I had 6 muscovy ducks about 8 months old. They free ranged on my 19 acre farm which is well away from the road and enjoyed the stream running through it. At night I shut them in a shed. They were very cooperative with this arrangement aside from the hens who decided to start nesting in hidden locations in December. I eventually talked the one out of it but taking her eggs but I never found the location of the other one's nest.
Two weeks ago I saw all but the one who was nesting in the afternoon. I was 2 hours late putting them to bed and only two were there. I left the door open so all could get out of the cold if they wanted too. That was Sunday night and the last time I saw Rosemary.
Monday night 4 were there to be put to bed but they refused to go in the shed. I spent 45 minutes trying to herd them in and eventually got three in. That was the last I say Mrs. Dash.
Wednesday I put the three remaining away. Thursday I saw the three in the afternoon. I was a little late to put them away and there was only one. That was the last I saw Paprika and Cilantro.
Friday night I put Dill away. Saturday he didn't turn up. Sunday I searched the farm and found him by the bridge at the end of my driveway. No sign of the others. Even looked in the pen where a neighbor has some ducks in case mine had gone visiting. My other neighbor said she's seen a hawk after he chickens so I guess that is my theory. Dill was the largest and would be the hardest for a hawk to carry off. But I couldn't talk him into coming home. So he was wild for a week until I finally caught him yesterday. I lured him out of the stream with food lept on him and carried him the 1/4 mile home. He was very heavy by the time I made it!
I had constructed a small pen around the entrance of the shed. I put him in there with water and food. This morning I saw him when I went out to get a bucket. I filled it with warm water in the kitchen and brought it out so he could have a warm bath an water for longer until it froze. But he was gone. When I realized he wasn't hiding in the shed I looked down the hill and there he was swimming down the stream. Yes, one wing is clipped, but I guess he was desperate!
SO any advice on what to do? Do I attempt to catch him again - if I can even get near him again after a memory of me leaping and carrying him? If I catch him to I clip the other wing? Do I just let him go wild? If I got more ducks would he return to join the flock? My plan was to keep him penned up until I found a girlfriend for him. Long term i don't think I want ducks unless I let them free range most of the time, I already have to clean up daily after four horses I like how easy free ranging ducks are but I don't want to be a hawk food factory either...
Then there is that one hen who could be still nesting. Her ducklings would be born any day. I plan on putting ducklings and mama in the barn if they show up. I'm in south central PA, would I need to put a heat lamp in there with them or would a bed of hay and their mama be enough to keep the babies warm.
Dill with Rosemary back during the Halloween snowstorm