Sunday, April 12, 2009

Head Start

This is my Cayuga hen going back to work.
It's a lonely job but someone has to do it.

Wednesday I went out to the barn to check on Jessie one of the Jacob sheep that we acquired last fall who is due to lamb soon. While unlatching the gate one of my 2 female Cayuga ducks came flying around the curve of the drive, quacking to beat the band. The thought crossed my mind that she might have a nest somewhere. The girls do this to let you know they are hungry from sitting around generating enough heat to hatch the nest of eggs that they are incubating. It's like they are saying...."wait, wait, wait for me". Sometimes if you are late feeding, I swear it sounds like they are telling you off. They eat like they are starving,wash their face in a bucket and waddle back to where they came from. Still I was busy w/other stuff(imagine) and I forgot about it until I was showing the lambs to my mom on Thursday and she did the exact thing again. So we got to poking around and found her nest in the Pampas grass. Today I took some photos. You can see that there is some fencing around the grass. We do this because these Pampas grass clumps are favorite nesting places for the ducks. They are also favorite places for the dogs to get a nice egg breakfast. The fencing lets the ducks in and keeps the dogs out. It won't deter skunks or raccoons but they don't usually venture that close to the yard where the dogs are. It does the trick. SO it appears that we have a head start on the duck project. We will be placing our order for outsourced ducklings on Monday which is when we also plan to go and pick up the Polycarbonate panels for the greenhouse/Sun dried Tomato project. I captured these 3 photos when she got off the nest for a minute. You can see in the 3rd one that she is not quite resettled and I got bitten for my efforts...I mean really, who wants there picture taken while they are concentrating on having 9 babies?(Don't even make a Nadia joke) All kidding aside, these ducks are fearless mothers and will die trying to defend their brood both before and after they are out of the eggs. They will grab your hand w/their beaks and will bite so hard that you can pick them up because they are holding on and while they are doing that, they will beat you w/their wings. The incubation process for ducks is 28 days I am excited, I love it when the ducklings start waddling around.
Cayuga eggs vary from black to green to
off white. I would guess that some other duck
has been laying in her nest because the green one
is bigger than the rest. She is not happy in this second photo

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