A chorus of loud chirping is heard from behind the door of the duck coop.

Twelve fuzzy, brown khaki Campbell ducklings have joined a somewhat mystified Millie, who for the past few days has been all alone.

This past weekend, another predatory raccoon crawled on top of the coop and found a narrow slit to enter. We thought Millie, Tillie and Billie would be safe from danger if we locked them inside the coop each night.

But alas, raccoons are extremely intelligent animals. The predator made its way in and killed and ate parts of my two wonderful ducks. A trap is set right outside the pen with the hope that it will be caught. So far, no luck.

We’ve come to thoroughly enjoy the nutritious and tasty eggs Millie and Tillie laid every day, so we looked around for some young ducks who would eventually start laying and provide us with these wonderful, natural treats.

And despite the trauma of losing her two mates, Millie has continued to present us with an egg a day.

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I wonder if she’s thinking she did something wrong. She’s constantly surrounded by the little ones, and often high-tails it to the back of the coop to try to evade them.

Twelve fluffy babies can present quite a presence and a pretty strong force. They all seem to be doing well, and soon, I will let them into the pen so they can have more room during the daylight hours.

In the meantime, with all this cold, damp weather, we’ve hooked up a heat lamp to help them stay warm.

This is my first time buying baby birds. Millie, Tillie and Billie arrived full grown, and all the goslings I’ve had have been hatched from my female geese.

So far, we have just two goslings from Dufey. They are growing like weeds in their little pen with their mother and Seb. But there may be others coming soon.

Plum Blossom and Susie Q have been sitting on their nests in the goose coop for two weeks. If the eggs are going to hatch, it will be in another two weeks.

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Finny and Shamus, who could very well be the fathers, frequently post themselves just outside the coop and keep a close watch on the geese. They are becoming good little fathers-to-be.

Both have declined a chance to leave the pen and graze for clover and dandelion greens. They’ve even hesitated to leave their posts when I come out the back door with a handful of celery or lettuce.

Seb, the old man of the flock, and his brother, Sam, who met his death last fall, always stayed close to the females while they sat on their clutches.

A couple of weeks will tell. If an egg is going to hatch, it takes about 28 to 30 days of the mother sitting almost constantly. Plum Blossom and Susie Q occasionally come out to eat or drink, but I often bring the food to them.

I must rig up another small pen to enclose the mother(s) and little ones. Past experience has shown that goslings are very appealing to owls and hawks as a quick lunch.

In the meantime, I am kept busy making sure the 12 ducklings, who I’ve not yet named, have water and food. I also provide Dufey and her babes, Ossie and Gossie, with plenty to food and drink.

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The backyard poultry groups are growing. Finny is still very special and insists that I give him the greens, lettuce and celery from my hands.

And as always, my goose flock is well worth all the effort in entertainment.

With the ducklings, I’m sure I’m in for many more new experiences.

Eileen M. Adams has been raising geese for nearly 10 years. She just began raising ducks a few months ago. All are loved and thoroughly enjoyed. She may be reached at [email protected]


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