OMG OMG OMG.
How excited can I get about ducklings? Two have hatched today in my garden. I saw their dark brown fluffy bodies and beautiful shiny eyes, and heard their cute cheep cheep. Seeing them peer out from their nest was almost as lovely as seeing a new baby born, looking up from her mother’s breast. (Actually, newly hatched ducklings are fluffier and less gooey – but not nearly so emotionally heartwarming).
We’ve had ducks for a while. I wanted to hatch some, and I wanted it to be as natural as possible. I knew that newly hatched ducklings imprint onto that which they see move, so they need their mummy around when they hatch, in order to follow mummy duck around the garden. I didn’t want ducklings in a box. I wanted them stumbling over stones and rocks, following mummy frantically and freely.
So we waited. And waited. No signs. These ducks have been bred for eggs, not breeding, so I guessed that their natural instincts had been bred out. And I wondered, while putting the washing out, how quickly instinctive birth can be lost after generations of caesarean sections?
Anyhow, we tried all sorts of other things. Getting chicken hens to sit on the eggs, using a home made incubator, using a posh incubator. To no avail.
Then, suddenly, mummy had made her very own nest, and was sitting on nine eggs! It wasn’t where we wanted her to be – but she was so well hidden that we realised she wasn’t in danger from foxes. We were delighted. But not as delighted as we are now that they have also hatched!
Clever mummy. And to think that we lost faith in mother nature and her ability to create fabulous new life just like that! Our classes help us to put that faith back, and as a doula, I have to work at keeping the faith. I can’t believe I let it waiver with my mummy duck. She has taught me to keep the trust no matter what the situation!