A female and male duck will select mates in late fall, and the nesting process will begin at the beginning of spring. The ducks will generally build the nest away from a large body of water near an area that is well hidden and free of potential predators. The duckling will hatch approximately 24 to 28 days after incubation. Ducklings are abandoned for several reasons, including injury to the mother, or because they were too weak to walk to the water or hatched later than the rest of the eggs.
Contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre or veterinarian in your area immediately after finding the ducklings. These facilities are well-equipped to care for the ducklings, especially if the animal is injured or sick.
Place the orphaned ducklings into a cardboard box that has been lined with a towel and provide the ducklings with a constant heat source, such as a heat lamp or heating pad. This will prevent the ducklings from catching chill.
Set a shallow bowl inside the box and offer the ducklings finely-crumbled white bread. The ducklings do not require feeding and will approach the food and know how to eat immediately after hatching. According to the Bird Care and Conservation Society, one piece of bread is all that is required to feed 10 ducklings for one day. Mix 1/4 cup starter crumbs, which is feed available at farm supply and pet stores, in with the white bread. This will provide the duckling with the nutrients it requires to thrive.
Supplement the duckling's diet with weeds. Head outside and pull up several different varieties of weeds and offer them to the ducks every day. Remove any uneaten weeds at the end of the day to prevent the ducks from eating the ones that have wilted.
Supply the ducklings with a constant source of fresh water. Fill a shallow plastic container with a one-inch layer of water. The ducks will climb in and out of the container, splashing around and drinking the water. Change the water inside the plastic container twice-a-day and set a rock inside to help the ducks get in and out.
Things you need
- Cardboard box
- Heat lamp or heating pad
- Shallow bowl
- White bread
- Starter crumbs
- Shallow plastic container