I know this is backyard 'chickens' but I noticed a few duck posts when google searching questions I had. I decided to join up and see if I can get some advice specific to my situation. In a nutshell, a few days ago 2 mallard ducklings wandered onto the property. Our cats almost got them, we have many cats and dogs, and I didn't want them to get hurt so I picked them up (with a work glove) and put them in a bin. I kept them outdoors, up safe from the other animals, and waited for the mama. Even went looking on the golf cart. Night came, and I couldn't just leave them outside all alone I already have a litter of polydactyl kittens, who will need litter training soon. Have my hands full but I wanted to give them a chance. They seemed to be about a couple weeks old, at least. But they are pretty tiny. Maybe a week. I've had them nearly a week now. One passed away this morning I don't know what happened, and I'm worried for the second. I have never cared for a bird or duck before, so I researched and learned a bit on how to go about it. I used a pet carrier as a kennel for now, the bottom lined with newspaper to keep it dry (they make a mess of their water dish lol ) and so they have solid footing and don't slip around, I line the top with fresh grass from the field every evening when they come in for bed. During the day I keep them outdoors so they can get their activity, and sunshine. I made sure to create a secure little environment for them, they had soft grass and bugs to pick at, a long cooking tray that serves as a pool, it's not too deep for them, I made sure. I grabbed a smooth log from the woodpile and laid it beside their pool, then grabbed some soft moss from a tree and laid a little along the log. Just to add some texture and softness. And I made little nests out of hay, and one out of grass, something to nap in. But they prefer their nap box. (A Kleenex box, empty, lined with a scarf.) I've been scavenging around for bugs, and they definitely enjoy them! Mainly I've been giving them Daddy Longlegs; small bodied spiders with long legs. I don't trust the big butt spiders. I also feed them the occasional cricket if I find it, and flies. I plan on digging for worms in the garden tomorrow. Aside from their fresh bug diet, I've been giving them snacks to hold them over at night. (Mainly Rice Krispies, and saltless crushed crackers but I read somewhere that crackers are bad. Are they really? I've also tried peas, corn, mashed bananas and lettuce) I know they should be eating specially made duckling feeder but I'm working with what I have for now. :/ and I'm worried something in there might be the cause of losing one of the babies this morning. I also thought that maybe he got too cold? I was using a light for warmth, facing it in the screened door, but not putting it directly in the pet carrier with them, for safety reasons. Then I covered the cage with a warm fluffy blanket to insulate. I live in a small 'shop' that's basically one large room-house, like a guest house next to the main. It's been so hot lately, so at night I have my AC on and this little house cools down quick. I don't keep it on all night, at intervals it's timed to come on for half an hour and shut off for a few. It wasn't ridiculously cold or anything, but for a little duckling it might have been chilly I really don't know what happened. They're well fed, have good appetites, and they were both very lively. Their sleeping area was insulated and warm enough. It was a big surprise finding that baby. I could beat myself up and wonder all the whys, but I really just wanna watch out for the remaining baby he's alone now, which I feel terrible for, I know ducks are very social. It's already well into August, and I know he's not going to make it in time for fall migration. Usually the geese and ducks around here have their babies grown and flying by now. I'm not sure why they were laid and born so late in the season, and my first goal was to raise them and try to get them back in the pond to interact and fly off in time, but that's not happening. So next, I decided to keep them. I have plenty of space, (live in the country with acres of property) and they're more than welcome to grow old here The garage is large, and heated all winter; hoping he makes it. I fell in love with them. It was heartbreaking to lose one. I've been hovering over the last one, checking on him hourly as he sleeps, just to make sure he's warm, and still alive. I put a heating pad in with him, and covered it with layers and layers of newspaper, to keep everything dry, and on top, half is fresh grass, and the other half scarves and the nap box. I made sure the newspaper was covered by grass, or scarves, just to ensure there was a layer of insulation and he wasn't exposed to direct heat from the pad in anyway. The pad is set on lowest, and I've been turning it on and off all night; I set alarms to check on him, usually at 3 hour intervals. Probably a bit too over cautious, but I can't help but worry. I'm always reassured when I do check though, cause as soon as I dip my fingers in his nap box to check on him, he'll chirp at me Lol then I retract with a quick "Sorry, just checking." Pardon me for rambling, I'll stop there. Wasn't really 'In a nutshell' but I wanted to get all aspects of his daily routine out there, what he's ingested, his sleeping arrangements. Pointers and advice would be much appreciated!