Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Duckling Time!

I love this time of the year when all the little balls of fluff make an appearance, the only problem is I find nature quite cruel at this time more than ever.

One day you will see Mother Duck with her brood of twelve, only to see her the next day with some missing. I hate it when I hear the pitiful peep peeping of a lonesome little Duckling who has lost his Mum. They look like a little fluffy full stop in the middle of the Canal, which to them must feel like an ocean! They do seem very capable though, they feed themselves, there is nothing funnier than watching as they jump up to catch low flying gnats and flies.

In all the years I have been on the boat I have never noticed how many get killed by getting trapped in tyres down the side of boats, as they use them to follow their Mums on to the bank .I have lost count of the amount I have set free that have been inside tyres and can’t get out, or worse crushed to death.

I mentioned it to Mark, and he said it might be an idea to put, “ Duckling ramps” in. So he got an old scaffolding plank attached rope one end secured it with a mooring pin on the bank and just rested it in the water. I was that chuffed the first time I saw a family of little Ducks walk up the plank, I wanted one too! They use them all the time to get out of the water so result!

I noticed the other night a lone Duckling sitting at the top of the ramp, a tiny newly hatched one. When I approached it didn’t move, I gently picked him up and brought him inside. Now I know you shouldn’t interfere with nature but he seemed quite distressed, there was no sign of his Mother anywhere. I placed him gently on the settee and he snuggled down.

PICT0002I put a fifty pence in the shot to give you an idea how tiny he was!

After letting him rest for a while, I decided I couldn’t keep him so decided to see if he could swim before I let him go…

PICT0007 

So after a couple of laps around my Bathroom sink I let him go. I just hope he makes it!

11 comments:

Ken said...

Lovely story Debbie x

life afloat on nb tickety boo said...

Thank you Ken, for the nice comment.


Debbie.

Anonymous said...

I would have done the same...
OK we shouldn't interfere with nature...
but you just can't sit there & watch the babies die can you ...
God bless you.. x

Pete said...

Love the "duckling Ramp" and theamount of effort you put in for the little chap. Well done Debbie.

Pete

Carol said...

You are so kind Debbie. I was walking along the Shroppie once and the old man in the lock cottage there used to look out for the wildlife. One day 5 signets sat on top of the bywash by the lock and got washed through to the bottom of the lock, he came down and caught them in a fishing net and handed them to me so I could take them to the top of the lock back to their parents. They swam back to Mum and climbed on her back under her wings and she then swam past us and lifted her wings so we could see she had them all safely on board. He said that the crows would have got them otherwise. I don't think we should worry about giving nature a helping hand sometimes.

life afloat on nb tickety boo said...

Thank you Pete, and Carol what a great story about the swans! I do agree with you sometimes it doesn't hurt to interfere with nature, I must admit it was lovely holding the little duckling!

Debbie.

Carol said...

I know the signets were really lovely and soft. I presume your little duck felt the same. I wanted to hold them for a while but I know how protective swans are so put them back pretty sharpish . lol

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Deb,
That was the appropriate thing to do--bless you. I would love to see a picture of the duckling ramp.
Jaq

life afloat on nb tickety boo said...

Hi Jaq, I would love to catch the Ducklings walking up the ramp, but I normally only see their little wet foot prints where they have trooped up in a line. I did see them once all march up the ramp, it made my day, but as usual I didn't have my camera ready, typical!
I will send you a picture soon. Hope all is well in your world.

Debbie

joe said...

boss story deb love the pic of ur houseboat

Mike, Mags, Poppy and Abbey said...

Ducklings are pretty self sufficient for food on their own from day one. The problems are the predators, including Pike, Crows, Kestrel and a whole host of others. Chicks often get lost by being left behind and will often attach themselves to other passing broods.

Picking up a lone chick and providing some warmth and shelter from the rain or overnight is a good idea. Release the chick when another brood comes by - it will attach itself.

Duckling down unlike feathers is not waterproof. It gives some insulation whilst the feathers develop.

The duck ramp is a good idea, as is an old car wheel including the tyre anchored to the boat or bank side. Put a plastic bag in the centre of the wheel and fill with a bit of soil and a grass sod pulled from the bank. Instant duck island that the ducklings can easily climb on to.

Take care.
Mick n Mags