OUR top news in a week when it is hard to identify any exciting moments when you are self-isolating is that I have two broody hens to sit my duck eggs.

What is even more surprising is that we have any duck eggs at all. I was convinced I had given away all my ducks to my friend Marian who was looking for some female company for a lonely drake on her pond. As far as I was concerned the ducks that I kept were all drakes. A bachelor only gang.

These ducks have had the most wonderful wet spring. The pond in the house paddock has been full to overflowing and the ducks are in seventh heaven.

Suspicions that our little troupe of seven was not entirely a male-only company began to surface when we noticed some rather amorous couplings taking place both on and off the pond. Two particular ducks suddenly appeared to be exerting an irresistible attraction to their five companions.

Indeed, so insistent were the five suitors that I am amazed that the temptresses weren’t drowned. Duck courtship seems to consist of a savage attack, and then, if you are on the water, forcing your lovers head beneath the surface.

Meanwhile, back to my broody hens. Very timely given that I am now collecting a couple of, I assume given all the action, fertilised duck eggs every day. Neither of the ducks have gone to the trouble of actually creating a nest to lay their eggs in. Rather the eggs are dropped randomly round the paddock. Perhaps laid in a jet- propelled fashion as they waddle off at top speed escaping their pursuers.

In the hen hut these two aspirant mothers are busy laying claim to all the eggs the other hens lay. Each of them ruffle in rage when I furtle under them to rob them of the eggs that they have decided are theirs. Tough really because I’m still going to take their eggs, but I do have a plan to assuage their maternal instincts.

Which is why tonight I shall make the two prospective mums very happy indeed. As soon as it is dark I shall place a dozen duck eggs in two carefully set up nest boxes in two carefully sited runs in the grain shed. Peace and gloom are what is needed to assure a successful hatch. Must find some black-out curtains for the shed door, refreshments organised so the hens feel no urge to leave to seek out nourishment. And a maternity ward sign for the shed.