Julie Delisle lives and works on a quiet 10-acre farm in Langley Township, with her husband, child, in-laws, four Berkshire pigs, a few dozen hens, ducks, turkeys, sheep and a friendly donkey.
But the menagerie’s population exploded recently, with the unexpected arrival of 194 newborn ducklings.
The baby ducks were brought to the BC SPCA’s Abbotsford branch by someone who found them in a box, which presumably fell from a truck near Tradex by the Abbotsford Airport
SPCA employees phoned Delisle, who registered as a potential foster farm earlier this year, and told her there were approximately 100 ducklings in need of a temporary home.
Delisle drove to the branch to find the little ducklings huddled together on a towel on the floor of a dog kennel, with a space heater nearby.
She counted the “little handfuls of fuzz,” as she describes them, to find there were nearly twice as many as expected – 194.
Delisle has since been taking care of the ducklings on her farm, feeding them regularly, changing the wood chips under their feet and giving them fresh water.
The last time she cared for ducklings there were only six.
Delisle said she is happy to have the new residents on her farm but they do require a fair bit of extra work, which includes checking on their two enclosures at least half a dozen times a day to ensure they do not pack too tightly together and suffocate one another.
Delisle asked fellow farmers on an online forum for advice on caring for the ducklings and identifying their breed – she’s now fairly certain they’re Muscovy ducks. In addition to receiving useful advice, Delisle had strangers offering to help her financially, including a Texas man who bought her five bags of feed.
Those wishing to support Delisle’s care for the ducklings can call Dares Country Feeds in Aldergrove and purchase feed and wood chips in her name.
Danielle Erickson, with Abbotsford’s SPCA, said the box the birds came in appeared to be marked for air travel but had no other identifiable features and no one has come forward to claim them.
She said she hopes new homes can be found where the birds can become pets and not meat, as was likely their fate before.
Anyone interested in adopting one or more ducklings is encouraged to call the BC SPCA’s central office at 1-800-665-1868.