It was a close call as if only one had hatched it could have been tricky.

So this time I have ordered 12. I can now fill the incubator with 7, it’s maximum, the rest will go under Snowy and we’ll pray it goes to plan and she sticks it out. Five duck eggs might be a bit much for her but we’ll see.

As before I will monitor the eggs, and want to get the girls involved a bit more now it’s not cold and dark outside. If there are any duds in the incubator and too many good ones under Snowy, I may balance it out by moving some of the good ones to the incubator so it’s easier for her to deal with.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been collecting stuff ready for the next hatch. I found a large rabbit cage with deep plastic bottom for sale round the corner from work for just £10, this will be better for small ducklings due to the deep plastic tray which will be easier to clean. We also picked up some coloured leg bands so we can keep track of who is who!

To say I am excited is an understatement!

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Snowy is broody

Snowy is broody

Snowy is broody again

It’s nothing new to report that a Silkie hen is broody again. This time though she has gone broody even though the eggs are rolling away from underneath her in the roll-away nest box.

Amazingly she can pull the eggs back up and manage to sit on them.

Not so amazingly we have found broken eggs in the collection tray for two days running. We’re not clear what has happened but it made a bit of a mess!

So yesterday evening I cleaned the penthouse, the Eglu coop, a feeder and a water dish.  Then moved Snowy over and placed her onto two of her own eggs that we are sacrificing.

Snowy’s broody area

When I first put her in, just in front of the eggs, she sat there and didn’t move or “adopt” the eggs. I checked back 5 minutes later and she still hadn’t moved. I’d taken her from the nest box where she was sat on nothing and thought she’d whip the eggs underneath her!

She just sat there

So I lifted her up and placed her onto them, she wiggled and started to hunker down over the eggs.

That looks more like it!

It’s not cold at night here now so we are leaving the door open so she can come and go as she pleases.

So she has a nice clean coop, a private Penthouse with food and water, it’s relatively warm and she’s happily sat on eggs, can anyone guess where this is going?! 😀

You guessed it! We’re waiting on the postman to deliver a fragile package!! 🐣 🦆

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Roll-away nest box update

Roll-away nest box update

Roll-away nest box update – three weeks

The roll-away nest box idea was to try and ease a few things:

  • Snowy goes broody all the time – well she is a Silkie!
  • The ducks mess with the eggs – and the eggs get messy!
  • The eggs get laid throughout the day while we’re not around – it’s nice to know they are out of harms way and will stay clean

Overall the concept works great.  However we’ve found that the chickens like to reach under and mess with the eggs.  It’s almost as if they want to check them or leave them in the actual nest box.  Maybe it’s their instinct to create a clutch of eggs?

So we regularly see little heads popping through into the egg collection tray and the eggs getting pulled back through!

Here is a video from the first time I saw Star doing it.  This time was a strange one as both Star and Snowy were in the nest box together.

It also hasn’t stopped Snowy going broody.

It does stop the ducks getting to the eggs!

The next revision of the roll-away nest box will be to have the eggs disappear where the chickens can’t reach them!

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Farewell ducklings

Farewell ducklings

We say goodbye to our two ducks

Quite a few weeks ago I placed an advert for our two ducks in some Facebook groups that I am a member of,  there were a few messages from interested parties but I didn’t push them too much.

Buyers want to know for sure if what they are purchasing, is a duck or a drake.  I also found that a lot of people were looking for a trio – two ducks and a drake.  I couldn’t guarantee anything other than one was definitely a duck, drakes don’t quack, especially that loud!

When we hatched them the plan was always to sell them.  The idea of hatching came to life when Snowy went broody and I wanted to let her hatch some young.  This was in November and it wasn’t that warm, there was also the chance that she could abandon the nest so I ended up buying an incubator with the decision to put three of the six eggs under Snowy and the other three in the incubator, almost as a backup.

In the end she only had one developing egg which she ultimately abandoned, so the incubator did actually save the day and we were lucky enough to have two runner ducklings hatch!

#1 and #6 sleeping in the incubator – just a couple of hours old

It was amazing, the ducks were amazing, they made us laugh so much.  This was a great process to go through for us and our children.

They have gone to a great new home and seem to be settled in already – we’ve had updates!  They were picked up on the 8th April, the day after we got back from a week away.  The chap that contacted me was getting them as a surprise for his wife – her face was a picture when they came to pick them up as he hadn’t told her!

Their last morning with us

As it turns out, our first inclinations of a duck and a drake turned out to be correct, the larger one is the duck and the smaller one the drake.  When we got back from our week away, the drake was making the drake noise more distinctively.

That evening there was an issue with the coop door closing, so I went to investigate and it seemed the ducks left with a bang!  I know it was their handy work!

This is the work of a duck beak!

So, farewell number one and number five, it was great to introduce you to a small corner of this big wide world.

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Roll-away nest box project

Roll-away nest box project

The roll-away nest box project

A project I’ve wanted to undertake for quite some time is to convert the nest box into a roll-away system so that the eggs roll from under the chickens and into a collection area.

The main reason for this is to attempt to distract broodiness, if there’s no eggs to sit on maybe it will help.

A more recent finding is that the ducks like to mess with the eggs which means we end up with dirty eggs.

The nest box was something I put together out of scrap wood with no real plan other than a vision in my head, this is how most things come to light round here.  I’d realised that by turning the unit upside down, all I’d need to do then was add a sloping floor and a tray to catch the eggs.

The nest box, it’s worked well for nearly a year

So that is exactly what I did, flip it over, add some legs and a sloping floor with collection tray:

Simple

It had gone dark while I was working on the new unit, once done I lugged it back to the coop and woke the chickens and ducks up installing it in place.

The following morning was exciting, the hens went in to lay as normal and the eggs rolled into the collection tray as planned!  However, two out of the four eggs were damaged, presumably from the impact as it hit the wooden floor.

My solution to this was to staple some sample pieces of artificial grass to the sloping floor of the new roll-away nest box.  The idea being that it will cushion the fall of the egg which will then roll into the collection area that is filled with wood chips.

Front view of the roll-away nest box with the artificial grass installed
At the rear you can see the collection area that is filled with wood chips to stop the eggs bashing into the solid wood. There is a lid that covers the collection tray

This solution is now working great and the eggs are perfect.

Eggs ready for collection
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