WHY IS THE DUCKLING ORPHANED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Well, duck eggs hatch at different times. Mother duck will wait until all the eggs have hatched before moving her ducklings to water where they will be safe.
So, the first duckling to hatch will be the oldest and the strongest and the last to hatch will be much weaker.
This is the one which tends to drop behind and is eventully left. For this reason, the straggler is known as "tail end Charlie".
REMEMBER, DUCKS CANNOT COUNT ! so if one duckling gets left behind, mother duck will NOT MISS it and the duckling is doomed unless picked up by a human.
Ducks lay their eggs in the strangest of places, sometimes totally unsuitable and downright foolhardy.
Each year many calls are received about ducks hatching their young in gardens where they cannot get out. The RSPB has some good guidelines, which you can find here.
WHAT TO DO WITH AN ORPHANED DUCKLING:-
1. DO PICK THE DUCKLING UP and handle gently. A cardboard box lined with a towel will keep the duckling safe (although they can jump !)
2. DO RING A WILDLIFE RESCUE. The RSPB is NOT a wildlife rescue, but may have contact numbers of a wildlife rescue who can help.
3. DO LOOK ROUND FOR MORE DUCKLINGS. Sometimes, when mother duck and her ducklings are frightened, they will scatter. Mum may even fly off and come back to her ducklings when the danger is gone. Ducklings can hide very well and are very difficult to spot.
Mum cannot count so if she had 15 ducklings and gathers/regroups 11 ducklings, she will not notice and the ducklings will be left behind.
4. DO KEEP THE DUCKLING WARM - small down covered ducklings cannot maintain their own body heat and will need a covered hot water bottle, heat pad, wheat bag or even a pop bottle filled with hot water and wrapped in a pillowcase.
WHAT NOT TO DO WITH AN ORPHANED DUCKLING:-
1. DO NOT put the duckling onto water. If you do it will be DOOMED ! Male ducks, the drakes will attack it, plus the duckling is not waterproof without grease from its mother.
2. DO NOT: leave the duckling where it is. Mother duck will NOT come back for the duckling, she cannot count. The duckling will be quickly predated by any number of predators, crows, magpies, weazels, etc.
3. DO NOT feed the duckling bread and milk. It will need chick crumbs, which are bought very cheaply from a pet store. A shallow bowl of water should be offered and pond weed if you can get it.
4. DO NOT let your children handle the duckling. Ducklings can be easily stressed and their internal organs can be crushed.
5. DO NOT allow the duckling to become imprinted. It will not survive in the wild if it views humans as its family. Please pass the duckling on to a wildlife rescue.
On the 1st April, a female hedgehog was admitted with lacerations and a broken leg. These were caused by a dog attack. The leg had to be amputated
The Wildlife Orphanage has had an influx of small hedgehogs over the last few weeks. These are the Autumn Juveniles, born late in the year. They are often seen out in daytime and looking a bit wobbly. Please act quickly if you see one as they go downhill rapidly.
With winter just around the corner, these little hogs will be just too light for hibernation. They need to put on lots of weight to see them through the winter.
If you see a tiny hedgehog roaming about, often in daylight,
Please ring 0771 1883072 for advice.