SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Looking out for ducks and ducklings in spring

Spring is the time of year that we get numerous calls from concerned residents about ducks and ducklings that may be injured, sick, stuck in drains, orphaned, or crossing roads.

The SPCA is committed to helping with these issues, but we greatly appreciate public support to ensure these animals are taken care of properly.

If you come across a duck or ducklings in distress, please follow the advice below:

Sick or injured

Please phone our call centre immediately and we will respond as soon as possible. Our staff will assess the situation and seek vet treatment if necessary. If you can do so safely, please confine the animal – you can use a cardboard box or cat cage if you have one.

Stuck in a drain

Most ducklings that enter drains or pipes will generally return to their mothers of their own accord, so please make sure to observe the layout of the drain (e.g. is it open at one end? Watch to see if the duckling exits the drain or is moving in that direction) prior to phoning us for support.

Drains are confined spaces and entering drains poses a serious health and safety issue. Staff entering these space should have specialised training, as required by the Health & Safety Act. The SPCA has only a small number of trained staff around the country that are equipped to enter drains. SPCA centres which have no trained staff available, may have arrangements with other local services (i.e. Fire Service) to assist them using their specialised equipment.

If you are concerned about the safety of ducklings stuck in drains, please phone your nearest SPCA Centre and we will do our best to help recover them as quickly as possible.

Crossing roads

Drivers are advised to safely avoid ducks and ducklings on the road. Please usher the ducks/ducklings to the road verge and allow them to make their own way back to a nearby park or river bed.

Orphaned ducklings

If you come across orphaned ducklings please phone your closest SPCA Centre for advice. Please make sure to check that the mother duck is not hidden nearby, before removing the ducklings from their environment. 

Suburban properties

Please do not feed any ducks or ducklings that come onto your property. Feeding them will only encourage them to return and does not help them learn how to fend for themselves. They will leave when they are ready, so please let them be and enjoy their company from a distance.

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