That's right, four little ducklings. And you are correct, that is a White Orpington chicken that's raising them!
A month or so ago, one of our White Orpington chickens got a little broody, which means she didn't want to get off her eggs. So we decided we might as well make use of it and get some fertilized duck eggs.
Four hatched successfully yesterday! In the morning when we fed the chickens one of the eggs had hatched, and by the time I got home from work four four baby ducklings were peeping about.
The Orpington seems to be doing a good job of mothering. The ducklings are hiding under her from warmth, and she shields them from me when I get too close.
We don't have the proper feed yet, so I made a mix of my own based on Carla Emery's tips in The Encyclopedia of Country Living, an awesome homesteading guide which I wholeheartedly recommend.
Homemade Duckling Feed
chopped apple (optional- if you have it)
Greens (Weeds are fine if they are young and tender, spinach, etc.)
Mix all ingredients together in a heatsafe container. Pour hot water over the oatmeal and egg, and other optional grains or fruits until it is rather wet. Make sure everything is in small bits. Let cool a bit and add the chopped greens.
The recipe may seem like a bit of work, but a good idea is to make a big batch and keep it in some dedicated duckling feed containers in the fridge so you have it for the week.
Any tips or advice from backyard poultry owners are welcome!
A full blog post is located at the BaltimoreDIY blog.