Story and photos by Krislee Johnson
As they say, there’s a first time for everything! Over the past month I had been hoping a couple of my birds might become broody. Specifically, I was hoping for a broody chicken but instead a duck made my wish come true.
Diller (aka Phyllis Diller) is a small crested duck with a floppy foot. She has a hard time keeping up with the rest of the flock but for the most part she holds her own. I always joked that she’d be the first one a coyote would catch as she’s always bringing up the rear.
For a while I thought she was simply taking a while to lay her egg in the morning. Day after day she would run from the coop to the duck house to lay. I started leaving her eggs and adding a few of my Blue Swedish eggs to further entice her laying and nesting instincts.
After a few weeks the plan paid off. Diller became increasingly broody, extending her sitting time each day. Once I detected her inclination to sit I started to close her in the duck house at night. She did well on her own.
With privacy, food and water, she was safe from the prying eyes of predators. Within a couple weeks she was sitting on the nest consistently with only a 20-30 minute bathing time in the mornings.
Enter the Dog
Now that we are around week 3 the dog was beginning to get curious. So curious in fact the dog stuck it’s head in the duck house and got more than it bargained for. Diller had turned into a viscous protector of her clutch. What Diller didn’t know was this act of hissing and snapping only served to incite my dog.
Poor Diller was dragged out of the coop and nearly ripped to shreds. I came barreling across the yard screaming but the dog was slow to stop. Thankfully I got there in time to stop the near massacre.
The duck ended up with a 2-inch gash in her neck. At first glance I feared I’d have to put her down. Upon closer inspection however it was only skin and not muscle or bone damage.
The best thing I could do for her at this point was to seal up the wound and prevent infection. I decided on a quick fix with superglue and a generous coating of Blu-Kote.
Only time and observation will determine her outcome. Internal injuries and infections can be difficult to detect in an animal that is still and broody. A day later she appears to be doing well but that could quickly change. For now, she is safely quarantined in her duck house for the weekend.
The offending dog on the other hand has no idea how upset this makes me. As I write this, the dog is snoring away, totally oblivious to the damage it has caused.
I will keep a close watch. If Diller is suffering I’ll do the right thing by her. A few of the eggs can be candled and place in the incubator if need be. For her sake, I’d love her to heal and be the momma she’s so desperately wanting to be.