Harriet has Ducklings!
Just over 35 days ago Harriet, our Muscovy duck starting sitting a clutch of 9 eggs. In previous years, as a flighty teenager, she had given up sitting after a week so this year I only let her sit if half her eggs and we ate the rest ... which were delicious. This year she had obviously matured and dutifully sat tight, only leaving the next for 2 short periods per day for a quick feed and breathe of fresh air.
On Thursday I was chatting to the lady at market where I buy my chickens as I saw she had Muscovy ducks for sale. I was a bit concerned that my male (the gentle Harold) may be getting too old and she rather worried me when she said male Muscovy fertility greatly reduces after 3-4 years old. Harold is around 8 years old. Was poor old Harriet sitting on duff eggs?
However on Saturday morning when I went to feed her I noticed the tiniest bit of yellow fluff sticking out from under her belly! At least one duckling had successfully hatched but there was no way Harriet was going to let me anywhere near to find out how many more there were. I quickly retreated and left her and her brood of as yet an unknown number to enjoy more peace and quiet.
By Saturday evening I thought I could see more fluff, both yellow and black but Harriet was not impressed with my presence and left the nest to attack my boot. With one eye on her and my boot taking a bit of a bashing I was able to quickly count duckings. One, two, three .... eight, NINE. On my goodness me, clever Harriet and obviously fertile Harold had hatched 100% of her clutch.
I have still not been able to get much of a good look at them but I guess by the time our next guests arrive in a few days they will be out and about. If you want to see them see them we do have some dates available through May, including half term week. Click on availability, above, for exact dates and book yourself a duckling-centric holiday in Normandy!