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Found a duckling?

In most cases the duckling will be fine, but look out for the below to make sure.

The mother is usually close by and will likely return. If after two hours she hasn’t returned, please carefully collect the ducklings in a box and take to your nearest wildlife centre.

If you can see a dead adult bird nearby, only monitor the ducklings for an hour before contacting us. If you can see more than one, call us straight away.

If the duckling is sick or injured, find out what to do with an injured wild animal

Capture and boxing baby ducks

If it’s safe to catch and handle the duckling then, wearing suitable gloves, place it into a secure ventilated cardboard box, lined with towel or newspaper (do not offer food or water). Keep the bird somewhere warm and quiet and take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.

Make sure you handle the duckling as little as possible and keep any dogs well away. It's important to keep them wild so minimise human contact.

Nearest wildlife centre

It’s often faster to take an animal to a wildlife rehabilitator yourself, as your nearest RSPCA Officer may be out of the area attending other calls. If you're unable to transport the duckling, you can contact us.

Please don’t try to rear a duckling yourself, they need expert care and special facilities if they're to survive well in the wild.

Found ducklings in a high nest

Nests up to four meters high (the first floor of a normal house) are fine, but anything higher than this we recommend contacting us.

It’s not uncommon to see wild ducks nested up in trees, a high ledge or a balcony. This shouldn’t be a danger to them as they’re light with a fluffy down, which protects them from heights like this.

If they’re nested above hard flooring like concrete, pile some soft materials (e.g. straw, leaves and grass) under the nest to cushion their fall.

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In most cases it's best to leave a duck family alone

The mother duck will know what she's doing and is best placed to care for her young. Interfering carries the risk of the mother flying away and abandoning the ducklings.

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Duckling looking up by a pond © RSPCA

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Contacting us

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