Old Lady Duck did it again!
After helping her daughter build a nest earlier this spring, Old Lady Duck hung around while her daughter brooded it and spent most of her days hanging out within sight of that nest as if waiting for the grandbabies to come. Alas, due to some first-time nesting mistakes by the new mom, at 30-odd days in it was pretty apparent that those eggs weren’t going to hatch. (I was able to foster a partially hatched abandoned egg to that mom and they are now living happily ever after.)
At about the same time I knew that the big nest was likely empty of live babies, so too did Old Lady Duck. One day she started building and laying eggs in a new nest, still within sight of her beloved daughter.
I said this before but I am still flabbergasted that she can even lay eggs at her advanced age. We guess she is at least 7-8 years old as she was an aged bird when we got her 4 years ago. As high production breed, Pekin ducks are not typically long-lived and certainly not a breed to lay into old age but there she was, filing up her new nest with eggs. Still, I wondered if they would be fertile.
After filling up the nest with eggs, Old Lady Duck settled into brooding them. She has some arthritis issues and can’t walk far distances without rest, so I made sure she didn’t have to go far for food or water and when she was up eating, I tried to add some treats for her in the form of strawberries. It just didn’t seem possible that this very elderly duck could hatch another brood. We were brutally hot a good portion of the last two weeks but instead of heading for the pond to cool off with the rest, Old Lady Duck faithfully stayed with her nest. I hoped and prayed her faith would be rewarded.
And it has been!
So far this morning she has 4 healthy ducklings hatched. 🙂 As you can see, even old, blind in one eye and arthritic, she is a fierce mama and I have no doubt these babies will have the best of care over the coming weeks.