Archive | May, 2013

Zippy and Ducklings have fun outside!

26 May

The little Runner Ducklings are growing at an incredible rate!

Today saw some glorious sunshine and it is time to let the little ones and Mummy Zippy out into the sunshine for some fun!

I think Zippy is grateful she can get a little break as these fast growing ducklings are quite a handful!



Zippy’s little ducklings!

25 May

Zippy the pekin hen has taken to motherhood once again like a duck to water!

This time, instead of brooding chicks, she is brooding 2 sweet little runner ducklings who hatched out last Saturday. Already the ducklings are growing fast and Zippy is wondering why her little ones are determined to splash everywhere, getting her and themselves wet through!

However, she is such a loving and caring mummy that she welcomes them back under her warm feathers to dry off.








Hatching Ducklings – Day 28!!!!

18 May

The day has finally arrived!!

4 weeks has gone by since we put the Runner Duck eggs in the incubator…

Just 4 weeks to go!


We candled the eggs at 2 weeks and found that only 4 were fertile.

On the eve of hatching day, a tiny pip appeared in one of the eggs…


Tiny pip, bottom right


The hours passed and the little crack became much bigger…


“Im a CUTE Duckling,
Let me out of here!!”


At 8.30am on Saturday 18th May, a cute little Runner Duck entered the world!

He was very sleepy (just like me) and a little out of puff after all that hard work but nevertheless, he was enjoying the warmth of the incubator and having a little snooze to recover! What a little cutie!!


Hello Little One!


A second egg out of the four had also began to pip. A good few hours passed and I started to worry. But by 3.00pm, the 2nd Runner Duckling had hatched!!! Yay!!!!


Little Sweeties!


Throughout the day, I have wondered backwards and forwards into the house to see if I can see any sign from the last remaining 2 eggs. Unfortunately, no sign of pipping can be seen. I turn the humidity up a touch and my fingers are tightly crossed.

Sometimes eggs can hatch late. I am not going to give up yet. There is still time. But for now, I have to give my 2 new little babies a nice warm, safe place where they can start their new life.

Zippy, the pekin hen, has been broody for 2 weeks. She has been sitting on 3 pot eggs, determined that these precious eggs which she has tenderly nurtured and loved will hatch into little chicks and grow strong and healthy. My hopes are to place the little ducklings under Zippy where she will bring them up and love them as though they are her own chicks. I just hope she does not notice they look slightly different to the chicks she has brooded in the past!

Tonight, at 9.30pm, I gently take out the 2 little ducklings from the incubator, placing the lid back on quickly to prevent too much humidity loss in hope the last 2 eggs hatch at a later date.  The little ones are strong and eager to see what is going on around them!


We’re off to meet our new Mummy!


C’mon We’re ready to go!!


Carefully, I reach in to take out an egg from under Zippy…

She has hidden them well and it’s difficult to find them at first. I feel I am being too slow and Zippy pecks me in disagreement that I am trying to touch her eggs. Finally I manage to collect all 3 pot eggs. I then gently lift the first little duckling and place it close to Zippy, trying to coax the little one to go under her tummy to keep warm. Zippy pecks in disagreement again and I worry she is not going to accept the newly hatched ducklings.

Clucking and pecking the little ones head, I wonder whether to take the duckling away from Zippy but I wait and watch, hoping that this will be ok.

Then, I  notice she is not actually pecking in aggression but instead is trying to pull the duckling towards her. The duckling is being a little slow and not sure what to do but Zippy is persistent and insists the little one must behave and get under her tummy where it is nice and warm. I continue with the 2nd duckling and the same scenario happens. Finally, after a little shuffling and grumbling, all goes quiet in the nest.

I go back after half an hour to check on the new mum and her babies…

All is quiet. Zippy is asleep and the ducklings are warm under her.

Now all I can do is try and get some sleep and prey that all is well.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises for a new day, I just know I will be up with the dawn chorus to check on how these little ones are doing!

Fingers crossed. I will keep you posted!!






Zippy’s Going QUACKERS!!

14 May

Zippy, my sweet buff Pekin wishes for little chicks again…

I tried to see if I could stop her broodiness as you can see but Zippy got the better of me again!

A week has gone by since  and the determination on her little face is increasing day by day as she nestles on some little pot eggs which I finally decided to place under her. Little does she know however the plan I have in store for her!

Day 24!


Sitting in my incubator are 5 potential Runner Ducklings waiting for day 28 to arrive. Zippy will have been sitting on her pot eggs for about 2 weeks when the ducklings finally hatch this Saturday, 18th May.

I am hoping to introduce the ducklings very carefully one by one at night when all is dark and quiet. I shall gently take out a pot egg from under Zippy, replacing it with a cute fluffy duckling until all ducklings are snuggled under their new mummy.

Broody bantams can raise ducklings well. It can, however, be quite alarming for the Mother Hen when her little cuties rush over to plunge themselves in water for their first swim! It will certainly be a challenge to see what Zippy makes of her new arrivals this weekend! A close and watchful eye will certainly be needed to make sure the new mummy welcomes her little brood of ducklings and cares for them like her own!

I am hoping she will not notice they look slightly different to the brood of chicks she raised so brilliantly in the past!

I do know one thing, these little Runner Ducklings will adore their mother if all goes to plan!


Good Luck Zippy!!



6 Week Old Chicks!

11 May

Another week has past…

We have had some glorious sunshine in the past few days and this has been the first time the little chicks have had their first adventure outside on the fresh grass!

Lemony Splicket was very interested in the little chicks…I think he sensed they were his own.





Chicks – 5 Weeks Old!!

2 May

Time is flying by so fast!! Days are hopefully getting warmer and the birds are singing the Summer chorus.

Meanwhile, in the chick brooder, the 2 pekins and 1 faverolles chick are growing well and full of mischief. The 2 pekins jump around each other whilst the faverolles chick, better known as Cheeks,  makes sure they all realize that there is only 1 top bird!

Thankfully, the days do seem much warmer now, so I am able to reduce the temperature in the brooder quite nicely and with the help from a thermostat, this makes acclimatizing the little ones a gradual and easier process. I am hoping that in 3 weeks time or so, the little chicks will not need any heat source at all, unless temperatures severely drop at night.

May has also seen me busy refreshing my 3 metre square run. It was a very hard job but I am pleased that it is now clear. I can start to see the little green shoots of hopefully to be a lush and tasty treat of herbs, grasses and clovers which the hens will adore. The bees and insects will enjoy it very much too!

After the sadness of loosing my last ex battery hen, the little chicks have given me back  my smile and keep my days very busy!  I am looking forward to many years of fun and joy with these little ones and one day they will become part of the flock with Lemony Splicket and his increasing henfriends, his much favorite at the moment being the delightful and very beautiful Maize Moo. However, I still think one of those pekin chicks is a cockerel and I will have to find him a home if this is the case. 2 Lemony Splickets would not be a good idea especially as I live up in a built up area! Not only would I have a fight for henfriends but also a crowing competition at the crack of dawn which would not please my neighbours! See what you think…

I hope you enjoy the chick pics. See if you spot a Lemony Splicket JNR!