Weird family planning!

There’s plenty of family planning going on around the place at the moment. Polly Blue-tail appears to have been the only mother who planned it right; in a nest box in the duck house. Unfortunately, being a single parent, without eyes in the back of her head, has meant that she’s lost two of her offspring, probably to the dreaded crows.
ducklings Yesterday, Mrs Under-by hatched her new family of eight, an extra two having been sneaked in there after MY family planning of a ‘Max 6’ strategy! You may remember that her spot of bad planning was the fact that she chose a nesting-box in the Guinea Gang’s house, a foot off the ground! In order to avoid concussion of the wee mites when leaving the nest, we decided that some nice, soft straw should break their fall. Kevin went out first thing this morning to let the Guineas out. Soon after, Mrs Under-by took herself off for some ‘me time’, instructing the wee ones to stay put! The ideal opportunity then for Kevin to transplant the ducklings from box to straw, under the stern gaze of herself! On her return, it didn’t take long before she encouraged them out into the big, wide world where they met their cousins!


There was confusion for a while with the new kids not knowing who to follow and mother ducks scolding each other’s offspring! It’s interesting to see the difference in size, with Polly Blue-tail’s ducklings at three weeks old now.
Still with ducks, Puff has been settled on her nest for about a week, with Biggles still laying next door. Yesterday however, Puff decided to move into Biggles’ box, possibly because the ducklings had taken to sleeping with her and making a mess in there. So, the revised plan seems to be one of sharing!

Puff and Biggles

Planning with the Silkies involves ‘Musical Boxes’. Louise started to sit (on regular hen eggs once more) about a week ago. Then Thelma joined in.

Thelma and Louise

If they both leave the nest at the same time, the music begins and whoever returns first just plonks herself down on the first eggs that she sees!

Thelma and Louise

But the award for the worst planning of all goes to the Plymouth Rock hen, a first-timer. You’d think that all was well with this cosy looking nest…

Plymouth Rock

…but don’t be fooled! Two of the other hens are still laying in the same nest (which I remove) so a couple of eggs have got broken. The nest is also somewhat nomadic, moving to different positions in the coop. Sometimes she sits on the eggs, others she sits on the straw with no eggs. Somehow I don’t think she’s cut out for this motherhood malarkey!

And finally, a technique which seemingly involves no planning at all! The Guinea Fowl Technique. We’ve had about half-a-dozen eggs from them so far and not a nest in sight; just a single egg placed randomly on the grass or by a bush! I understand that they like to lay in a shallow depression in tall plants, well, everything’s so slow at coming on with such unseasonably, cold weather, that any formal nest-building has been put on hold!


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6 Responses to “Weird family planning!”

  1. leo murray Says:

    Spring will have her way whatever the weather!! Guineas always chaotic at start of laying… Seeking guidance… I would collect 2/3 eggs and hard boil… Mark with tiny ink spot… Really tiny. Great eyesight for the suspiciously different… Then set somewhere convenient for you but near where they hang out… This is where my ark things were useful.. Leave eggs reasonably visible to them and hope not crows… A haha moment should occur.. “This is where the other girls are laying” … guinea that is!! Usually lay 12 to 2/3 pm. Don’t check before and remove the unmarked they hopefully gift you for scrambles and omelettes to die for!! They will flit nests 2/3 times over season for no reason or because a broody ripening!! Don’t nest build till then just scrape more pronounced with use. The odd feather with eggs is clue to broody on the way! Often more than one so battle of wills ensues!! If you can’t find a wild nest you’ll soon hear the come to the nest,dead proud of myself call and locate that way. Love nettle patches!! Good luck! This human head guinea girl guidance worked for me. But I would still find secret nests with 20/30 eggs !!! All the best.. Gaye M

    • garybuie01 Says:

      I’ve (half) followed your advice Gaye with the ark arrangement. Kevin made one not long after the guineas came but we just put it in a random spot. This evening I’ve placed it by the hedge where they hold their town meetings! I haven’t managed the eggs yet as it’s been a problematical day with the new ducklings (bl**dy crows) and I’ve been busy with B and B things. The nettles around the place are starting to grow so we’ll keep a look out in the vicinity and I’ll get Kevin to make some more arks. He’s been too busy with the quail accommodations!
      I hope that you’re both well and enjoying the sunshine. I think that this is the worst May we’ve had since we moved here!

  2. pattisj Says:

    Too funny! A friend shared her kooky-chicken’s choices recently. Apparently, they have minds of their own. ??

    • garybuie01 Says:

      They sure do – in a ‘bird-brained’ kind of way! Never a dull moment though!

  3. Gerlinde Says:

    There seems to be a community spirit among your fowl. I enjoyed reading your story because it reminds me of the chickens on my mother’s farm. Good luck with all the little ones and I hope the weather improves.

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Glad that the story brought back memories Gerlinde. The story developed a sad edge to it yesterday though after several duckling deaths which I’ve written about in today’s post.

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