Public urged not to buy ducklings after reports of street sales in Dublin

DSCPA concerned people are taking young ducks from canal to sell them for €5

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) is calling on the public not to buy ducklings following reports that the young birds were being offered for sale on the city streets.

Gillian Bird, head of education and media at the DSPCA, told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland there are concerns for the ducklings' welfare, who have particular temperature and feeding requirements to survive.

She said it seems a mixture of farmyard and wild ducklings are being sold, and there are suspicions people are taking wild ducklings from the canal to sell them.

She explained that farmyard ducklings are “the lovely little yellow ones” while brown ducklings might be from different breeds of ducks that live on canals and ponds.


Ms Bird said there is a trend on social media where people were videoing a day in the life of a duckling, which the DSCPA believes is contributing to the sales.

“We suspect that what is happening is that it has caught on now – people know that others are going to buy ducklings, they go down to the canal, scoop up a few ducklings and they seem to be selling them for about €5 each,” Ms Bird said.

“We started getting reports yesterday of people saying that they had been offered ducklings for sale on the streets, we know that some people had actually gone out to buy ducklings.”

The DSPCA has had reports of young teenagers approaching other teenagers offering them a duckling for €5, she said. “We had one lady who actually bought 10 of them off some kids.”

‘Very worried’

“It’s one of those situations where we’re very worried,” Ms Bird said. “Where have they come from? Who’s going to look after them? Are they going to be looked after properly? A family home, living in your bathtub, is not a good home for a duckling.”

Ms Bird explained that it takes up to four weeks for a duckling’s feathers to become fully waterproof. “So you end up with a situation where they get very cold if they’re not kept in the correct environment like under a heat lamp or a heat pad. They’ve got to be kept warm, they’ve got to be fed properly. They also have a lifespan of between seven and 15 years, so what are people going to be doing with them long term?”

There were already videos on social media of people saying they were now tired of their duckling and they were going to release them back into the canal, she added.

“These ducklings are very young, they should be with their parents, they should be looked after properly and they’re just going to get picked off by predators and are going to die,” Ms Bird said.