Needing help with Mallard duckling


Dec 9, 2015
So I quickly made an account because I need some help. A few days back my cat brought in a duckling. The duckling wasn't injured, just frightened. I've looked everywhere for its mother, but I live next to a beach, and there's barely any ducks around, so no luck.
I have absolutely no experience with ducks, I've raised chicks before but this was years ago. I have no idea what to do so I've just set up a box with a blanket, a water dish and some food. (I've given it some rolled oats, mashed peas, corn and potatoes.) The duck itself seems fine, it doesn't seem too stressed out.
I need advice on what to do now. I'm guessing the duckling is only around a week or two old. I don't have a brooder box/heat lamp, but it doesn't seem cold, and it's summer time here (don't have the money on me to set one up anyway). I'll happily look after it until it's ready to leave, I just need some advice on how to look after it properly.
Especially any tips on what to feed it, I know ducks shouldn't eat bread, and I've looked up other foods ducks can eat, but any advice would be great.

Also, is it normal for it to burrow into me nonstop when I hold it? It's probably a stupid question, as I assume that's what ducklings do with their mothers to keep warm under them, but I'm not sure.
Any help would be much appreciated.


8 Years
Jul 28, 2014

And welcome to BYC! So your story is: "Your cat brought in a frightened duckling, you are taking care of it now, and need help what to do next."

1. If you think that the little duck will go back into the wild than you have it all wrong. Once you start taking care of it, then it is considered Domesticated and won't be able to survive out in the wild.

2. If you would lke to keep him, I encourage you do.. You could bring the young duck to a duck/Shelter (I forgot what there called). I suggest you keep it and raise it for your own.

3. You said your Duckling is snuggling up to you- this could be one of 2 reasons: 1. Ducky is a bit lonely and wants another ducky friend, 2. He might wanna get warmer if so, you might wanna put a heated lamp above his cage preferably 90 degrees and boost it down by 5 deg each week, they don't need heat at 4 weeks of age. Baby ducks must have warmth, even if its summer time.

4. You also might wanna feed it medicated chick starter (If you have a poultry store close by). Chick starter should help fight against parasites.

5.) If you wanna keep it then you will need to get another duckling. Make sure they get plenty of water:)

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16-17
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
Mountains of Western N.C.
Water fowl rescue ! I recommend since it's a wild duckling, but do all the above until you find one. Bless you for caring for it. @summerrussell it would not survive with out someone caring for it. Please keep us updated. If you can post a pic we can help you figure out age because 90* is only for 1st week after that it drops 5* each week there after.
A stuffed animal and a non breakable mirror will help too.
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