Orphan ducklings saved by a trio of ‘angels’

Rescued Ducklings
Rescued Ducklings

KIND-HEARTED ‘angels’ saved 10 ducklings after a driver killed their mother on the road, writes Sally Gillespie.

Three Hawick women rescued the balls of fluff on their way from Kelso to Hawick after watching a male driver coming in the opposite direction run over the mother duck.

Six of the original newly hatched creatures have survived in the care of retired vet’s wife Marianne Smith at Cavers, near Hawick,

“Those lovely girls saved their lives, they were just angels that arrived at the right time.

“I’m very very annoyed at who was driving that car. We are so conscious of wildlife now that it was very bad of that man not to stop,” said Mrs Smith.

Four of the newly-hatched ducklings died in the first week. Mrs Smith had to feed the creatures with a pipette for the first day to get them to eat before teaching them how to peck.

”They were newly hatched, they were little balls of fluff, it was very difficult to get them to eat, but six have survived and they are getting bigger now.”

The ducklings’ rescuers have since been to Cavers to visit their little charges.

“These three girls, they were just wonderful and they came out again to see them and see they were ok.

“I didn’t know when I got them, but the girls, on their way to Hawick, saw the duck followed by 10 tiny baby ducklings and a man driving towards Kelso who ran the duck over and killed her and didn’t stop.

“They got out of the car and stopped the traffic as they gathered up all the ducklings and put the dead duck on the side of the road. They phoned a vet and asked what to do and the vet asked them to take them out to me.”

The ducklings, now nearly four weeks old, are on a diet advised by the SSPCA, including chopped-up hard-boiled eggs, digestive biscuits, chick crumbs and suet from a pet shop.

They are fed about four times a day to ensure they have enough food, but are not handled as Mrs Smith plans to release them into the wild. Currently they are inside in a cage with a heat lamp overnight and outside in a larger cage in the garden during the day.

“Their mother being taken away at such an early age didn’t give them much of a chance, it’s amazing how they have survived –they’re 10 times the size they were, they were tiny, the size of table tennis balls. We have a little pond and when they are big enough to look after themselves I’m hoping to release them on the pond,” she said.

Mrs Smith first started helping wild animals about 30 years ago when the SSPCA brought them to her.

And over the years she and her husband have helped raptors, including peregrine falcons and buzzards, deer hit by cars, also a badger, stoats, weasels, and hedgehogs which people have found in strange places. They were all nursed back to health and released again.

“We both like looking after these things. A lot of people do this. I’m lucky I live in a place where it’s very private for animals and we can release them where we are. It gives a great satisfaction.”