MARTIN TICKLER says: Yes, waterhens will kill ducklings from time to time, especially if the clutches get mixed together by accident.
That said, the biggest killer of young ducks on a flight pond is a lack of surface insect life during the first few days of life. And the biggest problem in this respect are fish. Mother ducks seem to be aware of this problem and will often lead their young away to water filled ditches where coarse fish aren’t such a problem.
In this respect Nature is a great thing, but you can help stop the exodus by giving the newly hatched ducklings some supplementary feed in the form of high protein chick crumbs. Pig meal is also a good bet.
Both can be served up on some clean bank near the water or, better still, dispensed through a creep feeder placed on a floating raft.
For further details refer to our leaflet, Ponds and lakes for wildfowl, you can get it by calling 01425 651003.