Should A Broody Duck Get Off Her Nest To Eat & Drink?

I have been asked about whether a duck that is sitting on a nest of eggs should get off  the nest and get food and drink.

“This is my ducks first time laying eggs. I don’t know what to expect. I notice there a fox now in the neighborhood and my duck is sitting on her eggs all day and night. My question is she’s not eating/drinking or leaving the nest. Is that normal and how long will she stay there. What can I do to protect her for the fox. Can i move the eggs?

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for visiting the farmingfriends website.

Your duck does need to leave the nest – once or twice a day to eat and drink, so you will have to encourage her to do so. I would also place some sort of protection around her to protect her from the fox. I would avoid moving the eggs if possible as they don’t always sit on the eggs if moved.

I added your question my free farmingfriends forum which has alot of duck keepers and they may have advice for you, infact Sarah has already left a reply “Hi Stephanie.
Last year I had to move my girl off her nest once or twice a day so that she ate and had fresh water, but this year i have a different girl sitting and she comes out with the others in the morning for a wash and feed, then again about 9pm to do the same – so this is normal.
Are you really sure she is not eating or drinking at all?
If so, you will have to encourage her off the nest and get her to eat/drink and bathe. They go into a sort of trancelike state, but she won’t be able to last for 28 days. Make sure she has close access to food and water so she doesnt have to move far as she is worried about leaving her eggs.
Don’t move the eggs unless there is no other option.
She needs to be protected at all times from the fox so secure her area with a wire netting enclosure or similar.

Do you have any advice for Stephanie about whether it’s normal for the duck not to want to come off the nest for food and drink and how to protect the duck from a fox without disturbing her sitting on the eggs?

If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

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If you keep ducks or are interested in keeping ducks then check out the books shown above about keeping ducks which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced duck keeper.

If you would like to receive regular information about ducks then why not sign up to the farmingfriends newsletter.

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Is My Hen Egg Bound?

I am often asked how to tell if a hen is egg bound. A hen is egg bound when they cannot lay their egg. This may be because;

  • the oviduct is too small for the egg to pass through,
  • the egg may have broken and cannot slip through or
  • the shell of the egg is too soft to let the egg pass through.

Young pullets sometimes find it difficult to lay the first few eggs and it is not unusual to find that the first few eggs that they lay are elongated in shape or speckled with blood.

Sometimes it is obvious that a hen is egg bound as they will be straining, but sometimes your hen can just go quiet or can look unwell or has  tail down and looks bulky underneath and sometimes they keep re-visiting their nest area but no egg is laid.

You need to check if she straining and walking funny as this could indicate that she is egg bound.

If possible you need to carefully pick up the hen and again carefully feel underneath the hen to see if an egg is low down and ready to come out.

If she has an egg then you can dab olive oil around the vent area to help the egg out when she pushes.

Egg binding can sometimes be relieved by gently massaging the egg out.

If the egg breaks inside the hen then there may be a risk of infection so the hens vent will need to be bathed.

If the egg doesn’t come out easily then the hen needs to be kept warm.

Sometimes holding a hen over a sink of hot water can help the vent to relax and the egg to come out.

You could place the hen in a box and then place the box on the radiator to keep the hen warm and to help relax the vent area.

Hope these tips help. If you have any tips for egg bound hen then please let us know by leaving a comment.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

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Chef Mike Robinson’s Top Ten Tips for Christmas Dinner

With christmas just around the corner there is no better time for me to be sent the top chef and TV presenter Mike Robinson’s top ten tips for Christmas dinner,

The Perfect Roasties

  1. Top chefs recommend goose fat  for roasting potatoes for a reason – the fat’s high burn point makes them perfectly crispy.
  2. When roasting the potatoes, always pre-boil them until the outsides are starting to soften, then drain and take them outdoors to shake vigorously – the cold air will help fluff up the outsides of the potatoes beautifully.
  3. Make sure the roasting tray for the potatoes is really hot, then add plenty of goose fat and tip in the potatoes – brown them a little on the hob before putting the roasting tray into the oven.
  4. Try roasting whole bulbs of garlic with the potatoes – the insides of the garlic cloves will become lovely, sweet and gooey.

Tender Turkey

5. For tender turkey you want the meat to be cooked through but try cooking the bird for slightly less than recommended and resting it for longer than suggested. For example if it suggests cooking the bird for 3 ½ hours and resting it for 15 minutes, try cooking the bird for 30 minutes less and resting the cooked bird for an extra 30 minutes – the result will be splendid!

