There were ten, and one unhatched egg that we’re keeping an eye on (if it hatches, I’ll get it to rehab as well). All hatchlings were in good condition, and the mother was NOT happy at me removing them all from the nest (they’re all in good condition). But it makes me ineffably sad that I had to do this; the alternative was to risk the lives of mother and ducklings by putting them in a pond with four hyperaggressive males who would have driven the mother away within minutes.
Still, I’m up in the lab stifling sobs, distraught that the mother was so upset at me purloining her ducklings and that the babies are motherless . But please don’t tell me I should have done something else, as made a decision that I thought was the best one to keep everyone alive. The mother will survive, and the babies will get superb care at Willowbrook.