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What kills ducks like this?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Last night my daughter left her 2 ducks in the run for the first time, neglecting to put them in the hen house.  I found them at 5:30 this morning under the henhouse, dead.  They were not mutilated, just missing a few feathers around their necks, some of the meat showing at the neck also.  No other damage to birds, both dead under the house.  I know coons usually tear limbs, etc.  There were no signs of digging under the fence we have buried around the run.  The upper portion of the run is 2x3 welded wire.  Any idea what could have gotten to the ducks?

Wife to a wonderful man, mother of a college girl and a high school boy, "mistress" to 1 golden retriever, 2 cats, and 15 chickens (My "girls" include 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Dominiques, 2 Black Australorps, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Jersey Giant, 1 Speckled Sussex,  2 Golden Laced Wyandottes from 2009 and the new 2010 babies, 1 more EE and 2 Welsummers)
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Wife to a wonderful man, mother of a college girl and a high school boy, "mistress" to 1 golden retriever, 2 cats, and 15 chickens (My "girls" include 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Dominiques, 2 Black Australorps, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Jersey Giant, 1 Speckled Sussex,  2 Golden Laced Wyandottes from 2009 and the new 2010 babies, 1 more EE and 2 Welsummers)
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post #2 of 12

could still be coon, possum, mink etc... set some traps and you'll know for sure..  Were they chewed on at all, or just dead of a broken neck?

post #3 of 12

Wow, so sorry for your losses.  Smaller animals (coons, mink, etc) usually eat something off of the animal.  Larger predators (dogs, fox, etc) will take the body but you said there was no sign of entrance.  Strange...hope you figure it out for the future and again so sorry.

Me,DH, 2 DS, 4 dogs, 1 parakeet, 1 parrotlet, 2 frogs, 19 hens, 1 roo, 2 turks, 28 ducks (9 calls, 2 kcs, 3 runners, 3 scovy, 2 Mandy, 4 teal,1 wood duck, 2 rouen, 1 pekin) 3 geese (1 Embden, 1 Sebastopol, 1 toulouse), 1 Flem Giant Rabbit, 1 Neth. Dwarf rabbit, 2 sugar glider.  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=22826-my-home-for-sale

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Me,DH, 2 DS, 4 dogs, 1 parakeet, 1 parrotlet, 2 frogs, 19 hens, 1 roo, 2 turks, 28 ducks (9 calls, 2 kcs, 3 runners, 3 scovy, 2 Mandy, 4 teal,1 wood duck, 2 rouen, 1 pekin) 3 geese (1 Embden, 1 Sebastopol, 1 toulouse), 1 Flem Giant Rabbit, 1 Neth. Dwarf rabbit, 2 sugar glider.  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=22826-my-home-for-sale

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post #4 of 12

It is a horrible thing to see first thing in the morning.
Do you live near a water source, stream, lake etc? if so, I would say a Mink.
I inherited a poorly constructed Coop and a Mink got in one night and killed all but one poor terrified hen.
Didn't eat any of the chickens, it was a blood bath.

Mink can squeeze thru small openings and such, and climb too, so we have to make our hen houses almost airtight with super strong wire over the windows that open.
I check the siding often to see if something has tried to chew thru.

If you have to manipulate the truth, to be viewed in a better light, you're standing in artificial lighting.--Fred Cuellar
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If you have to manipulate the truth, to be viewed in a better light, you're standing in artificial lighting.--Fred Cuellar
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post #5 of 12

Weasel or Ferret. That is exactly the way they kill. They can get into very teeny, tiny spaces as well - that's why you're not seeing anything digging, etc. When I was a little girl my Grandma always had chickens, ducks and geese. One night a weasel killed several chickens in her coop. They were all placed in one corner...I feel sorry for your daughter...sending hugs.

BTW - back then the weasel squeezed through a very slight crack in a window frame that was slightly bowed from age/moisture...it was a very little crack!

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yeah, we've sort of decided the most likely culprit was a weasel or similar family member.  No flesh was eaten, the poor birds were just killed and left under the hen house.  We learned the hard way that 6' fences may keep ducks in, but don't keep predators out.  Thankfully our hen house is pretty secure...we've checked numerous times and can't find any small openings that are unprotected by hardware cloth.  We'll be sure to have to pop door closed well before dusk!  Our little 9 week old EE hardly left the coop for the run yesterday.  It was either the wet ground (2" of rain the day/night  before) or they "knew" something had gone on outside the night before:(

Wife to a wonderful man, mother of a college girl and a high school boy, "mistress" to 1 golden retriever, 2 cats, and 15 chickens (My "girls" include 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Dominiques, 2 Black Australorps, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Jersey Giant, 1 Speckled Sussex,  2 Golden Laced Wyandottes from 2009 and the new 2010 babies, 1 more EE and 2 Welsummers)
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Wife to a wonderful man, mother of a college girl and a high school boy, "mistress" to 1 golden retriever, 2 cats, and 15 chickens (My "girls" include 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Dominiques, 2 Black Australorps, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Jersey Giant, 1 Speckled Sussex,  2 Golden Laced Wyandottes from 2009 and the new 2010 babies, 1 more EE and 2 Welsummers)
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post #7 of 12

I had the same thing happen.  I lost two hens and then this morning, another had a bloody head.  Mine stay outside and I haven't had any trouble for 3 years.  I just makes me sick.  They are so vunerable.  We are going to put them in a wire cage tonight and set some catch em alive traps.  I will post again and let you know what we get.

post #8 of 12

It is probably a weasel. If you have a way to search under the hen house you might find it living there. I had one living under a small chicken house and had no idea how he came and went, but he did until I found him.

post #9 of 12

like everyone else is saying it's probably a weasel or similar, sounds like what a weasel would do

 one Buff Orpington, one Cherry Egger, and one Black Sex Link

Soon adding one Delaware, one New Hampshire red, one Silkie, one Barred Rock, one Silver Lace Cochin bantam, 

one Silver Lace Wyandotte, one Gold Lace Wyandotte, one Easter Egger, and two Buff ducks (one male one female)

 

One Basset Hound and Lab Mix, Two Lab and Bird Dog Mix, and One Boxer and Shepard Mix

 Four Cats and one...

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 one Buff Orpington, one Cherry Egger, and one Black Sex Link

Soon adding one Delaware, one New Hampshire red, one Silkie, one Barred Rock, one Silver Lace Cochin bantam, 

one Silver Lace Wyandotte, one Gold Lace Wyandotte, one Easter Egger, and two Buff ducks (one male one female)

 

One Basset Hound and Lab Mix, Two Lab and Bird Dog Mix, and One Boxer and Shepard Mix

 Four Cats and one...

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post #10 of 12

I am just sick about this and don't know how to handle it.  The ducks so love being outside but will catch them tonight and see if we catch the culprit.  I have never had any trouble like this before but now that whatever it is knows there dinner here, I'm sure it will be back.  We have had skunks and coons, but of course have never seen a weasel, but I'm sure we must have them.  I hope we catch it tonight.  

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