Dead duck, pretty clean – help a newbie


Jun 18, 2022
Just found one of our pekins dead, about 6 weeks old. They had been inside in a brooder up till about a week ago, now they are in a pen of electric poultry netting with a wooden shelter. (This is a temporary arrangement while we build a permanent run with a roof on the chicken coop)

The dead duck had no obvious injuries – no blood or bite marks, but I did find one of the wings had some feathers pulled out. I'm not sure if this is connected because one of our ducks (now isolated from the others) was eating feathers.

Because the pen isn't covered my first thought is a hawk or other bird of prey ... could something have tried to swoop it up and dropped him? But they really aren't very heavy at this age...

Any suggestions or things to look for? Thank you!
Generally a bird of prey will carry it off, or if it's too heavy it will eat the head and chest. How many ducklings? How was it positioned?
I hope it's ok to post this picture. This is how I found him.

We have 4 other Pekins and 10 other smaller ducks (Swede, harlequin, runners, and a khaki)

My husband reminded me that last night we heard them quacking loudly, and he looked from the window and saw the group returning to the shelter. He remembers one being separated from the others - must have been that one - but in the moment he didn't think anything was wrong.
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Looks too clean and unruffled to be a predator kill, but I haven't seen everything. A bird will usually leave puncture marks from the talons. The picture does help. Hopefully someone has a better idea than me. Is it hot where you are at?
Pekins are originally a meat breed so can have some health issues that other ducks don't. Sometimes heart issues, leg issues...etc.

I agree it doesn't look like a predator kill. So sorry for your loss.

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