At the Meredith household we have a crazy family of ducks who return each year.
The mother duck (lovingly named ‘Hop-a-long’ due to her limp) chose to nest in my hanging basket of all places, high up and safe from foxes. Protective of her nest, she tried to bite you if you went anywhere near the basket, which meant it had to remain flower-free for a while!
Despite all her nipping we did manage to feed her in the nest and after she had lovingly sat on them for what seemed like an awful long time she had 9 ducklings.
When the 9 ducklings hatched Hop-a-long jumped out of her nest, closely followed by 5 of the ducklings who had hatched first and were large enough to make the 4 ft. drop to the patio from the hanging basket. She waddled off with her 5 young in tow and abandoned the remaining 4.
My daughter took them in and kept them over night underneath heat lamp. We fed them using pipettes from the chemist and the 4 abandoned ducklings began to thrive.
When the mother duck returned on our front lawn the next day we rubbed the ducklings in grass to remove any human smell from them and let them loose into the garden. They ran off together quacking across the lawn, it really was a moving sight.
We then fed the ducks every day with duck pellets, the gaggle arriving at the back door morning and noon for food. If we ever left the back door open they often waddled in looking for food. They continued to grow every day and eventually flew south for the winter.
This spring some of the ducklings returned and, once again one of them chose our hanging basket for their nest. Again, 9 ducklings hatched and only 5 made the jump down to the patio.
We took in the 4 remaining ducklings and kept them warm and fed them. My daughter and her friends named them Pancake, Hoising, Aromatic and Kate (as in Moss as she liked having her photo taken).
This time however, the mother duck didn’t come back, so we have taken them to the local bird sanctuary and hospital, although it was very hard to give them up.
We hope they are thriving together.