CITY health chiefs have denied they are deliberately starving out wild ducklings that have nested in the hospital grounds.
The young mallards delighted patients and visitors when they hatched outside the windows of the children’s ward.
Duck fans fed them and one wildlife lover even provided them with a paddling pool because there was no natural water source.
But the two-legged friends drove hospital bosses quackers because of the hygiene risk they posed.
“The enthusiastic duck-feeding could attract vermin and also prevent the ducklings from moving on naturally to seek a more suitable environment,” a spokesman said last month.
It was agreed the ducklings could stay until they were mature enough to be caught and released on suitable waters.
But this week the ducks’ unofficial carers were furious to find the doors leading to their gardens were firmly locked.
“It is clear the hospital management are taking deliberate steps to ensure the ducks are neither fed and watered so they can take extreme measures to have them removed under the guise of it being in their own interest,” said one woman, who had provided food and water daily.
She said her notices urging visitors to respect the ducks had been removed from the hospital walls, along with photos of the brood taken by patients.
A hospital spokesman said: “We would never deliberately allow the ducklings to starve.
“But we are still worried about the health implications of them being on hospital premises and we hope they will move on naturally.”