Duckling season - rescue and care

Duckling season is usually around the September month. It's at this time of the year we often receive phone calls from concerned wildlife lovers about straying or orphaned clutches of ducklings. Here's some tips on what to do if you have rescued or are concerned about ducks and ducklings in your neighbourhood.

If you have observed a clutch of ducklings without their mother and they have been abandoned for a period of time, please contact us and we can put you in touch with a local wildlife carer that maybe able to assist in their rescue. Or alternatively you can attempt to remove them from the inappropriate situation.

If you have found a duck and ducklings in an inappropriate situation such as in the pool or in a hazardous area such as a busy road, attempt to shepherd the mother and ducklings safely to the nearest water source. If this is far away or not possible, you can attempt to catch the ducklings first and hopefully the mother will follow you to a safe place. Or alternatively, once the ducklings and mother are safely restrained you can relocate them to a local natural water source.

Immediate first aid care of ducklings

There are special wildlife carers that are experienced in nursing and releasing injured fauna, including some of our own team. If you rescue a wild bird or animal please contact us so we can put you in touch with a wildlife carer or refer to our links page.

In the meantime here are some immediate tips for caring for ducklings whilst you are in the process of contacting a carer.

  • The goal with ducklings is that they are raised for release into the wild. The main obstacle is that they imprint very quickly. For this reason they must not be handled any more than is absolutely necessary.
  • Ducklings can jump very high for their size. A large plastic container or a good strong deep cardboard box lined with lots of newspaper will work well.
  • Ducklings also require warmth. Either a lamp or warm, hot water bottle will be suffice.
  • Ducklings naturally hide under the wings of their parents so something to make them feel secure should be provided. Cuddly toy, feather duster, something they can huddle under.
  • Ducklings in care should not have water to swim in as long as they have an adequate supply of fresh and filtered (if possible) drinking water. They either have to eat wet food or drink as they eat.
  • Only ever give a water container just large enough to drink from but not large enough to swim in. A shallow dish such as a plastic lid is perfect. Ducklings have no waterproofing on their feathers, if they become saturated, they will die from hypothermia.
  • Ducklings should NOT be fed bread or human food. The best thing you can do is contact an experienced carer as soon as possible. If desperate, ducklings can be given duck or chick starter mix.



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