Impress with Easy Veg

6.  If you are worried about timings during Christmas lunch, then pre-cook the sprouts, cabbage and other veg the day before. To do this cook the vegetables until ¾ done, then plunge them into iced water to keep them fresh. They will keep perfectly until the big day, when all they need is 2 minutes in boiling water to finish them off. 
7. Parboil parsnips and then roast them in goose fat for 30 minutes, brushing them with honey for the last 10 minutes of cooking – these taste amazing!

Try Pheasant

8. As an alternative to turkey – try roasted pheasants instead. These are great value, easy to cook and very seasonal. Try to get hen pheasants and roast them for 45 minutes at 200c. Then leave them to rest for a further 30 minutes. One hen pheasant will serve two.

Christmas Leftovers

9. Chop cold turkey, sprouts and potatoes and fry in goose fat till piping hot, stir in a teaspoonful of grain mustard, divide onto plates and top each one with a fried egg for a perfect Boxing Day brunch.
10. Try crumbling leftover Christmas pudding into a bowl of custard and churning it into Christmas pudding ice cream.

Mike Robinson is chef and patron of the award winning Pot Kiln. He is also a regular presenter and guest chef on UKTV Food and Saturday Kitchen.

Do you, like Mike, have any top tips for Christmas dinner? If you do then I would love to hear them.

Broody Guinea Fowl

My guinea fowl are currently laying eggs in a nest close to the house which is great for me when I want to collect the eggs. I have left an old egg in the nest so that it encourages the guinea hens to continue to lay. At certain times through the day there might be four guinea fowl sitting on the nest waiting to lay their eggs, with another couple of guinea fowl hens waiting near by to go to the nest when it is free.

Broody Guinea Fowl Hens Sitting On Nest Of Guinea Fowl Eggs

Broody Guinea Fowl Hens Sitting On Nest Of Guinea Fowl Eggs

The guinea hens make a high pitched cry when they lay their egg, which suggests to me that it hurts them when they lay their egg, although I’m not surprised as the shell of a guinea fowl egg is very hard.

The male guinea fowl sit around close to the nest or stand guard nearby and call out if a human dares to go anywhere near them!

At night when I round up the guinea fowl to go into their hut, I have found two guinea fowl sitting on the nest who are obviously broody and do not want to come off the nest.

As the nest site isn’t a place that can be covered over to keep the guinea fowl hens safe, I have to disturbed the guinea hens, which they do not like. They will hiss and peak aggressively at anything that goes near them, but eventually they come off their nest but they don’t like it and signify this by calling out their warning call.

I would love to get some of my guinea fowl hens to sit on their eggs and to hatch them off but I am not willing to do this at the risk of losing my guinea fowl females and when I have managed to put a run over them in the past they always end up getting off the eggs within an hour of me putting the run there.

Have you had any luck getting your guinea fowl hens to sit and hatch some of their eggs?

If you keep guinea fowl and want to ask a question to get some advice or just to chat about your guinea fowl then why not join the free farmingfriends guinea fowl forum.

If you fancy having ago at incubating, hatching and raising guinea fowl keets then check out my Incubating, Hatching & Raising guinea Fowl Keets eBook and if you are in the UK then I also have guinea fowl eggs for hatching for sale.

Customer’s Duck Eggs Hatch Out For School Nursery

I was delighted to hear from one of my customers, Heather, who bought six duck eggs for hatching back at the beginning of June.

“Just letting you know that 3 of the 6 eggs hatched on Tuesday 30th June. They are gorgeous. All the school children are thrilled to bits with them, all the classes have visited them. I will try to send a photo soon.

I opened the other three eggs today and one hadn’t been fertilised, one must have died before it had time to hatch as it was perfectly formed and the other must have died a bit earlier.
Thank you”

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

Heather's 3 khaki campbell ducklings in brooder

I was thrilled when Heather sent me photos of the ducklings. It is a great feeling to know that other’s are getting so much enjoyment from the duck eggs that my khaki campbell ducks have laid.

If you are interested in keeping ducks then visit the farmingfriends duck forum for the latest chat about ducks and then check out the khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching sales page.

Click on the image below to visit to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.

Most Popular Articles On Farming Friends April 2009

Here are the most popular articles at farmingfriends during April 2009, so if you didn’t get chance to read them, now’s your chance to catch up.

