Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Frugaldom Duck Population is Growing.


After setting a dozen duck eggs in the incubator on Saturday 11th June, we were hoping to see ducklings hatch around Friday 8th July. However, on Wednesday 6th July, when I stopped the auto-turner in the incubator, this is what appeared!

Along with the 10 eggs I got from a friend who has Campbells & Runner Ducks, I put 2 of the eggs from Phoebe & Joey into the incubator. One of these had hatched already.

Overnight on the 6th, early hours of the 7th, we had an almighty storm of rain, hail, thubder and lightning. At one point, the power went out completely but came back on again almost immediately. I got up to check the incubator was alright - could see the light on the thermostat and could hear the duckling squeaking away, so I had a peek inside. A couple more of the eggs had pipped!

By the time I got up this morning, a second chick was hatching, this time a dark coloured one. By mid-morning, number 4 was ust starting to emerge from its shell. You can just see the dark down emerging from the egg on the left of the photogrpah. You can also see that the egg right next to that has also pipped, so we're hoping for another duckling today despite these all being a day or so early.

I'm not sure why the eggs are hatching early, as I have the thermostat set at 37.5 degrees and a second thermometer is reading lower than that at the base of the incubator, so too high a temperature cannot be the problem. Humidity seems fine, water trough was topped up at the start of this week. Ducklings seem bright and healthy, so no apparent adverse effects.

 In the garden, the pond drainage project has been completed. The drainage system has been joined to the back, right hand corner of the pond, with all the pipes having been sunk below ground level, joined and tested to ensure the gradient is enough to draw away any overflow.

The ducks have had a great time following H up and down the garden as he dug the trench and any sound of running water brought them waddling, quacking and whistling along to see what was happening.

As soon as we started topping up the pond with the garden hose, they were straight back in, swimming around and very curious about the new drain.

Several attempts at flooding the pond were made, all to no avail, so the homemade frugal drainage system works just fine. Any flood water runs swiftly away and trickles out the overflow pipe and into the burn at the bottom of the garden.

Total cost of duck pond project so far is just under £25, which is what it cost to buy the 4m x 4m pondliner and have it delivered. All we need to do now is level the ground around the pond and invest in some paving. I'd like this to go all the way around the pond to form a path that can easily be swept clean but will also protect the edge of the pondliner. I have already planted a row of small willows between the pond and the wall in the hope that I can train them over to create a shaded area for the ducks and leave enough space in the corner of the orchard for a small seating area.

At the bottom of the garden, 'rubble mountain' is slowly disappearing and beginning to take on a semblance of a 'building spot' for the summer house. We no longer have a huge pile of rocks, boulders, rubble and concrete. Still loads to do and plenty of rubbish to be removed, but it's edging towards becoming a useable space.

Still getting strawberries aplenty, along with blackcurrants. I really can't think of anything that I could complain about it not growing, as everything is.

I managed to get one of the grape vines that Aldi had on offer and then I received a lovely chilli pepper plant in a gift from friends. I traded my surplus leek and brussel sprout seedlings for purple sprouting broccoli and more lettuces, I've one of the Himalayan Honeysuckles dug up (it had to be moved to allow the drainage pipes to be laid) and that's going to the friend who gave me the duck eggs.

Since starting this post, the fourth duckling has now fully emerged. I've quickly removed the empty shells to allow more space, just in case more hatch soon. :)

I can now see that there will be 1 white duck, 2 black ducks and a grey/blue/lavender duck that I thought was going to be a brown one.

I hatched out my first chicks from eggs in an incubator in 1986 and, despite that, it is as exciting today as it was back then. I think ducklings must be my favourites, though.

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Edited in - we now have 7 ducklings hatched, 3 of them are going to be white. :)


  1. ducklings are adorable but oh so mucky!

    I nearly got divorced after raising 16 in the kitchen

  2. ohn, ducklings are adorable despite being mucky and I reckon I know plenty of folks who would choose the livestock over their partners if push came to shove.

  3. It must be so exciting to watch that new life come into the world!

    Such lovely little things!

  4. Anne, yes it is exciting, especially when you haven't any idea of what colours the ducklings will be - this was a mixed dozen.

    By late last night, we had 9 ducklings hatched. A 10th attempted to hatch but died in shell, which is always a bit or a reminder that things can go wrong at any stage. The remaining 2 eggs don't appear to be doing anything, so I'm assuming that they won't hatch. 9 out of 12 isn't so bad.


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