Monday, April 26, 2010

Madcap Monday

"One of these things is not like the other..."

Meet Jemima and Betsy. Jemina is the Muscovy duck on the left and Betsy is the Columbian Rock x Rhode Island Red chicken on the right.

About a month ago, I noticed that the other ducks were picking on Jemima so at night, I put her on her own in the feed/prep area of the barn. Soon after, I noticed that she was stealthily building a nest behind the "cubby area" where we store hay (hence the name Jemima, after Beatrix Potter's character Jemima Puddle-duck, who tries to hide her eggs from the farmer's wife so she can hatch them herself).

Then came Betsy, who also liked to nest in strange places. I thought the two of them might get ornery with each other as while the ducks and chickens don't pick fights, they're certainly not chummy. It appears these two have worked something out.

A few days after these two started co-nesting, Betsy left for some power scratching in the barnyard. She ran out through the barn doors, wings flapping and comb twitching, and beelined it to Gall's morning manure pile as fast as her little chicken legs could carry her. She was on a mission: to scratch at all the undigested grain kernels in his poop. While she was engaged in her gross buffet breakfast, I got a chance peek at the nest.

The white eggs are Jemina's and the brown ones are Betsy's.

I wondered what would happen when the eggs started hatching -- chicks hatch after 21 days while Muscovies take 35 days -- but again I decided to let nature take its course.

Seems like I made the right choice this time.

Now what I can't figure out is, how did a Barred Plymouth Rock egg/chick get in to the nest???


Erin said...

LOL at the little chick in there, all I could think of was that kids' book "Are you my mommy?" .... too cute. It will be interesting to see what happens! P.S. I like the first empty post titled "M"... I have days like that too on blogger! said...

Yes, obviously need more coffee this morning!!!
The chick is very cute.. and is about a week old now. I didn't post anything sooner because I've had such a terrible time with natural hatching lately (I'll write about it later this week) that I didn't want to write about her one day and then announce her demise the next. She's quite peppy, this one! I just have to decide whether to move her out or not (but Jemima won't let me get anywhere NEAR her!)

David said...

Fiona, this is Old Nebraska Dave from Grit blogs. I’m so glad to see that you are back blogging again. I do enjoy your farm stories. It brings back many good memories of my youth. Most of all it tells me that life on the farm has not really changed much in 50 years. There’s still new life in the Spring. The arrival of the chicks in the Spring was always a big event. We, however, always ordered them through the feed store and never hatched any that I know of. We did have a few layers but most of our chickens went in the freezer after two months down the road. Mom always did all the processing and my job was to clean out the coop. Not really an exciting job especially in June or July. I never really gave much thought to chickens although Urban Chicken raising for egg production is really starting to get quite a following. Of course, city council interpretation of ordinances and unhappy neighbors are the obstacles to overcome in the urban setting.

I’m into gardening this year but no animals. I periodically am gone for a week to ten days at a time and it would be difficult to find urban dwellers to take care of animals. I have three major projects to work on this year so it should keep me more than busy.

I hope all your chicken experiences are good ones.

Old Nebraska Dave said...

Hey Nebraska Dave -- so great to hear from you! Thanks for checking in. We're having some chicken challenges this spring (that I'll write about soon) but I'm chaulking it up to experience!
As for being busy, I see you've been busy -- with your own GRIT blog! And I see you're already got quite a following -- congrats! I've been meaning to sit down and have a proper read and get caught up with all of your latest stories... it just seems that spring chores are keeping me busy! I'm just waiting for that rainy day. lol.

Mama Pea said...

I think there's definitely a children's book of your own in there somewhere, Fiona. That last picture of the little chick on top of Mama Duck is precious. If only humans could get along as well as animals!

Heidi said...

We had a Muscovy and a hen share a nest last summer, and a number of occasions where the hens were sneaking in and laying in the ducks nests when they were off having something to eat!

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