No duckings this year, I said. We have enough frigging ducks I said. If any duck gets broody, I'm going to take away the eggs and make omelettes instead.
Then two days ago, this happened...
Ronna the duck went broody, built herself a feather-lined nest, and assumed the position. Ah yes, I remember that look of hatred from last summer, when Eugenia had babies and made her daily mission to try to kill me. Dilated pupils, steely gaze...
So I went down there yesterday morning, all resolute and tough, my egg basket in hand. I reached under the indignant Ronna, who gave a few outraged cheeps. I felt four eggs. Ronna shifted a little but stood her ground, spread out over her future babies like a feathery pancake.
She looked at me.
I looked at her.
I said, "I cannot steal your babies!" and removed my hand.
Gordon was away in Montreal last night. I emailed him. I wrote, "I'm letting Ronna keep four eggs. But that's IT!" He was fine with that. We had a lot of fun with the ducklings last summer!
This morning I went down to duck coop.
FIVE eggs. One more than permissible. I took it in my hot little hand. Then I put it back. And walked away, shaking my head.
This afternoon there were six eggs. Half a dozen is a nice round number, and I SWEAR I will take the seventh when it appears tomorrow!
Ronna just sits there while I root around underneath here. She is far less violent than Eugenia, who drew blood on my hand last year when I got too close to her nest.
So there are ducklings in our future. But no more than six!!
Charlotte the hen snuck in to steal food today. Ronna was not bothered...
I can't say she picked the best part of the duck house in which to set up maternity shop. It's right next to one of the feeders, which is a high-traffic area. Lots of jostling for position. I was thinking of moving her and her nest, but instead I will do what I did last time: wait until the babies hatch, put them in a bucket, and move them and Mama to their own private accommodations.
Yes, I do have "sucker" etched across my forehead. But no one else is getting away with motherhood down there this year!! Ronna can have her moment in the mommy-sun.
Meanwhile, it was incredibly hot here today. 29C/84F on April 16th is just bizarre. Amy Winehouse (who is a drake) took the opportunity to have a bath and long, drawn-out grooming session...
That patch of yellow on his butt is his preen or uropygial gland. The yellow oil is also on his chin.
You've heard of acting like a headless chicken (speaking of which, have you heard of Mike the Headless Chicken?)... voilà! (Temporarily) headless duck!
Damp and happy in the sun.
With duck-poo-eating dog in background.
Fluff up the old wing feathers!
Another scritch of the head...
... scratch of the armpit (wingpit?) and he's good to go!
The hen prefers a simple dirtbath.
Occasionally I let the chickens out to hang with the ducks in their yard. They get along quite well.
Errol Flynn the rooster was his usual handsome self.
And the ducks were happy.
So yes, I lied. Barring some unfortunate egg tragedy, there will be ducklings this year.
Just not twelve, like last year.
PS: Did ya check out our poutine review on my friend Ronna's (the person after whom this duck is named) Poutine Chronicles? And if you have a review of your own, submit it to her at the email address on the Poutine blog!