  1. Recipe for lemon cheesecake.
  2. Incubating chicken eggs.
  3. Incubating duck eggs.
  4. Incubating guinea fowl eggs.
  5. Candling eggs.
  6. Duck eggs hatching early and late.
  7. Incubating pheasant eggs.
  8. Building your own poultry eggs incubator.
  9. Khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching for sale.
  10. Bay tree problems.

April was obviously a busy month for incubating and hatching eggs.

Hope you enjoy reading some of the posts you may have missed on farmingfriends.

Quail Escapes – Daily Farm Update At Farming Friends 27/03/09

Well a quail hopped out of the aviary this morning but I was lucky to catch it without any problems. I think that the quail are now very used to me popping in and out of their aviary everyday, so it made it easier to catch the male Japanese quail.

Male Japanese Quail

Male Japanese Quail

Cats – The cats seem to be getting over their sniffles which is good but they still don’t really like the cat biscuits. Spot comes to the pig barn every night when I am feeding and mucking out the pigs for the evening and likes me to sit on the bales so he can hop on my knee and have a cuddle and a stroke.

Cattle – The calf which has pneumonia seems to be ok. We have the bull separated from the cows as some of the cows are in bulling which can be dangerous for the little calves when the bull and the cows are moving about alot.

Ducks – Got 6 duck eggs today and took an order for 6 khaki campbell duck eggs for hatching to the post office and then took another order later in the day which I will post on Monday so that it’s not stuck in the postal system all weekend.

Guinea Fowl – Sold another Incubating, Hatching and Raising Guinea Fowl Keets eBook today. got another guinea fowl egg.

Guinea Pig – Gave Guiness some more straw in his hut today. Gave him a whole courgette to nibble on which he seems to be enjoying.

Hens – Got 2 hen eggs today in the pig barn where they have made a nest. One egg was broken in the hut this morning.

Pigs – The sows are beginning to really bag up now so it shouldn’t be too much longer before we have piglets. The 7 gilts are growing well and are still for sale. They would be excellent for breeding.

Quail – There is definately evidence of mating in the quail aviary as some of the quail hens are beginning to loose their feathers on their heads where the male grabs them!

Other Farming Activities – Moving pile of fodder beet so the beet doesn’t go mouldy with the heat, ploughing and drilling.

Farming Friends Website Having A Makeover

Dear Farming Friends visitor or regular reader.

Thank you for visiting farmingfriends. I hope that you have found the information that you are looking for. Please leave a comment if there is something specific you want to find information on.

Unfortunately on Thursday 9th January due to a mistake by our hosting company, the farmingfriends website and forum and all the backup data was deleted.

Fortunately I have been able to retrieve  the data and I am currently rebuilding the website.

I have decided to make this a positive and give the farmingfriends website a Spring clean and a makeover.

You may find a post without photographs or links that are not working. This is my next job, to input my images and check all the links, so please bear with me.

To all my visitors, readers and customers, thank you for your support at this time.

The farmingfriends forum is now back up and running. I have added all the questions and comments that I have been able to retrieve. I am afraid that if you were a registered member , your username and password has been lost and you will have to register again. I am sorry for the inconvenience and hope to see you at the forum soon as I very much appreciate all the contributions that have been made to the forum. You can go to the forum by clicking on this forum link.

Please note that the farmingfriends website and forum will be having a makeover in the next few weeks so don’t worry if you arrive here or on the forum and the page looks different as I will be trying out different themes until I find a suitable template.

I am sorry for the inconvenience and hope to see you back at farmingfriends and the farmingfriends forum soon.

Kind regards

Most Popular Posts On Farming Friends November 2008

The most popular posts on Farming Friends for November 2008 were:

  1. Pickled Beetroot
  2. Beef Casserole
  3. Lemon Cheesecake
  4. Incubating Chicken Eggs
  5. Edible Parts of a Pig
  6. A Guinea Fowl Recipe Tried and Tested
  7. Pork Brawn Recipe
  8. Courgette And Zucchini Recipes
  9. Wooden Reindeer Garden Ornament
  10. Building Your Own Poultry Incubator

If there is a farm related topic you would like to read about then leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Pickled Quail Eggs

I have over hundred laying quail which are laying lots of quail eggs, so I have decided to pickle some quail eggs.

At the moment I am experimenting with different ingredients and different types of vinegars to try to perfect a recipe that could be put on the market.

Up to now I have used distilled pickling vinegar and malt pickling vinegar.

I have warmed the vinegar with sugar for some of the jars and kept it cold for others.

I have added lots of different herbs and spices to the different jars such as bay, paprika, parsley, chilli.