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Author Topic: Wild born ducklings  (Read 720 times)


  • Joined Jul 2014
Wild born ducklings
« on: June 25, 2019, 02:29:30 pm »
A wild mallard nested on top of my straw stack and hatched off her brood.  However on leaving here for the nearest pond, a quarter of a mile away, she left two ducklings behind and never came back for them.

They were gathered up to prevent being a snack for the greyhound and put in a coup on the lawn as we had no idea which of the ducks on the pond were the parents.  I got some chick crumbs and mealworms and they have thrived.  They are now 25 days old and starting to feather up.  I am feeding growers pellets and mealworms and whilst they are ok with me moving around the pen I would not call them tame.

I noticed that the parent ducks are once again forageing around the paddock so I think that mum must be getting a second nest going having lost the rest of her brood.

At what age/stage should I start leaving the pen gate open for the young ones to wander off?  I will be quite happy to feed them all winter if need be.  I presume I wait until they are at least fully feathered and wanting to fly before I give them their freedom.
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in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 06:39:35 pm »
Arrr, you've done well with them.

How about ringing a wildlife rescue for advice? 

I'm not sure where you are but there is the Cuan Wildlife Rescue in Shropshire. I'm sure they'd be happy to chat with you anyway and I know that they have big pens of ducks and ducklings so they're bound to know what's for the best.


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 04:57:16 pm »
Thanks.  Shropshire is a fair way off Yorkshire though.  The local shoot release ducks onto another pond about half a mile away and there is the more local pond so they can go off with other ducks when they grow up.  I quite like the idea of them hoovering up the mud snails ect from the sheep fields.

As these are wild hatched I do not want to keep them in captivity but I do want them to avoid getting scoffed by the foxes and badgers which are about before they can look after themselves.  I will happily feed them and shut them up overnight in a stable over winter if needs be.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 05:13:11 pm »
Bit far from Yorkshire!

But they would probably be happy to advise as to the best time to release to give them the best chance etc.
If that's what you plan to do.


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Somerset
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 07:04:45 pm »
Contacting a wildlife hospital or swan rescue charity would be a good idea. Masses of experience and knowledge about this sort of thing. There are quite a few in Yorkshire. A Google search would find your nearest one. :)


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 09:20:28 pm »
Do they have something they can at least splash about in, if not swim? They need to do that so that they preen their feathers and spread the oil in them so they get "waterproofed". Otherwise - the first time they go on water their feathers get all soggy and they nearly sink. I've had some tame ducklings and used to let them swim in the bath. But maybe yours aren't tame enough for that. (And maybe OH would object.) :innocent:
I believe there's a swan rescue at Drax or Barlow. Or in the absence of any other workable suggestions, you're welcome to release them at our lake when they're fully feathered. There's plenty of other ducks, moorhens, coots etc there and someone to keep an eye on them.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 09:25:50 pm by landroverroy »
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  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2019, 06:07:51 am »
I would treat exactly the same as with any other ducklings. Keep them in their pen and let them have access to water. They will be vulnerable to predators until fully feathered so around 3 months-ish?

They might decide to hang around!


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 10:01:22 am »

Any hand reared duckling needs to be feathered up before you let it get into water. Ducklings under a duck get "oiled" from her before they can preen themselves properly.

We have raised the odd mallard with our incubated ducks and they have hung around even after they started to fly and just went when they wanted. If you only have the mallards then you will need to keep them in longer as when they go out you probably wont get them in again. Have you got a pond so if they haven't mastered flight they can at least get onto the water?


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Wild born ducklings
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 02:04:01 pm »
They have a washing up bowl of water to play in.  Water changed every day as the pen is moved onto fresh ground.  Their feathers are really coming through now.

Thanks for the offer of your lake LRR the first neighbour up the lane has offered his pond too.


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