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Abandoned baby duck - what should I do?

6 Answers
We have a lot of duck come to our yard and for the first time we got the female with 8 li'l babies! But.one of them keeps getting left behind. Its foot is injured and though it swims ok, it cannot keep up. The mother has been leaving it behind, followed by all 7 healthy chicks, comes back for it because it peeps for help, leaves again farther each time. Appears she has ditched it for now. Normally I let nature be and do not interfere. Try not to even throw bread out like some people do because our bread is industrial waste. Now: should I assume it has been left to die? Anyone know a lot about ducks? Should I take it in and allow it time to rest? I fed it a couple bugs and it peeped and ate them. I gave it some rainwater, avoiding our chemical tap.
B

Baby ducks are easy to care for. They're also affectionate and, depending on the breed, gentle animals. You can find a variety of foods designed specifically for poultry at the local feed store (if you have one nearby) or possibly at your local PetsMart (they carry feeds in some location). Look for "chick starter mash." It is a powdery dry food that is easily eaten and digested by the youngsters. Ducks like to have water near their food, and as such they'll soon turn it into a sloppy mess as they move from mash to water and back to the mash. Place it in a low dish (I used to like using black Fortex rubber pans) and make sure the water is readily available for them to clean up afterwards.

If the duckling is peeping at you, it is probably hungry (and baby ducklings are always hungry). That's normal. Keep in mind that with an injured foot, the duckling will be at a disadvantage with predators. It may also be prone to being bullied, injured, or even killed by its fellow ducks. Nature is cruel to baby animals with differences.

If you have a safe place to confine the duckling (they don't need more than about a two-foot high barrier), provide ample water -- tap water is fine -- and abundant food. Babies should have open access to the chick mash. Ducklings are very vulnerable when they are not in large bodies of water, as they can't fly or outrun anything -- but you know that. For the water pan, again, those Fortex pans are great -- or one of those black plastic oil changing pans (readily available from your local AutoZone or even Walmart) makes a great duckling pool. Change it out a couple of times a day -- ducklings are messy!

Good luck with that little guy. I miss my ducks and geese tremendously.

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T

Hi, although I do not know much about ducks, except they go quack - to be cheeky, I think you did the right thing in letting it be until you feel she isn't coming back.

Do you have a wildlife carer or RSPCA or something animal wise that you could call up and have them come out to see the duck or care for it until it is healed? They may not even need to do anything but it is better to be safe than sorry. You could also try ringing your local vet or try taking a photo of the ducks foot, and asking advice in general over your local facebook animals page if you have one. Our town has a Facebook animals classifieds page where things like this are posted and people can get help.
They may tell you to just leave the duck be but at least you did the right thing and asked for advice.

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B

I would take the baby duck in and try and nurse it back to health. If the mother and her ducklings return to your yard maybe I would try and reintroduce the baby duck back with its family but only after the injured baby is healthy. If the injury is something more than a minor injury I would try and take it to a local vet or have your local animal rescue folks come take a look.

i know this kind of thing is part of nature but I hate seeing animals suffer and if there were something that I could do for the baby duck I would do it. If you don't do anything and it dies you may regret not intervening.

Good luck and thanks for the question.

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M

To get help with an orphan duck, call an animal rescue like BEAKS they will give you the information you need to know to care for the duckling, and possibly send someone out to get the duck. If BEAKS can't come out you can always call a pet store and ask them what to do.

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C

Also, it's siblings in the far distance now seem to be walking around with no problem and getting faster. This one is nodding off occasionally but when I put a bug in my palm and let it crawl, the duckling eats it with vigor.

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C

If it peeps at me, what should I do?

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