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Orphaned ducklings adopted after dog savages mother duck at Ballard Lake in New Milton

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A DUCK has adopted seven orphaned ducklings after their mother was apparently savaged by a dog in New Milton.

Horrified passers-by reported on social media seeing the pet jump into the water at Ballard Lake and attack the bird

Hannah May Waine took a photo of the duck with her ducklings before it was killed. She said: “I had been visiting the lake every day to see the ducklings as they were so beautiful.

The duck and ducklings at Ballard Lake before the incident (picture: Hannah May Waine)
The duck and ducklings at Ballard Lake before the incident (picture: Hannah May Waine)

“I am a zoo biology graduate so observing wildlife in its natural environment is a passion of mine. That evening I was sitting on a bench with my dog on a lead when a man arrived with two dogs off the lead. One of his dogs jumped in the water and there was barking and a duck quaking.

“The man went to the other side of the lake where again his dogs went into the water very near to where the mother ducks were swimming.

“I then noticed very small ducklings swimming out from under the bridge where a dog had jumped in and when I went there, I found a mother duck lying dead in the stream.

“The duck's neck looked broken like she had been stamped on, or crushed. I was just so upset.”

Hannah rang the RSPCA who gave her advice on how to help the ducklings. She said: “One of the other mother hens had the orphaned ducks with her as I left. I haven’t been back to the lake since the incident happened as it distressed me so much,”

Graham Flexman, clerk at New Milton Town Council which owns the site, said: "It is disturbing to learn that some dogs are not kept under control.

The ducklings have been adopted by another female duck
The ducklings have been adopted by another female duck

"I would certainly highlight our open access policy that we adopted two years ago. It says keep dogs on close leads during the ground bird nesting season between 1st March and 31st July.

"And when out with your dog, make sure it is not a danger or nuisance to wildlife or other people.

"I understand another female duck has taken charge of the ducklings by way of adoption, and I hope that is the case."

The news was welcomed on social media, with one person saying: “So pleased that the recent orphaned Ballard Lake ducklings have been kindly adopted by another mother.

“Do hope that the irresponsible person who let his dogs jump into the lake and kill their mother feels shame and regret.”

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