Friday 9 December 2016

Early birds rescued as ducklings arrive amid mild winter

Published 14/01/2016 | 10:51

One of eight ducklings that were rescued after they hatched four months early (Born Free Foundation/PA Wire)
One of eight ducklings that were rescued after they hatched four months early (Born Free Foundation/PA Wire)

Eight ducklings have been rescued after they hatched four months early following the warmest December on record.

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The eight "early birds" were found at the roadside in Emsworth, Hampshire, last week and are believed to have been born on about January 4.

Their mother and three siblings had been killed by a car and the survivors were taken to Arthur Lodge Veterinary Surgery in Horsham.

They have been taken into the care of Tanya Knight, who works for the Born Free Foundation, who will look after them until the spring.

She said: "Normally you wouldn't see ducklings until around April, but due to the unusually warm weather this little brood has hatched early.

"Depending on how cold it is outside, I'll keep them indoors for a few weeks and then they'll be moved to a duck pen outside where they will stay until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

"Despite their sad start to life, these little ones are actually very lucky to have been brought to safety. By the time spring arrives officially, they will be ready to be released back into the wild."

The eight ducklings have been nicknamed Mike, Carol, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy, after US TV sitcom family The Brady Bunch.

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