With more than 30 ducklings in its care, Winnipeg’s Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is searching for foster moms of the feathered kind.
The ducklings, which are from six separate families, are currently warm and safe in the centre’s brooders, but according to reports, their future is uncertain. The centre’s president and co-founder, Lisa Tretiak, told CBC News that it would be best if they could find new mothers. Although not all female mallards will welcome ducklings into their family, Tretiak says that some will.
She calls ducks who will take on extra babies like this “supermoms.” Sometimes, she says, these generous birds can be found with 12 or more babies in tow.
If the centre is able to find ducks like these floating around Winnipeg-area ponds and streams, they could pair their ducklings up with them, matching the babies to the age of the mother’s ducklings. Currently, the centre is home to some one-week-old ducklings, two-week-old ducklings, and a few that just hatched.
Tretiek says they’re looking for volunteers to help them find these mothers, and they’re hoping to do so soon.
They’ve provided the little ones with special food and water for the time being. They’ve also started introducing them to water, allowing them to splash around in shallow dishes, since they’re just “fuzzy little ducklings” right now. But to survive long term, and perhaps even breed next year, they’ll need access to larger bodies of open water.
Growing in the wild will also provide them with skills they just won’t learn living at the rehab centre.
“We cannot teach them alarm calls, how to be afraid of certain things,” Tretiak told CBC. “We can do what we can to raise them, keep them not dependant on humans, keep them afraid of humans, afraid of everything, so that when we release them, they will have that reaction to not trust anything and hopefully survive to breed the next year.”
The centre is asking anyone who comes across a potential “supermom” to contact them.
Featured photo credit: Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre/Facebook