3 Day Old Mallard Ducklings
6 September 2021
We first spotted the female duck with her ducklings when they were a day old. They were like tiny little bumble bees buzzing busily about on the water. Delightful to watch but hard to count them as they are so fast from the get go. But two days later while walking the dogs along the banks of the drain we frighten a hawk, and peering at what it has been doing and we sadly realise it's the mother duck, she has been killed. As we carried on walking we spot her 10 little ducklings at the very end of the property, if they get past this point it would be very tricky to rescue any.
I coax the little ducklings from the bank to move back up the drain while my partner walks the dogs back to the house and collects nets, container and cover. When I get the little ducklings near their mum their memory kicks in and they dive back down the drain to where they were earlier. So now I have to hop in (the drain stinks like hell) and herd them again. Usually the drain likes to eat people, it sucks you down deep and it's very hard to get out of with your life and shoes, but because it has been left dry mostly the bottom doesn't sink me down. Yay!
Partners back, so after much careful trapping, herding and manoeuvring, and nets at times, or by hand, (2 hours of effort) we manage to finally catch all 10 ducklings. They have been placed in a large bucket with a cover to keep them calm and warm.
Getting them home and set up was interesting. Usually it's only one we are looking after but 10 is a whole different kettle of ducks. Getting heat lamps, water containers and food (mash, wheat, bread, worms, grit and whatever else we could get our hands on) set up was a mad dash of whatever we can put together quickly. Two little ducklings died within the first two days and we were devastated. But now 9 days in we seem to have eight healthy ducklings growing fast and demanding more food. Fingers crossed we can get them to fledgling stage.
There are still 8 ducklings, all at the stage of being let out into the wild daily. Almost time to leave and fly away. We will miss them, they have been an absolute delight to have around.
On the 20/10/21
The ducklings were released into the Opawa river.
Apologies the pictures are not in order of days. P1. First day inside and under the bulb, added plus was underfloor heating. P2 3 weeks old. P3 Bigger enclosure, and the pool is shrinking fast. P4. We are 8 days old now. P5. The ducklings are permanently outside - the enclosure is moved at regular internvals for fresh grass. P6. Who turned off the freakin' sun! P7. Acclimatising nicely, but inside at night.
Posted: Thursday 16 September 2021