Friday, April 15, 2011

Harney Duck

Harney Duck is one weird dude, and it's all my fault. Last year I had a broody hen and slipped a duck egg under her to see if it was fertile. Well, Harney Duck hatched out after 28 days. I hoped the duckling would be a female, but alas, as mother nature dictates a 50-50 chance, he was a guy duck. The hen who hatched him was black and she taught him how to forage like a chicken for the first few days but then abandoned him. So he would follow the other black hens around, quacking his heart out. Of course, they ignored him. But he'd hang out with the hens and still does. When the new rooster came, he challenged him with a chase around the barnyard. Now they have an uneasy truce. Harney lies by the hen nest when one is laying. He challenges me with a couple of deep honks, lowers his neck and comes after me to keep me away from the nester. He arranges the hay in the nest, helping the hen to take care of the brood, which she isn't hatching because I don't have any broody hens. He has no interest in the other ducks. The sole drake left occasionally chases Harney to keep him away from the two remaining female ducks. Harney thinks he's a guard duck, stationing himself inside the door of the hen house at night. He won't allow in the three new white hens (who I call the ugly sisters). Harney paddles around the seep pond in from of the house. At least, that helps him keep clean and his feather primed and oiled. He's of the Saxony breed with a lot of domestic mallard. A handsome guy, but I'll never do that again.

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