Sunday, 19 October 2014

Duck Rescue

Not strictly keeping to the brief of "crochet adventures at the lupus end of the spectrum",  posting this story anyway in light of the recent 'duck' theme.

This little cutie (not sure if it is a he or a she) will grow up to be a Wood Duck (otherwise known as a Maned Goose) and was discovered yesterday, running about my front yard in a panic, having lost its family. Such a tiny little thing but it was hysterical; by the time I reached it, it was on the neighbour's front porch repeatedly bashing its beak into the window in desperation where it thought its reflection was another duckling companion.

I scooped it up into my hands and held it quietly against my body to keep it warm. My children offered it some water through a syringe.  We had no idea how long this duck had been stressed like this. It was bound to be getting pretty tired or exhausted and at risk of dehydration.  Where was its family? A survey of the local duck haunts and there was no family or frantic mother ducks to be found.

Even if we found a duck family, how would we know if it were the right one for this duckling? What if this duckling had already been rejected by its mother?  We couldn't leave this tiny soul alone or it would be surely eaten by predators.

It was still in relatively good condition. It still had a little bit of fight in it to resist my scooping it up but after a minute in my hands, it calmed down and I could get a good look at it.  The feathers were in good condition, and apart from being sleepy, its eyes looked bright enough. It took an interest in its surroundings as we brought it inside to decide what to do.
This little one was transported in a shoebox which had holes in the lid and was lined with pea straw mulch.
After a short nap, we were pleased to hear our duckling friend cheeping from the box because
that meant it had some energy and strength–a good sign for survival.

We couldn't keep it as a pet.  Ducks are social creatures and need other ducks.  If we tried to keep this duckling, it would become attached to us instead and want to follow us everywhere, including indoors.  Have you seen the mess that ducks make?  No thanks! Plus we don't have a pond or the right facilities to keep ducks.  We enjoy our wild visitors as you can see from other blog posts.

Thankfully, there is an active group of Fauna Rescue volunteers, some of whom specialise in caring for ducks.  We were lucky that a duck carer lived within a short distance and we were able to take our duckling to her. The plan is that our duckling will join a 'crèche' of similarly aged rescue ducklings where it will be able to make friends and bond with a new family of its own until old enough to be independent (in about 8 weeks' time).

We have so many ducks in our neighbourhood and they regularly visit our garden.  I am seriously considering whether I should sign up to become a duckling rescuer myself because I am home a lot of the time, love animals (and animals seem to find us) and I don't have a regular pet right now. Ducklings are a short term commitment (only 8 weeks maximum) and it feels good to know that we have helped to save an animal that otherwise would  have succumbed to the elements or predators.

(On Friday night I saw a fox running across one of the main roads and foxes have been spotted in my neighbourhood before, not to mention feral cats, dogs etc.).

Anyway, I just wanted to share the latest duck(ling) story and although I am sad to give up such a cute ball of fluff and feathers, I am satisfied that there is a happy future for him or her.

If you find a wild animal or bird that is sick, injured, lost or otherwise at risk, don't leave them to suffer, please contact your local vet or Fauna Rescue service.

If you would like to support your local Fauna Rescue service, you can donate
money for feed, medicines and equipment,  or cages (aviaries seem to be always in need) and bedding materials. Contact your local Fauna Rescue service first to find out what they need.  As it is a volunteer organisation, it relies on donations to do its good work.

Further Information

Fauna Rescue of South Australia Inc.:

Raising baby ducks:

Wood Ducks:

Lupey Loops posts about ducks:


  1. What a lucky ducky to have found you to make things right for it. This is a lovely story and what a sweet little bundle he/she looks.

  2. Oh Jodie, I'm so glad that you found the little duckling and took it to the rescue!
    Hope you have a good week!
    Ingrid xx

  3. Hi Jodie,
    that little duckling is so cute and very lucky to to have been in a place where somebody caring like you showed it such love and kindness.
    Jacquie x

  4. What a cutie! Glad you helped him and took it to a rescue.

  5. How could I leave such an adorable creature in distress? I had no choice!
    Every time I see its picture, I remember how tiny that duckling was in my hands and wonder how much bigger it must be now after only a week. I wonder how it is faring and I hope the new scenery and introduction to new friends will not be too bewildering or traumatic. I am sure the sight of other ducks will bring a sense of belonging.
    I might give the rescue lady (family, actually, as her children help too) a call and ask how our little friend is. It is nice to know from all of your comments that I am not the only one who feels it is important to care for our wildlife.

  6. Our little friend is doing well. It was put with 6 others and is being cared for in a very picturesque German town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills (South Australia). The ducklings will be released as a group when they can all fly in a few more weeks.

    It is important to care for our native species and I get very frustrated when I see people feeding bread to the ducks in the neighbourhood. If you love ducks, please do not feed them bread! It is a poor quality food for ducks and can cause bloat. It fills up their tummies so thy don't eat their natural diet and then they can become malnourished and sick. It is better to feed ducks snails and slugs than bread.

    Ducks will make nests anywhere, especially if water is nearby. Maned ducks (like our baby wood duck) will often nest in trees quite a distance from water and will lead their brood along roads to the waterways.
    Perhaps that is how we came to find our little lost duckling who is now safely found (and I can sleep at night).

    Reference: Professor Chris Daniels, "A Guide to Urban Wildlife" Harper Collins, 2011.