June 6, 2017
Ducklings, Geese and Naughty Goats
The first ducklings have hatched! Recent visitors will know we had a Mummy duck sitting on a nest in one of our sheds. As we went to check on her, we saw a little head, and did the Happy Duckling Dance….
It is said that ducks do not make good mothers, but we’ve had a few that are excellent at keeping the tiny squeakers in check. This one is very protective, and spreads her wings so that each can nestle under her warm body. They are in a small enclosure to protect from predators (such as gulls and crows), and the ducklings especially love to paddle in their little water dish.
Oddi, the goose, is delighted by the new arrivals. Despite being cantankerous with nearly everyone – and usually kept away from farm visitors – Oddi has a soft spot. He loves ducklings, will guard them, gaze at them for hours, and sometimes has tried to herd them away from their mum! This year is no different, and he is being particularity vigilant in keeping watch over the recent hatchlings.
We think Oddi wants to be a father, and has for some time. His life partner is Helga, who showed no maternal instincts, so we thought he would never be Daddy-Goose. However, this year she had gone broody – much to our amazement! – and is currently on a nest in the smelly goat shed. Our other female goose, Mrs Ban-Du, has been nest-building for years, but Oddi was never been interested, as he had partnered with Helga. This year he must be adamant to make his Daddy-Goose dreams come true, as we have spotted him having an affair, and Mrs Ban-Du is also busy nest building. So we might have goslings this year – from Oddi’s wife and secret mistress!
The baby goats are growing up fast. With the warmer weather, they all spend their days in the grassy field. However, Zebedee and Chumley go into the big barn at night, along with the caddie lambs, while Bitzer and Strudel cuddle up with Mum in their shed.
Pumpkin is doing well and excelling at this goat parenting business. We’re finding her babies are well behaved, have better manners, and actually come when she calls. (The same cannot be said of Chumley and Zebedee.) Bitzer is full of beans but will often interrupt play-time for a quick hug. Strudel is still following in her Mummy’s footsteps, including her love for bread.
Zebedee is becoming quite the escape artist, and even Chumley is learning how to jump fences. They are troublesome, naughty little boys, but are also incredible cute, and therefore hard to tell off. Chumley is still the most laid-back of the bunch, and enjoys a good snuggle. Zebedee, just like the day he was born, is fidgeting about looking for mischief. Both are insistent on trying to eat things they shouldn’t and climb on things that are dangerous and go places that are forbidden (like the Bothy and house) … but despite all this, they still want to be cradled like babies.
So, if you’re in the mood to cuddle baby ducklings, hear all about Oddi’s fatherhood aspirations, and meet the gallumphing goats, do come and see us! Please book in advance, we are busy with visitors, and spaces are quickly getting gobbled up!