It has been such a weird world this year, stranger than most for sure but thankfully most of us have someone who helps share the burden of whatever load it is we have to carry. We are the lucky ones. I don’t think this gift is exclusive to humans, and we have proof of that here at Hank E. Panky Farm.
Last year we had one Muscovy Duck hen who figured out that if she kept her babies close to the house where the dogs hang out, her ducklings would be safe from predators like hawks and fox who roam around just looking for an easy meal. (Yes, we are that typical farm house with dogs living under the deck most days)….. Every single one of her babies survived and that is a rarity indeed.
This year, 2020 being what it is, we had a particularly large number of hawks in the area, so for the new mama hens, raising their babies was particularly challenging. But wait a second, those babies that grew up near the house last year, well they figured out a system…. They teamed up and raised some chicks together. I’m not sure how common this is, but two of those babies from last year (sisters ) decided that co-parenting was the way to go.
These two hens stayed together constantly. They took turns sitting on the nest of eggs, one always sitting on the eggs while the other would sit just outside the nest keeping watch. Once all the eggs hatched, they both covered and protected the babies while they were very small. It was really the sweetest thing ever.
Now, as they are growing, they travel together, always mindful of predators and teaching the babies how to forage in the grasses and swim in the pond. And YES! They are all hanging out with the dogs under our deck during the day, safe away from anything that can harm them. I’m sure this behavior will span the generations. But what a wonderful thing to see today.