Baby Muscovy Ducks Disappearing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by the Old Rebel, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    Help! My week-old baby muscovy ducks are disappearing without a trace. The disappearances happen at night or early in the morning.

    Will a full-grown muscovy drake eat his own babies?? I've had adolescent ducks kill baby ducks once, but I never thought an adult would eat a baby. I don't know what else it could be unless it is a snake, but we haven't seen any signs of one.

    I make sure that the mother and babies are back in her nest box when we put the other ducks in the pen at night. But sometimes she is out by the time I get down there in the early morning.

    Will rats eat a baby duck? We have NEVER had a problem with them until this year, but we've seen a couple around our compost bins. Don't want to poison them. We don't like to kill God's creatures whatever form they are in. Also don't want to put our 103 creatures, some of them free-ranging in the daytime, at risk. But what else can we do? We're trying a critter-friendly trap, but those guys are smart! We have hardware cloth around the pen, so they can't get in that way, but we noticed holes around the rocks around their little pond. These rats are not big, but would they take a baby duck?

    I've heard that squirrels will eat baby chicks. Does anyone know if that is true? Squirrels find ways into most of our pens, but they have only ever eaten corn, wheat, chick starter, etc. We've had birds for eight years and NEVER had a squirrel bother anything. Sometimes the guineas chase the squirrels, but never the other way around. Does anyone know the truth about this?

    THANKS in advance for any help you can give me. Tonight my dh put a door on the nest box covered with hardware cloth. I don't think ANYTHING can get through that, and she can't get out until we let her out. We'll see what happens now. But I'd like to know about drakes, rats, etc. THANKS!

    Hope you all have a great day!
  2. Chickenlover88

    Chickenlover88 Songster

    May 10, 2007
    Dallas, Georgia
    It is probably rats. I had this problem before. My momma duck had 10 babies and every night one would vanish. I finally figured this out and put the mom and babies in a hardware cloth cage every night before bed. The rats couldn't get to them through it. Although one did chew off the wing of a duckling through the wire. I think what you did was a great idea. The same thing happened with my baby goose. I had him in a large hardware cloth cage outside and a rat somehow got inside it through a hole I cut through the wire. It was about a 3 x 3 hole I cut out of it if that makes any sense. The goose was pretty big too and about 4 weeks old at the time. Good luck with your rat problem. I have had good luck with large rat snap traps baited with peanut butter.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007

    CHICKYDEB In the Brooder

    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    I saw a couple nasty old rats in the coop a couple of nights ago. We found the hole and boarded it up. My silkie's chick was hatched last night and I have four 2 1/2 week old chicks in the house in the brooder so now I am worried about the baby that just hatched! Should I lock mom and baby up in a special cage for awhile? I have another silkie sitting on an egg due to hatch next week so then I have to worry about two of them out there. Do you think I could bring the newbies in with the 2 week olds? Would that stress out the mom's? Or the chicks? One of my hens safely raised a chick last year with no help from me so this is the first time I raising my "own" chicks! Please help! Thanks in advance. Also, I've never heard of squirrels bothering chicks. I see squirrels and chipmunks in with my chickens all the time sharing the feed! Maybe I'm wrong but they all get along together here.
  4. Janene

    Janene Hatching

    Mar 4, 2012
    Hi, we have 5 bunnies, 3 cats, 2 dogs,a turtle, a fish and we have 7 muscovy ducks that we feed behind our house. They just had an egg that they were trying to hatch. We had guys installing new screen around the pool they found the nest with one egg.
    The muscovy ducks have not been back to take care of it. I tried putting their food over to the same side by the egg and they still would not go backed. After 12 hours I picked up the egg and put it by our hot rock in a blanket by our small land turtle. Any suggestions on how to take care of the. egg. We love God's creatures also. Felt so bad that the guys disturbed the nesting area and now they won't go back. If anyone knows how to take care of a muscovy egg we would greatly appreciate the advice.
  5. sevenchickens

    sevenchickens Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    if it was only one egg, my guess is that they moved their nest. None of my Muscovy ducks have sat on a nest with only 1 egg. They are very difficult to artificially incubate, out of 12 I had 3 hatch and 1 live and that was in an incubator. Mom is much more successful. out of 15 15 hatched and lived!
  6. sevenchickens

    sevenchickens Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    Old rebel, I'm sorry to hear about your babies. It's so hard to loose them. I just lost an adult to a fox in the middle of the day.

    Do you have a Vari kennel (the plastic dog crates)? When I had a mama that insisted on staying in the coop with the chickens I put her in one of those to protect the babies from the chickens, kind of messy to clean, but it's safe.

    Cats and terriers also work magic against rats!
  7. Ibicella

    Ibicella Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    There are a number of things that could be taking the babies without a trace. Squirrels and adult ducks are off that list, though.

    Rats WILL take babies. Look for points of entry (a rat can fit through a hole the size of a quarter) and other evidence of rat activity (nest holes, chewed spots, droppings). They can take ducklings/chicks and drag them down into their nest holes.

    Snakes, housecats, and many other animals will simply pick up and take a little duckling. So, the hardwire cloth and keeping them in a secured cage/pen is a really good idea.

    So sorry for your loss. :(

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