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Archive for October, 2010

All the ducklings are going well. In fact, the first lot we got in are spending their first night outside with no light tonight. The last two nights they had a light to gradually get them used to sleeping outside. At the moment they are in a hutch, but soon they will spend their nights in a puppy pen. The pen is for security; they cannot sleep outside without some sort of protection, as there are cats in this area and the ducklings have no means of defending themselves and can’t fly.  Also, they will finally be able to have a proper run around in the garden, and a proper swim in a small wading pool. They are about two weeks old.

The second clutch are about a week younger (so just over a week old). In a few days they will be transferred to the hutch at night (with a light) and then once they are sleeping without it they will be put together with the older ones. Unfortunately, two of them may be a little late.

The reason for that is that last night we got in a lone duckling (a Pacific Black- just like the rest of them). Where his siblings or his Mother got to, I don’t know. So he wouldn’t fret, I took two of the smallest ducklings from the second group that came in and put them in with this little guy. So far, they have been good buddies for him. The reason why I didn’t put him in with them was because he is too young, and too small. They could trample him and make it hard for him to get food and water. Once he is older and bigger, he will be put with them. The only problem is his two ‘buddies’ will then miss out a little because they are keeping him company. Hopefully he will start getting bigger pretty quickly soon (ducklings tend to “grow before your eyes”), and mingling him with the rest won’t be a problem.

Last night’s arrival brings the current grand total to twenty-one.

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Yep…that’s about all I’m hearing today! Not even my Cockatiels have been making much noise today. They haven’t felt the need to! LOL

Two days ago a second duckling was found dead in the morning. I was shocked, and upset…not to mention angry and confused as I didn’t know what was wrong. We took the ducklings to the Vet for a check, but he couldn’t find anything wrong. All that can be presumed was that the ducklings had been through so much already that the ones that had died had used up all their reserves. Even though food, water and shelter was being provided, the damage had already been done. This second one was also one of the smaller ones out of the group.

Today we got called out to help catch a mother duck. All but one of her ducklings had already been captured by the residents. These ducks had, like many do, made the backyard and pool their home. The Chlorine is pools is actually toxic to ducks so it’s really not the best place for them.

The plan was to capture mother duck and her last duckling, gather them all together and relocate them. However, as I know from experience, the mother is always the trickiest to catch. Unfortunately, the capturing of the family had been done the wrong way around. To capture a duck and her young, you catch the MOTHER FIRST, and then the ducklings. This way, mother isn’t as likely to freak and fly away. She will stay with her young. Then, when RELEASING them again, you let the DUCKLINGS go FIRST and then the mother. If you let her go first, she may fly away out of fright and you’ll be left with the ducklings.

Of course, it is much easier said than done. Though ducklings are fast, tricky and- bouncy, they are easier to catch than the adults. Adults can fly, ducklings cannot; therefore they are easier to corner and catch. Unfortunately, in this case, the ducklings had been caught first, and they were already in a box and feeling stressed. The mother was also stressed, suspicious, but hanging around, not wanting to leave her clutch. We tried catching her, but it’s not easy. Becoming frightened she merely flew over our heads before we could get close enough, went back into the pool or squeezed under the gaps in the pool fences. She even flew into a window a couple of times. Fearing she was going to get injured in some way, or become too stressed; and fear for the already stressed ducklings in the box, we had no other choice but to make the hard decision to take the ducklings and leave mother behind. It was hard to take the ducklings with mother following behind, following the calls of her young. If there had been a pond, lake or creek within walking distance, we would have walked the ducklings there (with mother follwing) and then released them- but we couldn’t. The ducklings had to take priority. The nine of them are here now. Mother duck will be ok. She may wander around looking for them, but soon she will leave- and perhaps even come back to have another clutch.

Right now I’m a little more concerned about the ducklings. They seem physically healthy, but one in particular has not been quiet all day. They want their mother, but it’s just not possible. They will be ok, I just hope they sleep tonight! They are so small; we think they either hatched out yesterday or this morning. It has been quite a stressful time for them. I just wish there was some way that I could tell them that it’s ok; I wish there had been some way to tell the mother that we were trying to help.

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It’s been a busy few days. On the eleventh we got a call about half a dozen ducklings running around on the Expressway. We could only give the advice to ring the police, as we can’t stop on the Expressway or halt traffic to rescue wildlife. The Police would work with the RSPCA (the police organizing traffic while the RSPCA rescue the ducklings). We didn’t hear about them after that call.

However, on the twelfth we received a call from  another Fauna Rescue member. She asked if we’d like to take six ducklings into our care. These ducklings had come to her from the RSPCA so it’s possible that they are the ones from the Expressway.

Yesterday we got another call for ducklings whose mother had flown off. It was another seven Pacific Blacks. As they seemed to only be at most a few days apart in age from the first six, they were put then with them.

We then lost one duckling last night 😦 I’m still not sure what was wrong with him (he was one of the smallest). It was painful to watch too. I put him in a seperate box with two others about his size, and put a light on them. I could not take him to a Vet as all the closest ones were closed at that time of night, and the Animal Hospital is almost half an hour away. I did not think he had long, and I didn’t know what to do as I didn’t know what was wrong. All I could do was keep him warm.

There are twelve now, and I am keeping a closer eye on the smallest ones. I had another scare today. We had the ducklings outside in a little carry basket with the lid open so they could get sunlight, but not escape. We then gave them some water, and I think the smallest must’ve got too wet. We let them dry in the sun for a bit before it went overcast and a bit of a chilly breeze came in (otherwise it was a beautiful day). Back inside in their box under the light, most of the ducklings preened themselves. But I then noticed that a rather small one was not preening himself, but still looked quite wet and was following the rest around trying to cuddle and get warm. The others would then just move around and continue preening, leaving this one to try someone else. I took him and two others, who looked just as small and almost as wet, out and put them into a seperate box and put the light on them (using another light for the others). All three cuddled together, but for a while I was still concerned. The little one was cold and shivering. It took over an hour before I saw any sign of improvement. I then saw him preen himself. Relieved, I gave it a little longer (watching to see if he continued to perk up) and then placed the three of them back in with the rest. They’re all huddling together again, but I’m still keeping a close watch on them.

And this is really only the start of the duckling season!

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Minton Farm Animal Rescue Centre shared this information on facebook today. I thought readers of my blog may also be interested.

What to Do When Baby Birds Fall Out of a Nest | eHow.com.

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Hi all,

Back on call for Fauna Rescue again. This morning we got a call about some ducklings on the Expressway. Unfortunately there really wasn’t much we could do about it. The call was, from what I could tell, a Fauna Rescue member on the hotline. She was asking for some advice as, apparently, my mum and I are the only members in our area on the list for ducklings at the moment. The only advice we could give was to call for police assistance. The Expressway is a very busy road. All that can possibly be done is for the police to come and direct traffic while the RSPCA (who is better equppied, has more training and do work with the police) try and rescue the ducklings.

Last I knew the police were being contacted. Whether they’ve gone out to help, I don’t know. The ducklings would have to be found again first to be able to be rescued. We said that if they are rescued then we’d be happy to take them in and raise them; however, that was about five hours ago now.

Well, can only keep my ears open for the phone to ring. As we are the only ones looking after ducklings in our area at the moment, I suppose we’re going to get all the calls for ducklings in distress. I cleaned out the containers and food and water dishes ready today, and we have hay (though peastraw is best) and chick crumbs also. So we’re prepared.

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