The last 5 Muscovy females that started nests in my or my neighbor's yards have failed miserably, having been attacked by raccoons and possums during the night. I actually have photos taken with my wildlife camera of the culprits attacking the eggs. The possums seem to take the eggs away while the raccoons just hunker down and eat right by the nest making a big mess I attached a few of the photos:
Sometimes the attacks came while the girls were still in the process of laying their eggs so they were not actually on the nests at night when the mayhem happened. Sometimes they were already sitting on the nests and must have gotten disturbed by the nighttime predators. Several of the nests were not in very protected spots and sometimes they were well hidden, Sometimes the female covered her eggs up well with feathers or leaves, and sometimes the eggs were left out in the open. It didn't matter because the predators got to them anyway.
Now another female has laid her 11 eggs in a nest beneath my neighbor's front window. The good news as they were untouched during the laying process and now she has started incubating them. I would like to help her be successful but don't have much hope.
I have read that the scent of ammonia is something that raccoons dislike. So I bought some to sprinkle around the nest area - not too close but maybe in a circle 5 feet away or so. But before I do I would like to get some opinions on whether the scent would drive the female off the nest, defeating the whole purpose. Do Muscovies hate ammonia too? Am I going to do more harm than good with the ammonia and I am better off letting nature take its course and just hoping for the best that no predators will find the nest in the next 33 days that is has to go?
Any other suggestions for ways to deter the raccoons and possums in this situation?