ducklings several days old.
ducklings several days old.
7 days old.
7 days old.
11 days old. "Their patterns are really showing up well. Gotta love Anconas.....no
2 are exactly alike. And check out the little reverse skunk paint job!"
11 days old.
11 days old. "Their Aunt Bonne has been asking to join them for several
days. As you can see, Betsey seems completely comfortable with her near
the kids. Hopefully, I'll get them all together Wednesday when I'm off work
and can keep an eye on them."
at 2 weeks. "The second day with their little water pans. Not really
swimming, but definitely shallow enough they can safely climb out."
Ducklings at 2 weeks. "I added Bonne (Betsey's sister) on Monday night because she had been pacing both the night stall divider as well as the chicken wire temporary nursery yard fence. She appears to have absolutely no parenting desires whatsoever, but she is nonaggressive, and Betsey seems completely comfortable with her sister being so close to her babies. Mud is the order of the day today....BAD ducks! Digging holes in the yard! This is why Dave Holderread's book says not to allow ducks out on turf when it's wet! Check out the one doing an ostrich impression!"
Ducklings at 18 days. "This appeared to be the day they discovered leaves! They went nuts rummaging around and chattering! The little females tiny quacks of excitement were just too cute."
switched water containers again. They now have 2 shallow pools but of course
did not spend much time in them today because MUD is so much more fun. And
I swapped the adults' buckets for a shallower pan up on a cinderblock. Baby
ducks can climb better than most people might think. Years ago, I had one
drown that climbed into the adult bucket at about this age so I don't take
Ducklings at 19 days. "Look at all the colors! I especially like the blue one in the front right here. At this age, I thought I heard it quack, but I was mistaken. It has since proved to be a drake. The other blue drake is a richer, darker color, but I like this one better. As you can already see here, this one has a more broken pattern. And I actually prefer the softer, more pastel blue against the white."
Ducklings at 20 days.
Ducklings at 21 days.
Ducklings at 23 days. "Sooo cute.....tiny wings flapping up!!"
at 25 days. "Betsey seems to be suffering from a case of 'heavy-head'
disease. Goose parents are fun to watch until that low hissing head starts
coming your direction!"
"Right about this age I realized what I thought were 5 chocolates, is actually 4 chocolates and a tricolored!"
getting back in the nestbox where they were hatched, every night....but
they really don't fit and definitely no room for mom!"
at 28 days.
3 Drakes at 5 Months Old.
First egg from Chocolate Ancona hen at 5 months old.
the Goose Hatches 12 Ducklings
I do hope my goose has good luck hatching. We've been without baby waterfowl
for 5 years now and really miss it. She's been setting every year faithfully
since she started laying but I've always tossed her eggs at 4 weeks which
upsets her, as you can imagine. And she usually tries for a second clutch
too, so have to repeat the trauma. So glad we can give this a try so she
can have a chance to be a mom as her instincts are urging her to be."
-Shelley, Gordonsville, Virginia
"Just thought I'd send you a picture of the BetseyBator (Betsey the goose).
I swapped her 7 eggs for the 17. The nest box has a plywood top that also
serves to block the front. So I eased it off the top and into blocking position,
then lifted her out and set her at my feet where she proceeded to chew on
my shoe while I swapped eggs. As soon as she saw the board open up, she
hopped right back and sat back down. Hopefully, she's as committed as she
looks. It's all up to her now......."
"The Betseybator worked!!! She's got twelve little miracles! Not bad
for a first timer who was given too many eggs. The fertility rate was outstanding,
but I overestimated her nesting size. About 10 days ago, she looked as if
she had goo on her bill so I pulled her off the nest to investigate and
discovered one egg on top of the rest and several eggs that looked gooey
too. The count was now only 15. She must have broken one or two and was
trying to clean up. I gently washed the goo from the eggs and quickly got
her back on them before the whole batch cooled too much."
