We were away yesterday and did not get home until it was almost dark. I checked all was quiet down by the Chicken Palace, fed the dogs and went to bed. It had been a tough day and all I wanted was some sleep.
This morning, the Meniere’s* was playing up, so I made my way rather gingerly down to top up feed and water for the animals.
Priti McDuckface was out and about. She has made a nest and is busy filling it with big, blue eggs, but until her clutch is complete, she will not sit on it all day every day. The eggs will be fine under the layer of dry grass she has covered them with to hide them from prying eyes. Last time I had a glimpse, there were four eggs in there.
Ducky McDuckface was pontificating cheerfully, not worried that Pablo Mallard was far too busy dabbling about in the water beneath the orange tree to pay a blind bit of notice to him. Every day, I empty out the big water bowls and refill them with clean water. The spilled water settles into the hollows around the enclosure and the ducks paddle about sifting for pieces of food. The gentle sipping and slurping is one of the pleasures of duck company that never fails to make me smile.
Quietly camouflaged between the pond and the fence by the shed, Louisa was still sitting on the nest, but there appeared to be a pale object just beyond it.
“Oh no!” I thought. “She has started ejecting the eggs!”
Because she has been sitting on hen eggs and we do not know if she has ever had a successful clutch of her own duck eggs, as far as we knew, anything could happen.
I looked a little closer and realized that the pale shape was a dear little fluffy chick.
Louisa was being very protective. By the time I had fetched the camera, she had tucked the chick underneath her chest and was whistling in a nonchalant “Nothing to see here” fashion. (Well, actually, her beak is the wrong shape for whistling, but you know what I mean!)
We know that she has been sitting on seven eggs, so in theory we could have seven chicks hatch.
To avoid any drowning mishaps, I decided to put the fireguard over the pond. By the time I had retrieved it from the chicken run, Louisa had forgotten I was about and had allowed security to lapse. There were three little fluff balls meeping and peeping and scrambling around her.
She does not appear to have any concerns about their duck credentials. The little ones seem very relaxed with her and all is well so far.
It may be a day or two before all the eggs that are going to hatch have hatched, so Louisa is still sitting quietly on the nest. I imagine that once all the hatching is done with, they might start to explore a little and it will be easier to take photographs. In the meantime, here are the first pictures of our first Cortijo Limonero babies.
* I suffer periodically from Meniere’s disease. Here is a link in case you are not familiar with it.