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IMG_5290A few weeks ago our goats moved to their new pen and works began to transform their former pen. We’re excited to share that staff and volunteers have been hard at work transforming that former goat enclosure into a fantastic new space for our ducks! As you might imagine, there’s quite a lot of work involved in converting the space including changes to the fencing, the removal of the former goat house, creation of a pond and lots of clearing! Many thanks to all who have helped out!

The works really took off today with a fantastic effort from a large volunteer group from Valero whose many hands certainly made the work lighter! It was all hands on deck as fences were lowered and new fences measured up and installed. Simultaneously, the team set to work clearing, leveling, laying turf, planning planting and putting up the new duck houses! Our ducks will be very happy to move into their new home once it is all finished and we hope our visitors will enjoy seeing them in their fantastic new space too!

Many thanks to team Valero for their help today and to all of our wonderful volunteers and corporate volunteer groups. If you’re looking to strengthen your team by working together outside of the office and help a great cause, why not bring your team for a day of volunteering on the farm. You can find out more about our corporate volunteering programme on our website. Or if you fancy lending a hand as an individual, you can find out more about volunteering at Mudchute here.


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Hatching is underway at Mudchute, with the first of Spring’s arrivals making their way into the world. We welcomed our first ducklings last week. The newly hatched ducklings include a mix of Aylesbury and Runner ducklings and will be joined by further ducklings and chicks over the coming weeks and months.

These precocious youngsters spend nearly a month developing in the egg and are capable of walking and feeding themselves shortly after breaking free of the egg. However, breaking the eggshell from within is hard work. Chicks and ducklings first begin with an “internal pip” internally breaking into the air sac a the wide end of the egg, taking their first breaths. They then break the egg shell (an “external pip”) before they begin to unzip the shell.

Watching the growth and development of the embryos is fascinating and we’ve shared some of the process previously here on the blog. We’re also happy to share the experience with local school groups who participate in our Hatch and Brood programme, where eggs are incubated right in the classroom. Good luck to all of our participating schools! To find out more about the programme including how your school can take part, please visit our Education pages.


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In addition to our striking white Aylesbury ducks, we’ve also welcomed new waterfowl on our duck pond. One breed are rather large and the other rather small!

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The large, heavy set ducks with mallard-like markings are our Rouen ducks. This is a very large imposing breed which looks like an oversized mallard. Female ducks are brown with black lacing on the outside of the feathers and males (drakes) have a green head, claret bib and grey body.

The Rouen originate in from France where they were used as a meat bird and crossed with the Muscovy to produce the Barbary duck. They take 2 yrs to reach their full size of 12 lbs, and because of this they are now kept more for showing. Exhibition females only lay between 100-150 eggs per year. They are a docile breed and tame reasonably easily and due to their size they cannot fly.

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The other duck breed now on the ponds are diminutive, particularly in comparison to the weight Rouen. These are call ducks. A call duck drake weighs only about half a kilogram! Despite their small size, they have a very loud, high-pitched call. These birds were originally bred to lure wild ducks into traps during hunts. The call duck has been in Britain since the 1850s and in addition to their small size have a distinctively round forehead and broad, short bill. Find out more about the breed from the Call Duck Association UK.

To find out more about any of our animals, visit the animal pages of our website.

In the video below, you can see the new ducks on their pond and enjoying the falling leaves. You’ll also hear the unmistakable sound of the call ducks. They are extremely loud, especially considering their small size!