So this post is a bit of a duck ramble so you may wanna miss it if ducks bore the stuffing outta you. If not, read on!
So an interesting thing is going on in my newly minted duck ownership… I’ve got a broody duck. I really don’t want ducklings so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the interwebs on how to break the broody and apparently Muscovies are really broody ducks (dammit). The general suggestion was to break up the nest and routinely take any eggs laid. Well the taking of the eggs which I have been doing daily since they started laying has led to a different problem with the Snow Queen but I’ll get to that in a sec.
Maisie has been sitting on her nest for the past week and on Saturday afternoon I noticed that during the nightly feed and lockup that the broody biatch was attacking the Snow Queen for food which she has never done up until now. She only generally picks on Joan so I’m assuming it’s the broodiness and probably the fact that she’s starvacious as she hasn’t been getting off the nest all day and only comes out for food during the night feed (and then helping herself at the feeders). So I was thinking that I could break up the next when she came out for food I couldn’t get her off the nest so… I kinda removed the nest from under her including two eggs. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She wasn’t very happy about it, I used a rake as she is an attack duck when on the nest. Quite rightly too. I feel really bad about it but it just has to be done a) for the no ducklings thing and 2) so that she starts foraging and eating with the others again. Monday morning when I went to let them out in the morning she came out happily enough and I actually locked the coop so she couldn’t get back in there and she moped a bit but then went foraging with the others.
Cue me breathing a sigh of relief too early…. Yesterday morning she didn’t come out and was sitting just inside the coop door on eggs. 😦 I tried to shoo her out of the door but she wasn’t having a bar of it. I had to get the rake again. I’m hoping she associates the rake with all the bad stuff and not the person on the end of the rake. Anyway after a bit of a scuffle I managed to get the two eggs and get her out the door so that I could lock the coop up again. She hadn’t built a nest yet but I did rake out the straw just in case. I feel really rotten for her. But she just can’t be broody, I know it’s natural and all that but I’m not having it. I’d really welcome any other suggestions on how to stop this behaviour or whether I’m doing the right thing. From everything I’ve read I’m doing the right thing but it just feels bad yknow. Hopefully I’m not traumatising her too much. Last night when I locked them all up and opened up the coop she made a beeline for it and went straight inside, my heart dropped. But this morning she came out and was acting kind of normal. No eggs anywhere in the coop though so she’s probably going to do as the others and hide them.
The Snow Queen was laying them in the box but I think she took offense to me removing the eggs every day. She started flying out of the coop early in the morning and was laying them in a box under the house where they like to hide during the day. I accidentally discovered her climbing out of the box one morning and when I crawled under to look in the box I found 6 eggs in there. Since she was busted she hasn’t laid any eggs in there and I have noooo idea where she’s laying them. I’ve tried waking up early to spy on her but no luck yet. She’s taken to flying on top of the coop in the mornings and I assume that she flies out afterwards.
This morning I got them out early (even earlier than their normal time as it’s daylight savings since Sunday) and I sprung Joan trying to fly out of the coop. The Snow Queen was already on the roof poking around up there. AND the best part… Maisie was out and about and one of the first to walk out of the coop so I hope that I’ve broken the broody. I locked up the coop anyway just in case and I’ll probably keep doing that for a week just to be sure but I’m really hoping that it stops.
Oh and I forgot to add in the last post that when the bestie and the monsters were here we also found a turtle. So that’s another one for the Spot the Wildlife list 🙂