Category: FarmDiary

New ducklings are born!

New ducklings are born!

All our visitors know that when we say our ducks are “free range” we truly mean free range. In fact they are let out in the morning and they set off on their daily duties of slug and snail control. They know the plants that are likely to yield them the best crop and set off early before the slimy critters disappear back into their daytime hide outs.
They also know our guests are worth a visit, and in some way I feel the ducks watch people in a similar way to people observing animals at a zoo. They often appear at the patio windows when we’re in the house and basically watch us funny caged creatures behind the glass.
Last month we were delighted when Otta, our blue Swedish duck became broody, sitting on a small clutch of eggs.
Something inside of her told her that this was the thing to do, though she had no terms of reference. Each day she’d carefully turn her eggs, and on those rare occasions when she felt tempted to take a wander (particularly on a wet day) she’d carefully arrange straw over the nest.
Jeremy (her Aylesbury partner) stayed with her throughout. guarding the door, and missing out on his daily wander. For such active ducks this was quite a sacrifice. They would normally waddle miles in a day, always on the go and busily feasting on anything that came into their path.

We carefully noted the day she started to sit, and marked when we expected to see ducklings. Sure enough the sound of ducklings cheeping could be heard under her as she continued to sit on a few straggling eggs. She only had three duckilings, but it was amazing to watch the process with these first time parents.
It was as if they had read the “Being the perfect parent” book and taken in every detail.
Never having been a mum before, and with no other ducks to watch and learn from, she allowed her instincts to guide her. Jeremy likewise read what was happening and knew to wait with her and guard her. She knew when the task was finished, and which eggs to discard, and Jeremy, now a proud Dad, knows when to sit and watch the ducklings to give Otta a break.
It is times like this, when we see the miracle of creation all around us on our farm, that we feel there has to be a creator. Something that allows ducks to know how to do things they’ve never been taught, tadpoles to know how to react to their continuously changing body without any parental instruction and us to bear our own babies.
What an incredible world we live in when we stop to observe it!