Ducklings cause havoc for rescuers

The casualties that come into the trust seem to come in batches.

Saturday, 9th June 2018, 15:18 pm

During the autumn it was hedgehogs, a seemingly endless queue.

Last month, just as the overwintering hogs were released, it was tawny owlets – nine altogether, from lots of different places. All are doing well except one, which was due to see the vet this week.

Now, it seems, it is the turn of the ducklings.

A rescue party went to Simpsons on Saturday, where there were two ducks, together with their offspring, running around the wheels of the huge grain lorries going in and out of the premises.

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There were only two ducklings left with one duck. Employees said there had been nine or 10 to begin with, but crows, seagulls and vermin had taken the rest of the babies. The other duck had 10 ducklings all running around her.

The rescue group managed to corner one duck and get her in a carrier, causing her to quack for the babies. They tried to get to her and were quickly put into the carrier with mum, where they settled down. Meanwhile, there was a hunt for the other duck and her two remaining ducklings.

Try as they might, they could not catch mum, although they managed to grab the two babies, who were very small. The duck eventually made off and left her youngsters.

Mum and her 10 babies, who were about eight or nine days old, were taken up to the Chain Bridge, where there is plenty of cover and is a very good place for ducks. They were released together and mum quickly rounded up her offspring, herding them into the undergrowth – a good outcome.

The remaining two ducklings, who were only two or three days old, were taken to the Rollo Centre, where they will remain until they can fly and keep themselves safe.

We have two larger ducklings (one mallard and one shelduck), as well as six other mallards about two weeks old.

At home (as they need feeding very frequently) I have a young magpie, who is now feathered, but not picking up for itself, and five jackdaws – very loud jackdaws when calling for food.

I have had to put them in one of our aviaries, fortunately close enough to the house not to get too wet when I feed them (or Peter feeds them whilst I’m at the trust) and it’s raining. The jackdaws are feathered, but still very much in the nest.

We also have five rabbit kits at the centre who are almost ready for outside. Fortunately, the people who found them in a woodpile are happy to take them back when they are ready to be released.

Before I close, I must say how pleasing it was to receive so many phone calls and emails saying how impressed people were after their visit on our open day.

We are used to clearing up poo and washing out cages so to get compliments about they way we look after the patients in our care is very uplifting to all of us involved.