A Duck And A Down-Lined Nest

Muscovy Duck on NestOne of the Muscovy ducks has been behaving a bit strangely. We saw her circling the duck coop the other day, as if she were looking for a way in (we have to keep the door shut after they come out in the morning or the chickens scratch the straw out). We opened the door and she rushed in, so we assumed that she needed to lay an egg.

The next morning, all the ducks rushed out of the coop…except for Coraline. When we looked in, she was in a nest box, but it was unlike any nest we’d seen to date. She’d dug down in it until only her head and tail could be seen, and it was lined with soft, fluffy down. An amazing nest.

Coraline didn’t leave that nest all morning, despite curious duck and chicken visitors. She did come out for a few minutes in the afternoon to bathe and grab a bite to eat, then she marched back and settled herself back into the nest. Convinced that she was broody, we slipped a couple of eggs we had collected from the nest over the last couple of days. Coraline wasn’t fazed, and she just tucked those eggs gently under her.

After the unsuccessful attempt to incubate Muscovy eggs, it’s exciting to know that she wants to hatch some. Muscovy eggs have a reputation for being very difficult to incubate because of the special conditions created by a mother duck, like daily cooling and wetting (via the feathers damp from a swim).

Muscovy hens are known to be broody, and will apparently hatch all kinds of eggs besides their own. With a 35-day incubation period, we won’t see any ducklings for over a month…but it will be worth the wait.