Bassetlaw family releases orphaned ducklings back into the wild

A Bassetlaw family has released 10 ducklings whose mother was killed by a car back into the wild after caring for them for two months.

By Ben McVay
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 2:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 5:28 pm

Claire Edmunds took the youngsters under her wing after seeing a car plough into the hen mother - killing her and five and five other adult birds.

She told how on April 9 after stopping to let the flock cross the road in Bawtry a driver coming from the opposite direction ‘sped straight into them’ without stopping.

Horse racing instructor Claire’s husband Jason and her son Lewis, 21, managed to herd nine of the ducklings together using a duck whistle after they disappeared into hedges.

The orphaned ducklings

After being rehomed at Claire’s Mayflower Stables family home the ducklings were joined by another from a separate batch named Delilah who was found in the village by coincidence.

Claire and family - including horse trainer dad John Balding - spent the next two months looking after the flock until they were able to fly and survive on their own.

Fifty-year-old Claire described the feathery creatures as ‘a great distraction during these uncertain times’.

She said: “We would all sit in the sun and watch them be ducklings - mum and dad sat watching them for ages.

Claire Edmunds' son Liam, 10, with the ducks

“We’ve all had a lot of enjoyment from them but we knew from the start they weren’t pets.

“They're wild animals and needed to go back to the wild.”

Claire - who admits husband Jason did the majority of the work - described how they homed the feathered creatures in a stable at night with a heater to keep them warm.

Each day the family herded the ducklings into a pen - improvising with various objects to provide water for them to swim in as they grew - from an old cake tin lid to a wheelbarrow.

The newly-released ducks during a flying visit to Mayflower Stables

The baby ducks were fed on a variation of chick feed, duck pellets and their favourite food - mealworms. Though Claire also treated them to a bag of mixed vegetables.

Read More

Read More
Worksop pub landlord blasts the BID – saying it does ‘nothing’ for the town

Mum-of-two Claire described how on the days leading up to their release this month the ducks would make short flights - landing on fields nearby.

She said: “It was as if they knew there was water that way - we were really just waiting until they were strong enough to fly and get away from predators.

Claire Edmunds with husband Jason and sons Liam, 10 and Lewis, 21

“On the day we released them they headed straight for the water as soon as Jason opened the hutch - no hesitation.”

A video of the release shows the full-grown ducks waddling into the water then taking flight over the lake.

Claire told how the ducks have paid regular visits to Mayflower Stables since their release - heading straight back to the feeding area.

She said: “My parents get so excited - it’s really entertaining.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor