Ducklings! at TASIS

Each year, our Roots & Shoots Wildlife Club hatches ducklings to learn about the unique character of these beautiful creatures. The eggs are donated by Matt at Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon. He also takes the ducklings back when they are a month old, as they are then released to roam freely on his children’s farm. This year, he had a new variety of duck eggs. These were Swedish Blacks. This is an endangered species, and Matt was eager for us to produce some new ducklings for his farm. He had tried to incubate some eggs before we did, but he only managed to hatch one lone duckling. For some reason, his eggs developed, but the other ducklings died before they hatched. Our teacher was a bit concerned that perhaps there was a problem with the mother duck and her eggs, so our teacher cautiously brought 7 eggs back to school.

We discussed that we hoped to get ducklings, but we should never count on this until they hatch successfully! The incubator holds seven eggs, and we were excited to place them in to begin the process. At about 6 days, we candled the eggs, and were excited to see that six were growing babies inside. All of us got to look at the candled eggs to witness the blood vessels and the beating heart! How excited we were all beginning to get, although we knew that we still could not count on success.

We watched some videos that showed us how ducklings develop over the course of 28 days. We studied what was taking place and compared it to other animals developing in their mother’s tummies and in various types of eggs. We also investigated how Swedish Black ducks are now endangered, and we felt proud to be able to help increase their numbers, even though it was just a tiny increase!

Finally, on day 26, the first pips appeared. We knew that it was a long process for the duckling to make its way out of the egg. Finally, after about 48 hours of hard work, the first duckling hatched! And, we were lucky that it hatched during school hours! We saw the first beautiful baby push its way out of the egg! Then, about an hour later came the second baby. After school, the third duckling came, and the next morning, our teacher was there for the fourth and fifth duckling to hatch.

One of the eggs turned out not to be fertile, and there was one egg that stopped developing midway. Our teacher explained that this is normal, and the reason the mother duck incubates so many eggs is that some do not develop. She also explained that some of the ducklings in nature do not survive, as other animals may eat them.

For one month, we watched our babies grow from tiny fluff balls to nearly fully grown ducks! It was amazing to watch them grow before our very eyes! We also worked on naming them, and found names that suited their different personalities. As we got to know our ducklings, we learned that each one was unique. Each one had its own personality, and we grew to understand them and love them. We began to think of animals we see out in the wild in a new light. We discussed how they have emotions like we do. We saw that they responded to our touch and to how we spoke to them. We had a strong feeling of wanting to protect them.

We shared our ducklings with the whole school by inviting classes to come and see them. We took them for walks outside and bathed them each day in a large water container. We saw how they became more independent from us as they grew. It was also evident that ducklings love to live in a family group. They always stayed together.

When it was finally time to send the ducklings back to the farm, we knew that they were ready to live a free-range life in the beautiful environment of Lower Shaw Farm. We all wrote letters to Farmer Matt, and thanked him for allowing us to take part in a project that will forever impact how we relate to animals.

We received an email from Matt a few weeks after we sent our ducklings back to his farm, and we were so pleased to hear that they were doing so well. We know that they are free to roam the fields and swim in the pond during the day, and once night comes, they are secured in a lovely protected pen. This way, they can remain safe from Mr. Fox!

All in all, this was an amazing project, that taught us first-hand so much about ducklings!

5CBC6A1B-F7A0-4D34-80AC-D19A4238110C 6CFE7C9C-B360-4367-8B70-936501271714 560F358B-7BD3-4600-8150-1BC2E23BBCF3 848EFB99-E856-4676-AC96-8A0518CCF832 07510253-A87E-4F62-B543-7AB0D768D257 AABF7096-A152-4934-B5E7-7C24E544BD7A BE3036E2-AEF8-456D-8B09-19592BAD4E8D CA3300F1-1E3E-4AED-A07C-9230D1F2EDFC DC5C9D0A-CFBE-4C57-BBEF-184CC6DEE575 DSC02369 DSC02371 DSC02381 E003736A-3C8F-4B70-AB94-52183D2547E7 FD48D50D-1EAC-4BD0-B5D4-A581E91C4E81 IMG_0682 IMG_1489 IMG_2180 IMG_7399 IMG_7456

Roots & Shoots Awards

Has your school been helping people, animals or the environment? Post a story about it online and win an award!

If you post a story about your school's work here on the www.rootsnshoots.org.uk website you will be eligible for a Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Award and the chance to be invited to this year's awards ceremony to meet Dr. Jane in person. You can write about your experiences completing one of our activities or anything else that your school has been doing to help people, animals or the environment.

Email this to a colleague Email this to a colleague

Comment on this Article

Keep up to date with Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots

Why not sign up for our weekly newsletter, filled with inspiring stories from the Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots community in the UK. Not sure what to expect? Take a look at some of our recent emails.

Or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates as they happen:

Help us keep our resources free!

All of our resources are currently free and you can help them to stay that way and support the other work of Roots & Shoots in the UK by making a donation, no matter how small. The easiest way to donate to the Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots programme UK online is by using Virgin Money Giving. This can be a one off donation for any amount you want (every pound helps!) or if you prefer you can set up a regular, monthly donation.

Make a donation using Virgin Money Giving

Our Partners

EW-Institute NGK Observer-Ethical-2015-V-Small quest windsor