She was fancy, like her namesake, with a plume of feathers which made a glorious hat on her head, and now she is gone. It is only in times like these that you wish you had paid more attention, and at least have gotten a picture of your favorite duck, before it is too late. Maybe it’s not. She might be sitting on her eggs somewhere. This is the only picture I have of Mary Frances, she is on the upper left with the fancy hat on.
The other day I was in the “garden” which is now a wasteland where I have hopes for nothing to grow except chives and horseradish. I have lost the garden battle with the pitiful fencing, the bitter cold, the chickens, the pigs, the sheep and lastly I came upon poor Mary Frances there, with her feathers ruffled furiously as I approached to pick her up during a snowstorm to put her back in the coop, and she had made a depression in the earth in hopes of depositing some eggs that someone would not steal away from her.
This is what she and her siblings looked like last March.
It has been over a month since I began this post, and still no Mary Francis. Her two sisters made a secret nest in the barn last month and were laying lots of eggs, and even a chicken laid her egg in the nest.
I tricked them and replaced their eggs with some glass fake eggs, in hopes that they would keep laying their eggs and I could keep stealing them.
But alas, it only lasted for a day or so and then they began hiding them again in hopes I would not find them. They both kept their eggs hidden in a double nest and began laying on them faithfully a couple of weeks ago.
Today I go in the barn to check on them and I saw a baby duckling squirming around the eggs and ran to get my camera. Get ready for lots of quackers!
Slight problem when I took a closer look.
“What do you mean I am supposed to say quack?”
“I can fly like a duck and am sure I can swim!”
“If you take me away from my two moms I will be so lonely.”
Duck eggs take longer to hatch than chicken eggs and I know the poor thing would not make it if I left him in there. He is safe in a box in the house with food and water. We have foolishly let several chickens go broody and when their eggs hatch we can just stuff him under one of them and they won’t know the difference.
The moms were furious but then covered up their eggs again and settled right down. Soon we will have ducklings, and maybe some more chicks.
Update June 27. We tried putting Lady in the box with the chick to see if she would adopt her.
She wanted nothing to do with him. Since the other broody hens are sitting in next boxes, I figured that the one in the cattle trailer would be the best one to adopt the little one. This way he can learn to eat and drink while mom is still in her egg sitting trance. It worked like a charm and she started making her mama clucking noise and he wiggled underneath her to get warm.