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Hatching Eggs Using a Surrogate Hen

| 8/11/2016 10:36:00 AM

Surrogate Hen Hatching Eggs

Nearly three weeks ago, we were blessed to be able to walk out and discover four newly hatched Khaki Campbell ducklings. They were not being watched over and kept warm by a mother duck- however, a big Olive Egger hen had them nestled safely under her wing.

We love our ducks dearly, but our two females have never offered to sit on a nest. When one of our hens went broody, we decided to slip duck eggs under her, as we knew they would be fertilized. She was very protective over the nest, and did an excellent job in “sorting” out her eggs (rolling the bad ones out from under her).

I let them out for supervised play after they were able to stand firmly, and the hen would stand right there and watch over them. She remained close to them at all times, and was concerned enough that no other chicken could get close to them. However, we noticed something quite interesting, as she would let the ducks come over and check them out without so much as a ruffled feather. The ducks and chickens were raised together in their pen, so they freely came up and investigated the new babies.

Khakis are very sociable ducks, as we have written about in the past, and it was no surprise that they would come up behind me and gently tug at my shirt while peeking around at the ducklings. They have not offered to be motherly to them, but they are genuinely curious about the babies. The male could care less, and walks away to play in the kiddie pool!

After a few days, we separated the ducklings from the hen so that they could be raised and handled often to ensure they were all the more socialized and accepting of humans like their parents are. They do not like being separated, but otherwise they are very easy to hold!

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