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Vermont Couple Shocked After Their Pet Chicken Hatched a Duckling: 'It's the Wrong Beak'

Georgia Slater
·2 min read

Courtesy Courtney Sugarman

A Vermont couple is still trying to crack how their pet chicken hatched a duck egg.

The wild incident first began in April when Caleb and Courtney Sugarman bought a few ducks to keep busy during the pandemic, they told local Vermont TV station WCAX. A few months later, the couple also received Silkie chickens from a friend.

The pair said that one day they came across one of their chickens sitting on a duck egg and had no idea how the egg might have gotten there.

"I didn't think anything would happen with it, so we just kind of let her be," Courtney told the outlet.

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The chicken laid about half a dozen of her own eggs a few weeks later and the couple numbered the eggs to better keep track of them.

To the Sugarmans' surprise, when two of the chicken eggs hatched just before Christmas, so did the duck egg.

Courtesy Courtney Sugarman

"We looked under her and saw a duck bill coming out and we were like, 'Oh, my gosh!' It actually hatched," Courtney recalled.

"It was the wrong beak," Caleb added.

Vermont veterinarian Kristin Haas told the outlet that while a chicken has probably hatched a duck egg before, it was the first time she'd ever heard of the feat.

"It's a great surprise story," she said. "It takes a little longer for duck eggs to hatch, about a week longer than chicken eggs. As long as they're warm and in good shape, then I suppose it's possible that it could hatch."

Courtesy Courtney Sugarman

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The couple is currently housing the chicken and her young — surprise duck included — inside their home to keep warm.

"They kind of play like football when you drop peas in there. It definitely wins. It still tries to climb under the mom almost every night," Caleb shared of the duck's current behavior.

Courtesy Courtney Sugarman

The duckling, who is only a few weeks old, will stay inside the Sugarmans' pen until the end of the season and will eventually join the ducks outside when it gets warmer.

For now, the duckling just thinks it is one of the chicks.

"It seems to have adapted well to that is their flock," Caleb added. "We're interested to see what happens."