Saturday, August 10, 2013
One reason my younger daughter was eager to get home from a trip has to do with a certain female mallard named Swee' Pea, who decided a couple weeks ago that it was a good time to make a nest in the chicken/duck coop. She sits there for long periods, taking periodic breaks to get water and food. The contents of the nest are kept warm during these breaks by a blanket of down.
Before leaving, my daughter shined a light through one of the eggs and detected motion in what looked like a reddish cloud in the egg. She left clear instructions, just in case our friends who took care of the ducks while we were gone didn't notice the well-disguised nest.
"DO NOT DISTURB ME AND MY EGGS"
The sign clearly worked, because Swee' Pea and eggs were safe and sound when we returned. At this point, the ducklings are moving about in the eggs, their motions detectable by 13 year olds but not yet by adults. Though this is largely a take-things-as-they-come approach to having birds in the backyards, there are questions to ask and decisions to be made. If we actually do end up with ducklings, do we separate them from Swee' Pea and raise them in a bathtub in the house? Or do we separate off a portion of the coop for her to raise them? How will the other birds behave around the ducklings? Will the male, Ronnie, play any role? I'm interested to see if the mother will promptly march the newborns off to the nearest minipond, to get acquainted with the joys of water.