Submitted by Steve on 10:23, 9th Apr, 2021 | 0

During Spring and Summer abandoned ducklings for one reason or another sometimes find themselves separated from their mother and the rest of their brood.

 This may be for a variety of reasons such as: 

  • They have been taken by a predator which has been spooked or bullied for their prize lunch and has then dropped the little duckling who has managed to flee. 
  • They have been washed into a douit or other water hazard and not been able to get out. 
  • The mother and / or father have been killed by a predator or run over by a car. 
  • They have been separated from their mother during the hazardous walk along Guernsey roads to find water.

The most common reason we are called out to rescue our little feathered friends is because they have been separated from their mother on their first trip from the nest to find water. Often they will have a long and potentially hazardous walk following the mother duck to the nearest water, sometimes a mile or two from home, along main roads walking in and out of the traffic!

In most instances the separation is temporary and if left they will be reunited and continue on their journey. If however the mother duck does not return or is spooked then it is best to call for help.

Every year the GSPCA team is called to rescue ducklings from Douits. On those occasions the ducklings had often fallen into the Douits and the strong running water has forced the ducklings against a grating where they can be too tired to get away and if left they are not rescued would eventually drown. Thankfully often the ducklings are rescued and make it to the Shelter.

(Douits can cause a danger to many species including Hedgehogs and if you see any animal caught in one please call our emergency line on 01481 257261)

If you find a duckling that is alone or in trouble:

Keep your distance, keep the babies protected and wait to see if the mother returns – this is usually within half an hour.

If she doesn’t return then you can put them in a safe box and bring them to the GSPCA or call the Shelter on 257261 and we will send somebody out to help.

To donate to help the ducklings and other animals in our care please visit -

What to do if you are concerned about a mother and ducklings:

It is a common sight to see a mother and ducklings around Guernsey at this time of year.

If you do come across a mother duck and her young while driving please slow down and if necessary shepherd them calmly across a danger point, such as a busy road, to a safe spot.  Unfortunately we have already had reports this year where uncaring drivers have purposely ran over ducklings in the road.

Often mother ducks nest away from water and then lead their ducklings to water soon after hatching. This often involves going through built up areas and crossing busy roads to get to the water.

If you do try to help a mother duck and her family across a road please be aware you can easily frighten them. If they do become frightened then the ducklings will scatter around and the mother is likely to fly off. However, it will help the birds if the traffic is directed when they are trying to cross a road and this may also prevent accidents. Slowly and carefully herding the family group to water is probably most effective. However, if they mother and young are separated, the ducklings can be put in an open-topped box and left until the mother returns. When she does the ducklings should then be gently released from the box so that the family are back together as a group. The mother will keep an eye on you and will only return when she believes you are at a safe distance.

Please remember that in most in cases it is best to leave a duck family alone. The mother duck will know where she is going and is best placed to rear her young.

If you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that the ducklings are orphaned or abandoned then please contact our 24 hour emergency line 01481 257261.  In the meantime, however please keep the ducklings contained, warm and dry and NEVER put them on water without their mother.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “Every year we are asked to help hundreds of ducklings that members of public are concerned about.”

“If ducklings are with their mothers then this is the best place for them to be reared so that the mother duck can teach them the life skills they need but if they become sick, injured or orphaned then we are always here to help at the GSPCA.”

“We do often get calls from people concerned about mums and ducklings and we are always happy to give advice but they are always best left undisturbed wherever possible.”

“We also regularly get calls from people upset about ducks in their pools or on their patios.”

“Ducks are wild animals although we do get called in regards strays from time to time but we have put together some helpful advice but it is important to remember the Animal Welfare Ordinance prohibits interfering with wild animals but if you have specific concerns we are happy to discuss or call the States Vet Department.”

“This year we have already helped 29 ducklings with Dave being the first who arrived on the 12th February and who was released back to the wild this week.”

The GSPCA always encourages kindness to animals and supporting those living in the wild but we do get regular calls from members of the public about the appearance of unwanted ducks which can be problematic, especially when they arrive in large numbers. The reasons for the calls can be due to ducks depositing faeces in gardens or pools or things like their large, flat feet trampling tender seedlings. Convincing ducks to leave often involves a multipronged approach, but the solutions are, fortunately, simple and inexpensive.

