Not so ugly ducklings
AREN'T they adorable? Today we have the first pictures of the cutest garden guests in Kesgrave. Five baby ducks hatched in a nest next to a small garden pond in the town's Grange Farm estate.
AREN'T they adorable?
Today we have the first pictures of the cutest garden guests in Kesgrave.
Five baby ducks hatched in a nest next to a small garden pond in the town's Grange Farm estate.
Within hours of their birth of Sunday, the ducklings were enjoying the run of the garden and as a special treat you can see their first steps when you visit our website www.eveningstar.co.uk.
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Homeowner Peter Blythe was delighted to have a live version of Springwatch - the popular BBC1 series fronted by Bill Oddie - in his own back garden.
He explained: “About two months ago a pair or mallards arrived in the garden. At first I chased them off because I was wary of the mess ducks can cause in a small garden.
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“But they persisted and I became quite attached to them. They were ever so friendly and I quite literally had them eating out of my hand. I have two small ponds in the garden and they soon made themselves at home on the larger one.
“I went on a short holiday and when I returned they were nowhere to be seen. Then a couple of weeks later a friend spotted the female nesting under an Acer plant.”
Mr Blythe woke up on Sunday morning to see mum parading her young around the garden before they launched themselves on the tiny pond.
He added: “While they were in the pond I checked on the nest and discovered eight more eggs, so my garden could soon be overrun with ducklings.”
Nature fan Mr Blythe is baffled as to why the mallards chose his garden.
He said: “I live right in the middle of a housing estate. There are no adjacent fields or lakes, so it seems quite a strange location for them.
“I am not complaining though as they are a delight to watch. They are five of the cutest little characters and a couple of them are quite brazen. There is no question of them sticking to mum all the time.
“Two of them have discovered the delights of the waterfall and they take turns in launching themselves down, much like a water chute at Center Parcs.”
Do you have a live nature show in your garden? Has spring sprung in your backyard? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mallard eggs normally hatch about 28 days after they are laid.
The ducklings stay in the nest for at least 10 hours while they dry and get used to using their legs. Then, usually in the early morning, the female leads them to water.
Bad weather may delay this exodus, but the sooner the ducklings get to water to feed, the better their chances of survival. The nest is abandoned, although if it is close to the feeding area, the family may continue to use it for brooding and roosting.
Young ducklings can feed themselves as soon as they reach water, but must learn what is edible. They depend on their mother for warmth for a few days. She broods them regularly, particularly at night, as they easily chill in cold weather.
The down of the ducklings is not naturally waterproof. They get the waterproofing for their down from their mother. She also protects her ducklings from attacks by other mallards.
Ducks do not tolerate stray ducklings close to their own brood, and females kill small strange young they encounter.
Ducklings take 50-60 days to fledge (fly) and become independent. They are able to breed when they are a year old.