RSPCA staff at East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn inundated with ducklings
- Credit: Archant
Staff at the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre have been inundated by orphaned and injured little ducklings.
Already this year, some 173 ducklings have been admitted to the wildlife hospital but this is just the beginning as last year they admitted over 500.
Centre manager Alison Charles said: 'We're looking after a huge number of ducklings at the moment.
'Most of the little creatures have been orphaned, others have fallen down drains or been injured in some way.
'It's a real labour of love getting them ready for their release back into the wild.'
When a duckling is first brought to the centre, it is checked over by our vet and admitted. Many are dehydrated, hypothermic or injured. They are then moved to a warm, cosy box in the orphan's room with a heat lamp above them and a heat mat below as they have no mum to keep them warm. If the duckling arrives on its own, the Centre tries to provide it with the company of another similar sized youngster.
Mrs Charles added: 'Once the ducklings are strong enough and moving and eating well, they are moved to live in groups in the special duckling room here at the centre.
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'The bays they stay in have wood shavings on the floor, with underfloor heating and a heat lamp above the ducklings.
'They are fed on duck crumb and chopped grass and have access to water in a drinker. Ducklings look very sweet but are very labour intensive as they need their food and water to be replenished throughout the day and to be cleaned out on a daily basis.
'Once they reach 200g in weight, their feed is changed to growers pellets.
'They are then moved outside to a shallow pool with a grass area and a loose box before moving to a larger pool and paddock when their flight feathers are almost developed.'
Once they have their flight feathers and can fly the RSPCA releases the ducks in family size groups on nearby waterways with suitable habitat.
In the past 10 years, the RSPCA's East Winch Wildlife Centre has looked after 5,390 mallard ducklings.
Some 3,345 of them were orphaned, 332 were entangled in line or netting or stuck down a drain, and 130 had been attacked by another animal or bird.