The Secret Life of Poultry: Bird Surrogacy

The Secret Life of Poultry: Bird Surrogacy
Add to Favorites Reading Time: 4 minutes Legend has it that when I was young, we were the proud owners of a surrogate poultry mom. I didn’t know this, I recently learned it when discussing a similar case with my mother. When I was around five or six, we had a huge flock of Rhode Island Red hens. That’s the only breed we had back then and I spent hours a day with the girls when I wasn’t in school. I’m still partial to the breed today. They’re good layers, friendly, bold, and most importantly, amazing mothers. Sometime during the late spring, my parents decided to branch out and take some Muscovy ducks in when a family friend was downsizing. We ended up bringing home three hens, but one quickly went broody. The previous owner had males and females running together, so her eggs were fertile. My mom was excited
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  1. I had 2 bantam hens (cochin mix and a Showgirl), both have passed from age, that raised multiple clutches of khaki Campbell ducklings and standard chicks. My last clutch was also a mix of duck and chicken eggs sat on by a Columbian Wyandotte. The chicken and 1 duck egg didn’t make it due to a mishap with other hens wanting to lay their eggs with her. Of the 2 ducklings that hatched, the one died at 2 days old. The other was raised by “momma” along with 2 bought ducklings I got the next day. I didn’t want him to be alone so I bought a couple Runners. The 4 were inseparable til babies were about 4 months old when the adult ducks accepted them and allowed the trio to tag along. They know who raised them but my problem is that the one she hatched thinks she’s a duck and has often tried to mount her. I chase him away as I scold him. He’s got a mate. I’ve had no broody hens this season so I had to order ducklings. I won’t use an incubator unless it’s an emergency such as nest abandonment.

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