Herding Ducklings

For the third year running, our wild mallard Ruth has returned in the spring and has hatched her ducklings in the walled garden.

Today we heard a loud quacking – and found her demanding to have the gate opened so she could take her brand new ducklings to the pond.

Ruth is one of our greatest success stories – she was foisted on us from a home that had hatched one of a clutch of eggs in their airing cupboard.

We named her Ruth as we felt it was a ruthless decision to let her go.

After a few weeks, she flew away to join her wild relations, but to our joy has returned each spring.

The first year – she lost her ducklings to the crows (ducks are careless mothers), so last year we successfully protected her 11 babies and this year she’s raised another 10 – which we’ve popped in a run.

She didn’t mind at all – we think she was expecting it!