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I Could Watch These Chicks All Day

The oldest chick is now about a week old and we are up to six birds hatched at this stage. There are a further six eggs unhatched, so we could end up with 12 birds in all, with about two weeks between the oldest and the youngest. The hens are swapping duties between minding the chicks and hatching the eggs. Contrary to the warnings I’d read about having two mothers together, these bantams are cooperating very effectively in rearing the young, which probably increases significantly their prospects of survival.

The latest videos below show the birds fending for themselves very well, eating crumb, drinking water, eating bits of duck egg shell and generally exploring their nice safe little coop. There were only five birds at this time.

I’m afraid things have not gone as well with the ducks. When I got home from work this evening, I found a hatchling half out of its shell in the pen but, sadly, it was dead. I have no idea what happened but the failure with the ducks is very disappointing. There are four eggs left so I am still hoping for some luck with them. In case it was attacked by jackdaws, I have closed up the pen to keep them out. If one hatched, there is still a chance that one of the other eggs will hatch too.

If you have experienced anything similar with ducks, I’d appreciate a comment with your opinion on what might have happened. You can leave it in the box below.

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Beware The Angry Mother Hen!

I was really pleased to find a third bantam chick in the coop when I came home from work this evening. Another lovely little ball of fluff.

As you can see in this video, the bantam hens are very protective and one of them attacked both me and the camera as I filmed the birds. But even in their attack, they are fairly gentle birds and don’t do a lot of damage.

One of my ducks is also looking very promising and is sitting on five eggs. At least two of them seem to be visibly developing so I am hoping for the best there as well.

I use my Canon IXUS 750 to take the short videos and find that, although it is a bit dated now by modern camera standards, it is more than suitable for the job. I hope you agree.

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First Hatchlings

Bantam Chick

My bantams have finally come through and two lovely chicks hatched either on Sunday or Monday, one or two days ago. There are a lot more eggs so I hope to have a few more chicks over the next day or two.

Things are a little confused in the coop at the moment. Only one bantam was brooding originally but she was joined in the same nest box by the other bantam hen and, as they look so alike, I don’t know which hen laid which eggs and when.

As you will see from the video, both hens seem to be looking after the chicks OK. I had read, both online and in books, that you should not keep different mothers together as one may attack the other’s chicks. I will keep an eye on them over the next few days.

If it looks like there is a second batch of eggs that one of the hens laid later than the other, I may move one hen and the chicks into another house to let her rear them and hope that the other bird will hatch the other eggs. A bit complicated, I know, but I can’t see any other solution.

Bantam Chick

Anticipating their arrival, I bought a bag of Red Mills 20% Starter Crumb for the chicks, which will do them for the first four weeks.

The bantam cock was sharing the house with the two bantam hens but I moved him out this evening so that he would not eat the crumb. I don’t think cocks are a threat to the chicks but it is more convenient to have him separate. The only problem is that I am running out of hen houses!

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Ducks And Bantams Nesting Again

In a previous post, I wrote about the ducks nesting. Unfortunately, they did not produce any young and all the eggs were broken in the end. They started nesting again about two weeks ago and one duck is sitting on the nest almost all the time. Maybe I will have more luck this time. The other two ducks are also making nests and have big clutches of eggs on them but they are not hatching yet. With some luck, I might get a few ducklings this time.

I noticed that one of the ducks, who was sitting on about 15 eggs, broke one of her eggs and took it away from the nest. She appeared to be trying to eat it herself first of all and then seemed to offer it to one of the other birds. I’m not sure whether it was the drake. This was strange behaviour to me and I wonder if it is common. If readers can shed any light on it, I’d appreciate more information.

One of my bantam hens is also nesting and she is sitting on at least five eggs. She is a very attentive bird and almost never leaves the nest. I have some hope that she will manage to hatch some eggs and give me a few baby bantams. She could be on the nest for as long as two weeks, so I might see some signs of hatching next weekend. If I do, I’ll try to get some video and post it on the blog.

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A Great Day’s Racing at the Skerries 100

Congratulations to the Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club for running a brilliantly organised, efficient and – above all – safe event this year. The racing was great and the weather held up for all present. Well done to all.

I’ve posted about 1,000 small images of each competitive race on Baldongan’s Posterous Site. Larger images and crops are available on enquiry.