Yes, we have a new family addition. No, it’s not human or canine. Lookit!
Meet Petey, the newest member of our family! Petey is the duckling child of Little Jimmy Dickens –
and Roger Ann.
Mary Ann, my most reliable broody hen, hatched this cute thing.
Some of you may be wondering what one does with a duckling whose mother is dead and who has been hatched, sans siblings, by a chicken. First, one keeps the duckling away from these beasts:
They played squeak toy with our very first hatchling. The ducks never forgave them for it. Even now Jimmy lowers his head and charges every time the dogs are near. I don’t blame him a bit.
Ducklings are brought into the house as soon as they’re found to be hatched. Yesterday I walked out to see how the hens were doing, changed out their food and water, gave Ginger’s neck a scratch. Mary Ann stood up and this little guy was under her butt.
I scooped it right up and brought it in. Got out the big bin, pine shavings, waterer, duckling crumbles and the drop light with the 150 watt bulb. Ready, set, go!
As I’m typing, the duckling is burrowed in my hair on the back of my neck, sleeping. Keeping them warm enough when they’re little is a big deal. Making sure they get enough sleep (in other words, making sure they aren’t being handled too often) is also a big deal. So little Petey is sleeping in a warm, dark spot, content.
Little Petey is a nibbler, like its dad. It nibbles my earrings, necklace, fingers, chin. Cutest thing ever. Not so cute when they get older and try to hurt. But adorable when it’s affectionate nibbling.
The biggest issue with the ducklings (this is the third hatching, the eighth duckling)? Keeping them in the house. Y’all, these little things are the cutest critters ever. EVER. The first week of their lives I can’t recommend ducklings highly enough. After that they’re just noisy, stinky, gross. We keep them on the dining room table the first week, then move them to the garage the second week. by the the third week, they’re outside in a cage during the day. If it’s too cold at night, they come back into the garage. By the fourth week, they’re starting to get the downy feathers, I think. We’ll see.
I found a simple site that explains more about baby ducks, if anyone is interested in raising them. You can also ask me questions. I’ll tell you what I know, which is limited.
One of the most special things about this baby is its birthday. Last year on October first, my husband brought hatchling Jimmy home from the feed store, then Roger. The three share a birthday. And this is the last of Roger Ann’s babies. I’m so glad it hatched. 🙂
Until I write again …