An abandoned Mallard duckling, hand-reared at a Welwyn veterinary practice, was on the hunt for a home of his own. Patient Care Assistant Kirsty Manvell, his foster carer, hoped that a local resident would come forward to offer the plucky duckling a forever home.
Named Arnold by the practice team, the duckling was taken to Medivet Welwyn Garden City on 18th June by a member of the public who had found him lost in a park in which no other ducks were living. At the time he was probably around two weeks old, according to Kirsty Manvell. She keeps runner ducks and is familiar with their needs so offered to hand-rear the duckling.
“One of the first challenges I faced was to find out whether he had yet learned to eat,” she explained. “At first, he would eat from my finger but gradually he figured out how to eat from a feeder and he certainly has a good appetite!”
She continued, “We also had to help him learn to swim. A duckling’s first feathers are not waterproof so he had to swim in a small tank under close supervision initially and we would dry him off afterwards so that he didn’t get cold.”
Following two months’ loving care from Kirsty and her colleagues, Arnold was almost fully grown and his adult plumage was coming through. Kirsty said this would finally make it possible to define Arnold’s gender. At that stage, he could still be a she. Unfortunately, her own ducks had not taken to him so she was then trying to find him a home of his own.
She added, “I’ve really enjoyed caring for Arnold – or Arnoldina! It’s been very rewarding and we’ve tried to keep his socialization to a minimum so that he will be able to live a near normal life in the wild. Having said that, he is used to people and is particularly keen on men.
One of his favourite habits is dozing between my father’s feet or taking a nap in his slippers when he stays with us overnight. Because he’s used to living in a ‘safe’ environment, we hope to find him a home where he can be monitored until he has fully adjusted to life in the wild. He’s a lovely boy (or girl!) and I’ll miss him but it’s worth it to know that we’ve given him this chance.”
We are pleased to announce that Arnold has found a loving forever home and even has duck siblings to live with. We wish him (or her) the best happy ever after with your new family!