Female duck and ducklings in garden

Hi there

Two days ago we discovered a female mallard and six ducklings in our relatively small, enclosed garden. There is no way for them to get out on their own, no gate for us to open etc. The only access is through a double length garage or the house. We called the rspb who advised to catch them and take them to nearest water (the river is less than a mile away). Unfortunately when we tried to catch the mother first as instructed she escaped leaving the ducklings behind. Amazingly after a couple of hours of her circling around overhead she tentatively came back to the garden and they are now reunited as a family again. 

We have put out two large shallow dishes of water, some porridge oats and some duck food. They frequently come out from under the hedges where they sleep, they drink and eat and look very happy and healthy at the moment. 

Our failed attempt at catching and moving them has me worried to try again for fear of losing the mother and having six orphaned ducklings. How essential is is that they get to a proper place with water soon?

Thanks for any advice.


  • I have the same problem! Mother and 12 ducklings apeared yesterday. We are about 1/2 mile from water where the ducks live. We hve no water in the garden and like you no way out of the garden. We had a female and 5 chicks last year but eventually only two then suddenly they disapeared along with the female. Can only presume the crows got the babies and she flew away. We now have an 11 month old spaniel who we cant let out in the garden as he goes frantic when he sees them! Nobody seems to want to help! I am retired and have been for 8 years so have no hope of catching them and taking them to water! I just want them gone!!

  • Sara, Susie,
    I'm really at a lost as to what to suggest.

    There are people on these forums far more experienced than I, and hopefully one or two will come back to you with some sound advice.

    In your position, if I were looking for some practical help and perhaps a solution that would work both for me and for the birds, having called the RSPB, I'd try to find a local wildlife rescue/rehabilitation centre. Not to take the birds there (even if you could catch them), but for some more extensive practical advice. If the birds were to be moved, people working at these centres would have, I would hope, the necessary experience.

    Re your spaniel, Susie, try to look at it as what may become an annual event. Our cats are always confined to quarters for at least three days, if not four or five, once a nest has fledged in the garden; as the years go by, they're getting to take it in quite a zen fashion.

    All the best -
  • Thank you Dave. Have tried Rspca local wildlife etc but not interested. Magpie took another one today. So sad! Hope it wont become an annnual event but at least with that in mind it may encourage us to get the garden sorted!!
  • Susie, I'm very sorry, for you, for Sara, and for the ducks.

    And I'm both surprised and disappointed that you haven't been able to get any more concrete help or more detailed advice, not necessarily from these forums as they don't, I think, provide that guarantee, but by contacting the RSPB and other organisations.

    Sounds, though, like the garden will be your next project.

    All the best -