  1. Remove all bird feeders from your garden or ideally place in a location accessible to the ducks or using seed catchers so it isn’t deposited on the ground.  Removing access to birdseed that dropped to the ground under the feeders helps remove the attraction to visit your garden for food. Avoid growing strawberry plants (Fragaria x ananassa) and lettuce plants (Lactuca spp.). Birdseed, strawberries and lettuce attract ducks, so ideal if you do want to attract or feed them.
  2. Hang streamers and windsocks from poles or trees throughout your garden. Their movement will scare away ducks. Place a life-size swan statue in your garden, or float an inflatable swan in your swimming pool, if you have one. Swans are natural enemies of ducks.
  3. Install a fence or natural hedge around your garden or yard. This method is especially useful if your property sits adjacent to a douit, pond or reservoir which all attract ducks. Low hedges can deter some ducks from entering your yard or garden and won't obstruct your view and will help many other wild animals like hedgehogs, insects and song birds.
  4. Keep a cover on your swimming pool if you have a pool. An uncovered pool attracts ducks, which may nest nearby. Unfortunately, ducklings frequently fall into swimming pools and can cause them a real hazard if there is nowhere for them to easily escape if they have high sides.

Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Bucket or bag
  • Streamers
  • Windsocks
  • Poles (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Life-size swan statue or inflatable swan
  • Fence or hedge plants
  • Swimming pool cover


  • If a duckling finds its way into your swimming pool, then provide a ramp to help it get out of the water. Don’t pick up or handle the duckling because its mother may fly away and not come back.
  • Reconsider your decision to remove ducks, especially if their number is few. Ducks eat insects, slugs and snails, and so they can help keep your garden naturally free of pests or greatly reduce pest populations if allowed to stay in your garden.

Some Guernsey duck facts

  • Did you now that ducks and ducklings are the second most popular species that the GSPCA rescues with an average 100-200 birds a year.
  • During the Summer months the GSPCA often have 30 to 50 ducks and ducklings in our care.
  • Ducks have large broods of young as sadly they are predated on by other species of animals which rely on them as a food source for themselves and their young.
  • Currently the largest brood of ducklings recorded was 24 in Arundel, Sussex from a Mallard mother earlier last year.
  • A Mallard has an average clutch size of 8–13 eggs, which are incubated for 27–28 days to hatching with 50–60 days to fledgling.
  • Ducklings are precocial and fully capable of swimming as soon as they hatch.

Steve continued “With few fund raisers and next to no boarding due to lockdown the GSPCA income has been hit hard and we need your support now more than ever.”

“There are many ways you can help support our vital 24/7 work and donate or raise funds for the hundreds of animals in our care.”

“With over 140 hedgehogs, 3 seal pups, dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, fish, reptiles and many birds we help over 3000 animals through the doors every year.”

“With so many animals in our care we would love you to join our sponsor scheme to help us each month.”

“Just a couple of pounds each month can make a massive difference in helping the animals in our care and to find out more please go to .”

“To make a donation you can go to .”  

“We couldn’t do so much without your support and here a few ideas of how you can help us help animals in Guernsey.”


Donate by calling  01481 257261, by post to GSPCA, Rue des Truchots, St Andrews, Guernsey GY6 8UD or online

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For lots more ideas why not visit our fundraising page

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Check out our wish list page from the smallest of items to our biggest of projects there are many ways to support us -

To visit our Amazon Wish list to see some of the items we need to help the wildlife please visit -

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By leaving a gift to the GSPCA in your Will really helps us to improve the lives of animals into the future.  After providing for those you care for, please consider leaving a proportion of what remains to the GSPCA it is so appreciated and makes a real lasting legacy.

A gift like this to the GSPCA ensures our animals and those in Guernsey will always have someone to keep them safe. To find out more please 

Gift Aid on Donations over £500

To find out about the States of Guernsey tax relief information on gift aid up to 2020 on donations totalling between £500 and £5000 please see the details by going to

2021 gift aid is from £500 and up to £7500 and here are the details -

To download the form to claim for 2020 or before please follow this link

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In line with States of Guernsey advice please DO NOT visit the GSPCA if have been outside of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in line with their advice or have any symptoms of Coronavirus and we continue visits to the Shelter for only essential reasons and to please call us on 01481 257261 or email [email protected] before your trip to see if we can help without you coming to the Shelter. For the latest information and advice please visit

With huge challenges on our resources and a drop in income from boarding and donations please help us help animals in Guernsey with our #GSPCACoronavirusCrisisAppeal by donating online via -





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