Some mothers just can’t help themselves.
This is the case at Farmer Val’s in Coldstream, where a hen has adopted nine orphaned ducklings.
The mother hen happily clucks and scratches as her ducklings flit around her jumping in and out of a pan of water.
Val Buchanan, of Farmer Val’s Farm Tours, had duck eggs brought to her hobby farm after their nest was found by a neighbour in a freshly hayed field, with no sign of the parents.
She had a broody hen (one that wants to sit on eggs) so she sat the standard chicken on the eggs and 24 hours later she had nine ducklings, or dickens as she likes to call them.
“She (the hen) is very protective and worries about them all day swimming, she takes them into the chicken house at night and waits for them all to get ready for bed,” said Buchanan.
Once the ducks get old enough she will set them free on the natural pond on her property, where wild ducks visit, to join a flock.
Buchanan is confident that they will return to the farm one day because female ducks usually return to the place they were raised to lay their eggs.
She had a hen raise a duck seven years ago and she has returned every year to have her babies.
Buchanan has lived at the Coldstream Creek Road farm her whole life. Her family, the Seymours, have been on the property since the early 1900s.