How to Help an Injured Duck

Updated November 21, 2016

Ducks, a common site around ponds and parks, make their homes in many areas frequented by people. These waterfowl are delightful to watch as they skim across a pond, but occasionally they suffer injuries because of accidents, natural circumstance and, sadly, human negligence. Whether your own domestically raised duck has become injured, or you have found an injured wild duck, a few precautions will ease the stress and help the bird heal.

Catch the duck. If the injured bird is domestically raised and accustomed to humans, you may be able to simply walk over and pick it up. If the duck is frightened, or you are working with a wild duck, set up a dish of moistened dog food and wait for the duck to begin eating. Once the duck is engaged in eating, you can toss a net over it. If possible, try to encourage the duck to an enclosed area such as a shed or garage that will make it easier to catch the bird. Once the duck is netted, hold it gently by the neck and cradle the body snugly to keep it from flapping.

Prepare a holding box for the duck. Use a soft blanket or towel to line a cardboard box that's large enough to accommodate the duck. Set the duck inside and cover the box with a lid that has ventilation holes or with another blanket or towel and leave it alone for at least an hour. Darkness helps calm the duck and allows it time to come out of a shocked state.

Contact waterfowl professionals. In the case of a domestic duck, contact a veterinarian immediately. Ducks, and birds in general, are sensitive to injury and need immediate care. If you have a wild duck, contact your local wildlife rescue group, the ASPCA or animal control for help in caring for the injured duck.

Transport the duck for treatment. Drive the duck to the veterinarian or rescue centre as soon as possible. The more quickly the duck receives treatment, the better the outcome. Do not attempt to assess injuries on your own because this could cause further injury.


Do not feed or water the injured duck. The duck may be in shock and could inhale food or water if you attempt hand-feeding.

Things You'll Need

  • Net
  • Box
  • Blanket
  • Phone/Internet access
  • Veterinarian
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