Female Mallard & ducklings walking through a housing estate

Female Mallard and ducklings
Female Mallard and ducklings

Date & time: 2nd July 2013, 11:19hrs
Casualty first found: 2nd July 2013 11:00hrs
Species and incident: Mallard & ducklings walking through a housing estate
Location of rescue: Grove Estate in Hailsham, East Sussex
Rescuers: Trevor, Tony, Claire & Tom

» Download the casualty form (PDF)

Initial phone call

The caller explained that they had found a female mallard with about 13 babies walking through the cul-de-sac outside their house and out of concern for their safety managed to get them ushered into their garden for safety. They were concerned they may get run over.

Map of the ponds in the area
Map of the ponds in the area

Rescue notes

Two ambulances attended on site bring in four rescues from two different locations. The mallard and ducklings were alert and able to move around with out any signs of obvious injury. The female mallard's wings were level and balanced correctly on her body and showing no signs of injury or trauma. The duckling were counted and she was found to have 11 ducklings, none of which appeared unhealthy. The ducklings were approximately 2-4 days old. Counting the ducklings is important in case mum becomes frightened and flies off causing the ducklings to scatter, and ensures you find the right number.

It is not uncommon for ducklings to be born in gardens as they are safer locations to nest than by ponds or waterways. However this leads to the mother needing to walk her youngsters to a nearby pond once the youngsters are several days old.

Two ambulances attended on site to bring in four rescuers from two different locations.
Two ambulances attended on site to bring in four rescuers from two different locations.

Rescue & casualty assessment

There was no immediate threat the mother or ducklings life, and no reason for them to need hospitalisation. Looking at local maps it was discovered that there were at least three different ponds which the female mallard was possibly heading towards.

Rescue plan

It was decided against trying to catch the mallard and ducklings and relocated them as the risk of moving them to the wrong pond was too great. An Ambulance will be used to drive slowly in front of the mum and duckling but at a suitable distance not to discourage the mum and ducklings. Two rescuers will be assigned to monitor and stand on any drains to prevent ducklings from falling through. The final rescuer helped by a couple of local residents walked slowly behind the mum and ducklings again at a suitable distance as not to discourage or influence the direction in which she travels. Sussex Police is informed of the situation and rescue.

Rescuers were assigned to monitor and stand on any drains to prevent ducklings from falling through
Rescuers were assigned to monitor and stand on any drains to prevent ducklings from falling through

Rescue summary and outcome

Rescuers opened the garden gate and mum and ducklings very quickly walked out the garden and started walking down the Close. An ambulance drove in front with hazard orange beacons flashing and stopping and speaking to motorists. The roads on the estate were luckily very quiet. Rescuers following from behind whilst rescuers monitored drains. The ducklings steadily walked following mum through the estate for about 20 minutes along Birch Way, across the green at The Grove, across the The Grove and into Gilbert Way. The mum then went under a chain link fence and hedge onto grounds of Ersham Farm and turned west in the direction of the main farm pond where they entered the water safely. The farm gave permission to enter their land to check on the mum and ducklings which were monitored for 30 minutes to check they were at their final destination.

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