The Ducklings have arrived.

Yay. We have our first family of ducklings for 2013.

Ducklings 01

The ducks are wild but visit us every day for food and a dip in our pond. They have learned over the years that this is a good place to raise their ducklings.

They choose a safe spot under a hedge in our garden. They use twigs and leaves to build a nest which they then line with their own down. Ducks lay one egg a day for about two weeks and only when all the eggs have been laid do they sit on them to incubate them.
And here’s the result.

Usually all the eggs hatch and the mother has a string of ducklings following her wherever she goes. We’ve noticed that the survival rate depends on the mothers experience. Inexperienced mothers tend to lose their ducklings to predators such as herons and weasels. This particular duck has ten ducklings. Some of the older ducks manage to rear two broods of 14 ducklings or so each year.