Matilda is the fifth generation Muscovy duck that has been born on the farm. True to her lines, she is very protective of her babies. I have large bruises on my legs to prove that. She has her nest next to the back door in the root section of a large oak tree. All of her prior generations have done that. She hatched out 12 ducklings and was raising them just fine until the Bald Eagles began to pick them off. Soon she had none left and was very distraught.
I had just had eight baby chicks and two ducklings hatch out in the incubator. The chicks were two weeks old and the ducklings were one week old. So I snagged Matilda and put her and her "new babies" in a small hen house. She kept calling to them and trying to mother them but the babies tried to run to me. After all, I had just spent two weeks handling them and being their "mother". So I did tough love and walked away. They had their little faces smashed to the wire cage and cried...it was awful walking away. Matilda was trying to comfort them but they ignored her. Later that night, I snuck into the barn and what did I see?
Matilda giving me the Muscovy HISS.
The chicks and ducklings did keep trying to run to me but I kept my distance.
A couple of them decided that Matilda's back was warm.
She is giving me the evil eye. She tried to nip me through the wire cage.
A few days later, I moved them to the big horse stall. They sleep under her now and often will give me a look of "Don't I know you from someplace" but go back to her. Again, she is giving me the HISS!! If I get too close, she will fly up and latch onto my leg.
Her new babies all sleep under her and now are her new family. She has done great in raising other species and loves them. I have a little pool that the ducklings go into but the chick are not to sure of going into it! Matilda doesn't seem to mind if the chicks do not swim. She is still one tough mama and two weeks later, the new babies are her family. The Bald Eagle has left to find other prey as the babies are no longer allowed out of the stall. Matilda is one happy duck and going to raise the sixth generation now....what a great duck!!