Smart Duck, our mateless Muscovy duck, has been sitting on her large nest of unfertilized eggs for the past two months. She is mateless and named Smart Duck because she is our only Muscovy to not be killed by predators. She makes her nest in the far back corner of the barn which is the perfect spot. There she is protected from the predators by the hulking ram beast, Paris, who nightly beds down nearby. Like I said, she's a smart duck. The hulking ram beast, Paris, also lazes in the barn during the day, off and on, and protects her from me. Though I should have removed her eggs from the nest ages ago, I have been avoiding a confrontation with him. The last time I tussled with him in that far, dead end corner of the barn, I honestly considered the possibility of him actually killing me. He had caught me unaware -sage advice for dealing with rams is to never turn your back on one- and knocked me to the ground where he repeatedly rammed me. He has really nice wool so I keep him, despite our rocky relationship -and I never turn my back on him.
This morning, while the flock was off in the orchard I remembered Smart Duck's nest. A relatively simple chore: remove the sitting duck, remove the eggs diligently kept at body temperature for the past two months without breaking them (a crucial step), and watch for the hulking ram beast returning to try and kill me. I'll start by saying, I didn't break any eggs and Paris didn't return to the barn while I was there. Smart Duck did valiantly try and keep me from taking her eggs (I always feel a bit bad doing this) but I simply picked her up to keep her off the nest while I took her eggs.
A duck sits on her nest for a LOOONNNNNGGGG time while incubating eggs and only gets off briefly twice a day to eat and drink. When they do get off their nest, they let loose with these really impressive duck sharts -the equivalent of projectile duck diarrhea- and I was the full body recipient of one from Smart Duck this morning. Eww. I grew up on a farm (king of the manure pile was a favorite game), worked at a livestock auction while in high school (LOTS of cow diarrhea), had a family day care business (The Poop Book was a favorite) and my own three kids (all successfully potty trained), and we now live here with our farm animals. When my friend Sylvia brought her day care for a farm visit last spring, I had to agree with the little ones, "Yup, there's sure a lot of poop on a farm!" With all my experience you would think I would know to beware of sitting ducks.