Cleverness Runs In The Family

Ducks_SnowWe’ve been trying to figure out which of the Muscovy ducks is laying, and we know Coraline is for certain. The other morning, we found 3 eggs in the duck coop. Based on history, we concluded that one was laid by Coraline, but who laid the other two was a mystery.

Without seeing who’d laid the eggs, we speculated that Phoebe (Ty’s girl) would likely be one of the layers, as would Pru. Piper is the fourth duck, and she has the brown head with little caruncling. She just seems a bit less mature than her sisters.

There were no eggs in the duck coop this morning. When we ushered the ducks from the coop to the barn (along the newly-shoveled path), though, Phoebe walked back from the barn to the chicken coop like a duck on a mission. She headed up the ramp but stopped at the top. Like Coraline, she clearly knew where the nest boxes were. We recently stapled a plastic mil flap over the coop pop door to try to keep out breezes when it was open, and neither the chickens nor the ducks seem to like it. Phoebe wouldn’t enter through the plastic flap. To our chagrin, she went up the ramp twice and turned away twice.

Chasing ducks in the snow is not fun, but we knew Phoebe wanted to lay her egg in the chicken coop, so we finally caught her and put her in through the big front door. She immediately ran to a nest box and climbed in. When we checked later, her beautiful egg was in the nest box. She apparently also figured out how to get back out through the “flap”. The bonus to the ducks laying in the chicken coop nest boxes is that the eggs stay clean – the ones laid in the duck coop get muddy and sometimes poopy because the ducks sleep there, too. The ducks also tend to cover the eggs up in their coop so they’re more difficult to find.

We’ve ordered some chocolate Muscovy hatching eggs and they should be arriving early next week. The cold temperatures and the unknowns of postal service handling may result in a low hatch rate, but we’re determined to try to expand the flock and add some genetic diversity. Plus, is there anything cuter than a duckling?