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Orphaned mallards

Long story short, we have 3, orphaned mallards. Mum and rest of brood scared off by neighbours cat and never returned.   Local rescue said to let them go and 'leave it to nature'. RSPCA said they could only take them at their site 4hrs round trip away!  (We don't even live remotely!)  

A week on, they are happy underneath their warm brooder tray, we have duckling crumbs, leafy treats, water etc. I kept ducks years ago, so have some experience.  As they get bigger, we plan to move them to an outdoor pen. 

I cannot find anything online for advice.  Am I legally allowed to raise wild mallards like this or am I supposed to have a license?  Will they actually fly off when they get old enough? Which I want them to do!  Any advice appreciated.
Coastal Suffolk/Essex Border- Clay soil


  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    I’ve no idea of the legality, but we had some orphaned mallards we raised when I was little. They hung around for a long time but did eventually fly off, but often returned.

    They all seemed quite capable of surviving in the wild, despite being raised on an unenlightened 70’s diet of sliced white bread and some of the chickens corn. I’m sure there is lots more information on how they should be raised these days, including I imagine minimising human contact. But my point is I guess, I’d would just do the best you can and I think as long as you get them past the very young stage they will probably be ok 
  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    Found this link which seems to offer some good comprehensive advice
  • IlikeplantsIlikeplants Posts: 894
    My workplace always get a mama duck and all her ducklings staying in a courtyard until the ducklings get old enough to learn to fly out of there. The staff look after the brood and feed them until they’re ready to go. Seems to be a regular thing with the same mama duck returning to raise her young there. I guess it’s quite protected from predators.
  • I think lots of different wildlife get help from humans,it would be callous to leave them to get on with it.Good luck with the babies,my OH takes a small bag of food for the little brood on his golf course.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • Jenny_AsterJenny_Aster Posts: 909
    If you are protecting them then there's no issue. Although I did report a canal boater who had captured a couple of healthy ducks and had them in a crate by the side of the towpath, no doubt he was planning to eat them for his dinner. The police took my complaint seriously thank goodness. 
    Trying to be the person my dog thinks I am! 

    Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
  • Thank goodness you spotted them @Jenny_Aster
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
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