I'm brand new to the forum and a recent duck mommy. My husband and I adopted our little flock when their previous caretaker (my aunt) passed away. We built them a house and run and they've settled in really well, freely grazing in our back yard during the day. The Grand-Dame of the flock is a 13 year-old Indian Runner named Zippy. However - we are having a big problem with urban pigeons who have discovered the free food in our backyard! It's gotten so bad lately that they bully our ducks by the dozens and steal all of their food. Zippy is especially affected, as she is a little unsteady on her feet and can't compete with the pigeons at the food pan.
I've been a lifelong animal lover and a long time vegetarian, but I'm telling you... I've never had such violent thoughts about pigeons before now!! I end up guarding the ducks while they eat and covering the dish after they've had a bite. After just seconds, the pigeons brazenly come down and start swarming the food, pushing the ducks out. With winter coming, I worry that they aren't getting enough calories this way - I wish they could freely graze as they did when they lived with my aunt (in a rural area). With my busy schedule, I can't always be out there multiple times a day to uncover their food dish. Most attempts to shoo the pigeons also scare the ducks away. Argh.
Can anyone help us to come up with some ways to discourage the pigeons from our yard? I don't want to kill them, and any method of scaring them away seems to also scare the ducks.
I'd love your thoughts and any experienced help!
Salt Lake City, UT