Yesterday we rescued three ducklings from the neighbor’s cat.
Jeff was gardening and witnessed sudden pandemonium across the street. A mom duck and 12 to 15 ducklings of various ages were being chased by Jackie, the neighbor’s cat. Jeff scooped up Jackie and we put her in our garage.
Mom and ducklings scattered everywhere. We hoped they would reunite, but after 20-30 minutes there were still ducklings scurrying & cheeping. We managed to gather up these three, which were the youngest. We put them in a laundry basket and took them down the street where mom duck was last seen. There’s a river nearby and we suspected that’s where she was headed.
The ducklings cheeped & cheeped, but mom never appeared. Jeff even drove around the neighborhood searching for mom & the older ducklings but couldn’t find them.
We were now in possession of three orphaned, young, scared, cold ducklings.
You might remember a while back we constructed a pen for one of the hamsters to live in while he recovered from a leg injury. We currently use it as a hamster play area, and it turned out to be a perfect duckling containment pen!
A quick web search taught us that ducklings need warmth, lots of water when they eat, and can be fed “chick starter” that’s used for raising chickens. Luckily, the feed store is only 15 minutes away so it was easy to get the appropriate food. We don’t have a proper heat lamp, but a 60-watt bulb seems to be keeping them warm enough.
The ducklings are cute, but very messy. Their water must be changed every few hours and their “bedding” (old flannel sheets & towels) changed a few times each day. Other than that, we are staying away from them because they are wild and afraid of us and I don’t want to stress them.
Jackie’s family knows someone who lives in a rural area about 1 hour away. Their duck just lost a clutch of chicks so they are willing to take the ducklings. We’re hoping the ducklings go to their new mom later today (Wednesday). I’m sure they’ll do better under the care of a duck rather than in our little duckling containment pen. Fingers crossed our plan comes together. If not, we’ll take them to the local wildlife care association where they can grow up and then be released.
It’s tempting to try to raise them ourselves and release them at the river when they’re older, but we’re not set up to brood ducklings and keep them safe from Wolfie and Tilly. Tilly would be all over those little ducklings, trying to “keep them warm” … inside her tummy!