Phoebe had been sitting on 10 eggs (collected from all the laying ducks) for about a week when Piper decided she was going broody, too, and wanted to share the eggs. The two sat side by side, happy as clams. They created two adjoining nests, with Piper rolling some eggs into hers. It was fun to see them sharing the long, unglamorous task.
Unfortunately, the peaceful sharing ended recently. While out working, we heard a ruckus and saw Phoebe and Piper fighting. Piper, the more dominant, chased Phoebe out of the broody house. Poor Phoebe was frantic, trying to get back to her eggs.
Phoebe was the first broody, so we maneuvered Piper out of the pen,let Phoebe back on the nest, and closed off the run. Piper was not happy. She paced outside the run, trying to get back in. Phoebe settled back on the eggs.
Later, we found an empty eggshell in the broody pen. We don’t really know what happened, but it was probably broken during the broodies’ struggles. Down to 9 eggs.
The next day, we found another egg floating in the water tub in the broody pen. It had a large hole in it, but we could see an embryonic duckling inside. Sadly, there was nothing we could do for it. Down to 8 eggs now and just a little less than 2 weeks to go until hatch. Lesson learned: regardless of how cooperative everyone may seem initially, co-brooding isn’t a good idea. Hopefully, Phoebe will still have a good hatch…she’s been a devoted mother so far.