Is broodiness really contagious? Coraline’s ducklings are now seven weeks old, and another Muscovy duck has gone broody. This time, it’s Coraline’s pal Phoebe. Phoebe looks a lot like Coraline, minus the white neck band, and has a gentle, low-key personality.
All three of the other ducks have shown some signs of broodiness, but Phoebe has been committed to her (daily) egg. She made a deep nest in the adults’ coop and has been returning there every day after she has breakfast and some water, looking yearningly at the coop. We usually shut the duck coop during the day to keep chickens out or they get in there and scratch the straw out the door. After watching her go through this routine for more than a week, we put 10 duck eggs in the coop to see if she’d sit on them. She rolled one into her nest and sat on it (it was a herculean task, since she had to roll it over a lip between the nest box and her nest in the main part of the coop). We figured it was just too much work for her to move the rest, so we placed the other 9 under her and she settled right on them.
The true test occurred the next morning: after the coop door was opened, she came out with the others and made a beeline for breakfast. We wondered whether she’d return to her eggs or just forget them. Later, we saw a pullet peeking out from the doorway of the duck coop, raising concern that Phoebe hadn’t returned. When we looked inside, though, she was there, napping on her eggs. She just wasn’t particularly concerned about the nosy pullet.
We’re confident Phoebe will be a great mother, just like Coraline, and her ducklings will benefit from being “shown the ropes” by their duck mom. Now, Phoebe just has to sit on those eggs for 33 more days…