Duck Update at Eco-Gites of Lenault
We have 3 Muscovy ducks. They are large ducks who, rather than laying eggs continually like hens, will lay a batch of eggs and then sit to hatch them. Other ducks breeds, like Indian Runners are better layers but go broody less often. However this suits us just fine as large Muscovies are what we breed as table birds for eating.
Over the last year things have not worked out well on this front. First let me introduce our ducks. We have our drake, Harold and 2 ducks, Harriet and either Hettie or Hilda. "Either?" you might well be asking? Previously we had one more duck but one night about a year ago she didn't come home to roost to the safety of the shed and we never saw her again. Presumably M Renard feasted well that night. Now both Hilda and Hettie were pure white and I could only tell them apart when they were side by side. I am sure that we are left with Hettie (the younger duck) but Simon is sure we have Hilda, the older one (and much better mother).
The picture above shows from left to right - Harold, Hilda, Hettie. You'll notice that Hilda's face is slightly paler than Hettie's and looking at our remaining white duck I am fairly sure she is the darker faced and younger Hettie.
Last year the 2 ducks did lay eggs but we decided not to keep them for hatching as both Harriet and Hettie are that rarity in the Muscovy Duck world - poor mothers! (and remember I am sure the white duck is Hettie). They lay well but give up sitting after just a week or so meaning we are left with a batch of dead eggs and no ducklings. This year they are older, though, so I have decided to see if they will go broody and sit for the designated 35 days. My plan is to allow the ducks to sit on half their eggs and I will take the other half for eating. On day one I leave the egg, marking it will a pencil cross and on day 2 I will take the new unmarked egg ... and so an and so forth until hopefully the duck who is laying goes broody and sits. At least this way we will get some eggs and may also get some ducklings if all goes well. To date Harriet is laying but Hettie/Hilda is not. Fingers crossed with this method we may have adorable ducklings like this by mid May.
If we do have ducklings and you'd like to see them for real we have availability on various dates in May, including half term week and 10th-19th June.