Temporary Baby Duck/Goose Care

Help! I’ve found a baby duck!

If a baby is visibly injured, covered in fly eggs (which look like small grains of rice), cold, wet, and/or bleeding, then it needs rehabilitation.  Please contact us to set up a drop off time and follow the steps below.


What to do while you wait

A dark, quiet place

Keep the animal in a dark, quiet place indoors, in an enclosed or covered container. For most species, a cardboard box is perfect. If your home is small, a closet or a bathroom is an excellent spot. A basement, heated garage, or spare bedroom will also work.

Keep children, pets, and people away from the room the animal is in. Remember that it is injured and frightened, and we want to keep its stress down as much as possible. Unlike our pets, wild animals are not comforted by people talking to them, petting them, or looking at them.

A heat source

Baby ducks rely on their mother to keep them warm. Keeping them warm will reduce stress on their system, once their body doesn’t have to fight to keep its temperature up. Some examples of an appropriate heat source:

  • a clean sock filled with dry, uncooked rice, and microwaved for one minute
  • a plastic bottle from the recycling bin filled with hot tap water 
  • an electric heating pad set to “LOW” and placed under half of the box.

Re-heat water bottles and rice socks as necessary. Once they have something warm to snuggle up to, most baby will go right to sleep.



  • If the animal is dehydrated, starving, or suffering from trauma, its body may not be strong enough to digest food. Trying to feed it can cause bloating, shock, or death. Please alert our volunteers if your baby seems injured or weak before proceeding with these directions.
  • DO NOT feed anything other than the foods listed below! If you feed the wrong food to the wrong species, it can cause serious digestive problems and death or lifelong issues. These foods are only acceptable TEMPORARILY and until intake is possible. ABSOLUTELY NO MILK!


  • Diced romaine lettuce or thawed frozen peas (first choice!)
  • Crushed up grain cereal (Ex: cheerios – NOT FLAVORED)

* Babies should be given food in a small upside down jar lid. Water can be offered in the same method.


Why shouldn’t I get the baby wet?

  • Offering drinking water is important for waterfowl (see jar lid directions above) but they should NOT be given anything to swim in. At this age, they are not yet waterproof and can actually get hypothermia and die. Warm, dry and fluffy, is the way you want the duckling(s) to be!
  • If the animal is injured and having trouble standing, or if it panics trying to get out, it could fall into the water dish. This can also cause hypothermia, or even drowning.