I’ve learned this so many times, yet somehow I forget it every now and then. With death, comes life. I don’t know if this is true everywhere, but it certainly is here.
I was collecting eggs just a second ago, avoiding Mini’s body, when I heard a strange crying. Not strange, familiar. Really? A clutch? Did some hen succeed in hatching eggs?
The answer, of course, was yes. Well, someone succeed with at least one egg. A single chick was peeping- very loudly I might add- all my it’s self, it’s mother being away on a water run/waddle. Yes, the ‘hen’ was a duck. And this was a chick. A hen must have laid one of her eggs in this duck’s clutch.
There were three problems, however. One, there was only one, lonely chick. Two, the duck wasn’t paying any attention to the chick. And three, the duck had laid her eggs under the milking stanchion, the base of the enemy rats, which love to steal chicken and duck food. They also have a taste for little chicks and ducklings.
So, I coaxed the chick out of the nest using a net, found some chick feed, grabbed an old hamster cage, and took it to my room, where it is now chirping very loudly with my parakeets, who have no idea what is going on.
I was just now talking the matter over with my grandma, saying how odd it was that only one egg hatched. She said “what if duck eggs take longer to hatch?”. Of course! Chicks hatch after 21 days (exactly 3 weeks) of incubation; duck eggs take 28 days (exactly 4 weeks). Looking at the beginnings of feather growth, and lack of an egg tooth, I know the chick is at least 2 days old. So that means I have 5 days, and then the duck will get off her eggs and leave the rat base, and I can give her back her chick. I’ll tell you what happens in a couple of days!