Two of my ducks recently spent over a month sitting together on a heap of eggs. Last week, when the ducks had nipped down to the pond for a splash and refresh, I peeked into the shelter and discovered that the heap had diminished to only six eggs. We’ve been losing most of our duck eggs to crows and it seems that a pesky crow had also been raiding the nest as well.

The next evening I spied a duckling peering out from under a wing and it looked as though another egg was starting to hatch. The following morning, instead of staying on the nest as they usually did, both ducks disappeared to the pond with the others, which seemed a little odd as there were no ducklings with them.They left four eggs in the nest and a half hatched egg with a dead duckling inside and no sight of a live duckling. As the ducks showed no signs of returning (my ducks are terrible mothers) I took the four eggs inside. I deduced that two contained ducklings so I left them under a desk lamp and went out to get the half hatched egg so I could dispose of it. But, the [insert any expletive here because I probably used it] crow had beaten me to it.

day old duckling
day old duckling

A couple of days later one of the eggs under the lamp hatched to reveal a little black duckling. My daughter Ruth immediately decided she should have this duckling and that when it was older it could walk with her to work, spend the day on the pond and then walk home with her. To those of you familiar with the novels in the Gamache series, it will come as no surprise that I promptly named the duck Rosa.

Rosa and Ruth

We kept Rosa in the box on the kitchen dresser for a few days and Ruth took great delight in letting her swim in the sink or taking her outside where Rosa would follow her around. But Ruth seemed reluctant to take Rosa home and I was getting more than fed up with a duck in my kitchen, not least because she was a great distraction and time waster.

open farm sunday

Fortuitously, one of the ladies who keeps a horse on the farm said that her school would be happy to raise the duckling, provided that we would take it back when it matured. Before she could change her mind (though giving Ruth time to say her good-byes and Rosa time to do a little Open Farm Sunday promotion) I handed over the duckling so it can take its place in school. I’m sure the children will love her (or him) and it won’t be long before she returns.


Meanwhile, a much more exciting hatching – a gorgeous grandson. It’s a bit of a shock to suddenly become one of the “older generation” and I’m not at all sure that I’m prepared for it.

32 thoughts on “Hatched

  1. Congratulations Anne! Babies hands always make me broody and I shall navigate away as quickly as I can 🙂 I have seen a lonely duckling on the canal near me. It seems to be abandoned but is growing. There must be a lot of bad duck mothers out there. Enjoy the baby cuddles.

  2. Many congratulations Anne and thats a gorgeous hands photo. You did make me smile too with your duckling tale, I have a daughter like yours.

  3. Sorry to read about the ducks, but how wonderful to have a grandson. Congratulations. He will probably be much more of a distraction than the duckling. Sam x

  4. Six paragraphs until you drop into the conversation that you have a grandson! I was reading it beginning to wonder if you were actually going to mention it at all 🙂

    Commenting in my capacity as Great Aunt Josephine.
    (I think the title of Great Aunt is perhaps a little ageing for someone in her 40s, I am nonetheless going to use it at every available opportunity.)

  5. Congratulations! I can understand it coming as a shock to be a grandparent, but you can have the joy of the children and spoil them a little, then give them back.

  6. Congratulations! As you know I am in a similar predicament re. the alteration in status … I know I am old enough to be a grandmother but I really don’t feel old enough, yet there my grandson is, 12 days old now. The cuddling of grandson bit, that, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, is a total delight 🙂

    1. You (usually) make a conscious decision to become a mother but nobody asks you if you’re ready to become a grandmother – they just thrust it upon you. There are, as you point out, many advantages to the status though.

  7. I would not have thought ducks would be such bad mothers! It is indeed a wonder, as you said.

    Congrats on the new grand-baby!

    1. I don’t know if ducks hatch off so many ducklings at one time because they’re such bad mothers that the chances will a few will survive or whether they have so many ducklings that they can’t possibly cope with them all and that makes them bad mothers.

  8. Wonderful news that you have become a grandparent Anne. There is no more enjoyable occupation in my eyes. We’re never prepared…just jump right in and enjoy! Your mother duck story brings to mind Beatrix Potter’s Jemima Puddleduck.

  9. Congratulations on your grandson! Goodness, I had no idea that ducks were bad parents. There’s a pond near where I work and yesterday there were two tiny ducklings alone in the algae … Now geese, at least the wild kind, they know how to monitor their goslings.

  10. A warm welcome to your new little grandson Anne. I was all caught up in your duck story (which was rather heart-breaking, by the way) and wasn’t expecting at all to receive such exciting news! 🙂 Congratulations!

  11. Congratulations on the new grandson. And great rescue of the little duckling. Your duck mother doesn’t sound like the famous one in our children’s book based in Boston – Make Way for Ducklings.

Comments are closed.