Nuisance ducks are moved out of Swaffham after complaints

PUBLISHED: 10:01 22 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 April 2016

A duck in Swaffham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A duck in Swaffham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

A council is ruffling feathers as it attempts to move on a horde of troublesome ducks which have caused complaints in a town.

Forty-four ducks have been relocated after falling “fowl” of a scheme to cut down the numbers of the birds congregating around Swaffham.

Swaffham Town Council hired a company to remove some of them after complaints last year.

Residents raised concerns about the amount of duck droppings in gardens, on pavements and at green spaces, with the Highfield Avenue area a particular concern.

Councillors discussed whether to continue the programme at a meeting last week.

Clerk Richard Bishop said: “The relocation programme means they are going beyond a 12-mile radius from Swaffham and they have been clipped so they can’t fly back.”

He said at least 44 had been removed from the area.

“They have to leave it part of the time as they [the ducks] do get wary of it, they realise their friends, or whatever, are being taken away.”

Councillor Brenda Bowler said: “I have seen a marked improvement since this began. The number of babies are in their hundreds. I know not all of them are going to survive, they fall down drains, rats get them and so on, but there are a lot.”

However PACT Animal Sanctuary founder Chris Rockingham, based at Woodrising, believes the 12-mile radius might not be enough to keep the ducks away.

She said: “Their wings grow back quite quickly and they have a 
good memory, so if they are not 
more than 30 miles away they will probably find their way back in a year’s time.

“Relocation is a bit over the top in my opinion. Sometimes we have had to go and take ducks away from places where there are a lot of elderly people because you don’t want them slipping.

“If it is just a case of a bit of mess on cars then I think it is a little bit selfish of humans.”

Swaffham and Breckland councillor Shirley Matthews said: “It is not a statutory requirement but it is our duty to take pride in our town and to keep our town clean.”

The decision of whether to continue the relocation programme will be made at the council’s next finance meeting.

What do you think? Write to


  • I wonder if they will allow the same fate for some of the town councillors? And as for making a mess on pavements.....there are plenty of dog owners who allow their dogs to mess on the streets and not clean up after them. When will it be OK to move their animals 20 miles away?

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    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

  • If the ducks cant fly they will be easy prey for foxes.

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    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • Seagulls and pigeons to difficult to control let's go down the easy route go for the ducks instead ,how spineless can the council get.

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    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • Wish they could do the same with seagulls in some towns.

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    gerry mitson

    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • If their wings have been clipped, can they still fly enough to avoid predators?

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    Lover of Norfolk

    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • Considering the impact of the duck population; I know this is having on many of the local residents ( and it IS more than a handful ) I think this is the right thing to do. Well done to the council. And yes everything can be said to be "pressing". Maybe, just maybe this might have a positive effect on our 800 year old market town.

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    Responsible parent

    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • Hey! Swaffham! leave them ducks alone!

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    Stephen Strange

    Friday, April 22, 2016

  • Surely there are more pressing things that Swaffham Town Council should spend their time looking at. The ongoing demise of the 800 year market being just one.

    Report this comment


    Friday, April 22, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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