Found 3 day old mallard... What to do!?


11 Years
Mar 9, 2008
Rhode Island
Ive been on BYC for years now discussing chickens and quail. My neighbor came to me with a 3 day old mallard duckling he found being chased by a cat. Ive never raised these guys, and the feed store is not open today. I set up a brooder much like my chicks, with a towel on the bottom, a chick waterer, and a heat bulb at 90 degrees like a chicks is. Since I only have layers chicken feed and the feed store is closed, what should i feed it until then? He seems healthy and happy, but hungry!
In a pinch you can use crushed up cat food if you have a cat. Its high in protein and they tend to love it. you could also give it some scrambled eggs.

Out of curiosity how do you know it is 3 days old?
thaw some frozen peas or rinse some canned peas...break them up a bit for the little one...that is a good extra but do not give it layer feed at all. Tomorrow get some unmedicated chick starter and some turkey/wildgame starter and mix those equally, if you cannot get a duck starter.
It sounds like you have a good handle on it!

You can also try finely chopping greens, like leaf lettuce and float it in a shallow saucer.

If you can, look for punctures that might be hidden. Cat saliva can be toxic to birds

If it is truely a wild mallard, go to and look for a rehabber near you. Also you can call your local Fish and Wildlife office and they can guide you in turning the duck over to a licensed rehabber who will raise the duckling as wild as possible and set it free where it belongs.

Good job on taking it in!
Tomorrow get some unmedicated chick starter

glad someone else already told you the dangers of duckies and chick food. ducklings over eat and can poison themselves on chick feed with medicine!
I dont know where in Rhode island you are, but im down in south the north kingstown, exeter area of RI, and I took a wildlife rehab course through the International wildlife rehabilitators council two yrs ago. ( im certified by the council but not by the RI d.e.m. fish & wildlife yet. i bring all animals i cant help out to a lady named Dr. Bird, they have a wildlife hotline # you should call :
401-294-6363 and you should also keep it in your phone!

Dr Bird's Address:
**edited to remove personal address and phone number**

please tell us how it goes!​
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That USED to be the case, but now, ampro is the medication in medicated chick starter and that is not toxic to ducks.
I was pleased to discover that our local feed store doesn't carry medicated chick starter. They only bring it in by special order.
I asked them today, after my duckies had already hatched. I'd bought some chick starter just before the hatch and the container (bulk) didn't mention "medicated". Then I kind of freaked because someone said all chickstarter was medicated as a matter of course.

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