"Yesterday evening when she finally came off her nest, she had 11 lively
dry babies. But there was a terrible odor coming from the nest. She argued
with me, but I insisted on finding the source. Sadly, 3 appeared to have
been crushed, one perhaps a day or two prior. But there was one more who,
although completely dry, was still trapped in the shell. It had good air
and was sill strong enough to be screaming for mom. So I carefully helped
pop it loose. No bleeding from the navel! But all dry and matted. I decided
they were probably not yet needing food and water so quickly ushered the
rest of the family back in with the straggler so they could help fluff it
up and stimulate it."
"She is a new mom, and like her mom, is insisting on getting them out
of their night stall, rain or shine. So not sure how well she's gonna do
keeping them alive. But she is keeping them moving which always seemed to
work for her mom. Her sister Bonne has no interest in them whatsoever beyond
a brief curiosity about the new yard mates. I had hoped she would be a helpful
aunt as a couple of Shetland geese I once had were, but that's not going
to happen here. But disinterest is waaaay better than agression, so I'm
happy. Thanks for a great fertile batch of eggs in a variety of colors!!!!"
"They are now a week old which is always a fun time as they seem to double
in size every time you look at them! And their color patterns are really
beginning to show. Look at those crazy striped feet!! In these pictures
you can see how agitated Betsey is from her fanned out tail. I was in the
process of herding them back into their night pen to show them their food
is now across the pen from their water (instead of the "new babies" location
of right beside it). Anyway, Betsey has been keeping them moving when it's
cold and calls them all back into her nest box each night to keep them warm
and easy to defend against marauders.....like the crazy lady who brings
them food and water!!! She's a great mom. It will be interesting to see
how tame her babies will be. So far, they don't seem afraid of me at all
but move away from me when Betsey commands to get away from me."
"They're really getting big! Their legs are substantial now and with
a goose mother to keep them on the move, you'd never know the weather here
has been cold in the mornings. She had them out at about 5 days old in 33
degrees at 8 am, and they were busy and happy as could be. This morning,
at 11 days old and 47 degrees, they're busy eating all sorts of stuff out
in the yard."
"Anconas are a neat breed. Very trusting and bold."
YouTube Video, 10 seconds: Goose
with 11-day-old ducklings she hatched.
Five Months Old
One of my Chocolates started laying on Labor Day! I personally love the green eggs!!!! You can't buy THAT in a grocery store!
These are the 3 remaining drakes. The tricolored is for sale and should leave tomorrow.
I really didn't think much of Rusty at first. To me, he is rather lanky/rangey and a bit too lean and even his bill seems too long. But then he started to molt from juvey feathers into adult and everything about his color changed. He got rusty! While that would be a fault for a blue bird in any other breed, to me eye, it is just beautiful.
And if I understand the genetics correctly, that would mean he's only carrying one dose of extended black, which makes him genetically half tricolored! So while I have to sell my phenotypical tricolored to keep the interflock peace, it's ok, because I've got one 'in disguise' in Rusty!
And the other drake that's left is Smudge, the lavender in the picture. He's a bit on the huskier, heavier built side so I figure they balance each other out overall. And the ladies love him. I've always thought Smudge was a well built bird.....very close to the line drawing in Holderreads breed bulletin.
About Betsey the Goose
"Betsey is a true hybrid......her mother was a non-migratory resident
Canada goose (which is actually a brant, not a true goose....i.e., a different
chromosome count), and her father was a buff saddleback Sebastopol from
Holderreads. Therefore, as with equine mules, she is statistically unlikely
to be able to reproduce despite being able to lay eggs and having the instinct
to nest and rear young. It is interesting to note that she and her siblings
were sexable from birth due to the buff color of their father and the gray
color of their mother.....males were gray and females were buff. Also, her
sister Bonne is, thus far at 6 years old, even more of an oddity as she
has not ever laid an egg in her life nor shown any desire to nest or rear