A woman had quite the surprise when she stepped out of her front door to find a cardboard box of ducklings dumped in her yard.
The RSPCA was contacted and West Yorkshire inspector Sophie John went to the home, in Common Lane, Halifax, on Monday morning (April 30th).
“I believe the ducklings are Khaki Campbells and are around three weeks old,” Inspector John said.
“They still have fluffy, downy features so have a bit of growing to do yet.
“The woman went out on the school run and said, when she returned, that the box wasn’t there. However, just a few hours later when she stepped outside she spotted the cardboard box and found the ducklings inside.
“Thankfully, the birds are physically okay so I took them to a colleague who will be fostering them at home until they are big enough to be rehomed.”
Inspector John suspects the birds - now nicknamed Thelma and Louise - were dumped by someone who could no longer care for them.
“Ducklings and chicks are tiny, cute and fluffy when they’re just a few days old and they can be extremely easy and cheap to buy,” Inspector John added.
“People buy them on a whim and think they’ll make a nice pet but soon realise how much responsibility they are to care for.
“They grow quickly and if their environment isn’t well managed, it can get quite messy so I suspect, when someone realised how big these two ducks would get and got fed up of cleaning up after them, they decided to abandon them so they would be someone else’s problem.
“Unfortunately, the RSPCA is often picking up the pieces when people take on pets without properly researching and considering the commitment involved, and my colleagues and I are often called out to collect animals that have been cast aside.”
The little ducklings will be cared for by RSPCA inspector Nina Small and, if no one claims them, will eventually be rehomed.
Ducks should have a safe home away from dangerous areas, such as roads. Fencing should be safe, escape-proof, and provide protection against wild animals. Ducks need a large space so that they can move around, stretch their wings and rest undisturbed - including access to shelter, with a clean, dry, well-bedded lying area large enough to enable all the birds to lie down together at the same time. Ducks should be provided with a safe, secure ‘house’ and access to a well-managed outdoor space.
Ducks need to have access to a water source they can get into, such as a pond, large pool or trough. The water should be deep enough to at least enable the birds to fully submerge their heads - for ducks we’d recommend the water should be at least 10cm deep. The water does not necessarily have to be deep enough to enable the birds to swim. However, if it is deep enough to allow swimming then there should be shallower areas that enable the birds to stand upright in the water so they can perform a range of wet-preening behaviours.
Ducks should be kept with appropriate company of their own kind - but if you have a mixed sex group please consider the possibility of ducklings.
If you’d like to offer a home to a rescue duck, chicken or other farm animal, visit the RSPCA’s Find A Pet search function online.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing animals, like Thelma and Louise, please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.