Good mother, bad mother, no mother!

Motherhood is a challenge and some mothers rise to the occasion better than others. Take Biggles for example; a beautifully constructed nest where she sits tight…

good mother

…and when she needs to leave it for a while, being a good mother means that she carefully covers her eggs with straw and down.

'musco-down'

The Nest Thief however, who you may recall from last year for causing a bit of a rumpus, is not a good mother. Her nest looks O.K. while she’s on it…

loose nest

… but when she leaves it there’s no careful covering, the poor eggs just left to sit on the cold floor of the coop. Also, several of the eggs have disappeared! Has she eaten them?!!

unprotected

Consequently, after sitting for four weeks, no chicks have hatched and just before me writing this, Kevin removed the eggs while Nest Thief was out and about. Hopefully she’ll give up within a couple of days. She wasn’t very successful last year in the motherhood role, hatching only four chicks, two of those dying. At the time we assumed it was because it was her first time but it would now appear that she’s a serial bad mother!

And then there’s the case of no mother at all! Look what we received in the post yesterday!

special delivery

It came from Haytor Reach Poultry in Devon, the opposite end of the U.K. and contained six, fertile, White Silkie eggs…

silkie eggs

Don’t they look cosy! After acclimatizing overnight, these eggs, along with 12 of our own are now safely ensconced in the incubator and hopefully at the end of three weeks, we shall be the proud owners of at least two females. These new additions to Garybuie are intended to make our poultry-breeding endeavours much easier and energy-saving. Silkies are, I think, the muscovies of the chicken world – great mothers! It’s always preferable to see chicks reared naturally, and will be a great saving on our part too, not having the cost of incubation and infra-red lamps for brooding. They are also bonnie wee birds and are happy to be handled, which will be great when grandchildren (or neighbours’ children) come to visit in the future!

PuffFinally, we also have a mysterious mother! Puff. She’s the duck who taught Biggles everything she knows about motherhood and usually lays in the adjacent nest box. Not this year. She laid four eggs in there and then stopped. So, it would appear that she’s laying away and no doubt that one evening in the near future, she won’t return home because she’ll be on her nest goodness knows where. It’s a bit of a worry because as you know, the muscovies can fly, so her nest could be anywhere. When she does go missing, we’ll have to perform a thorough search of the area and try to bring both her and her eggs to safety. (Good luck with that one, I hear you say!) If she’s fairly near to the garden though and appears to be safe from predators, then perhaps we’ll leave well alone!

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5 Responses to “Good mother, bad mother, no mother!”

  1. DIANE FAIRHALL Says:

    Lovely to hear of your trials and tribulations with eggs, chicks and mums! I know nothing but maybe Puff thinks you have enough babies on your hands already and would like to mother some herself?
    Ooh, only 20 days to go now!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Only Puff could answer that one I guess and she doesn’t tell me a thing! 20 days eh? You should just time it right to see the silkies hatch!
      Christine

  2. Le Petit Potager Says:

    We had silkies when I was growing up and you’re right they’re such good mothers.

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