Disappearing Ducklings

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by VanessaN, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. VanessaN

    VanessaN In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2017
    Hello Everyone!

    I am curious of your thoughts on a situation. My boyfriend and I are establishing a farm and have ordered chickens and ducks as our first set of critters. They should be in soon. The other day we were at a farm supply store and bought two ducklings to add to the mix. Because the others have not arrived yet we didn't put the two in the coop we put them in a tub in our laundry room to help keep them warm and to keep an eye on them. We planned on integrating them with the others that come next week. We bought them Wednesday and they were happy and healthy. We came home yesterday afternoon and they were gone. There was no sign of struggle, nothing in the bucket that we were keeping them in was disturbed, nothing was knocked over. Nothing!! We thought some family members were playing a really terrible prank on us but they said that they weren't. We do live in an old farm house and have been battling mice. I am curious to hear what you think took my ducklings. We did have some holes in the laundry room (that are now filled) but nothing to large in the floor. We do have a large hole in the ceiling but if something would of come from it we would have known. Nothing was disturbed at all in the laundry room and there was no blood or shavings anywhere. My thoughts were that we had a snake (we are praying it was a rat snake) come in and take them. The room was blocked off from the dogs and we are pretty sure that if the critter would have entered the gap under the door into the kitchen the dogs would not have let it get to far. Are ducklings were about a week old from what we were told and were not large but weren't tiny. So my questions are 1.) Would a snake(if it were a snake) come in and eat both of the ducklings and then be able to leave? We tore the room apart and did not see it so we think what ever it is is gone. 2.) If a snake did eat my ducklings would it have been able to fit into a hole that was about 2 in. in diameter that had a 1 inch pipe in? 3.) This all happened in less than 3 hours. Would a snake have been able to digest both ducklings in that amount of time? 4.) Could it be another type of critter?

    I am at a loss. We were talking and we both agreed we would of much rather come home to find them dead (which is terrible to say but then we would have been able to figure out the reason why. Too hot, ill, ect.) then them just disappear and we have no idea what happened to them.

    I am very interested in your thoughts. Thank you so much for you time!

  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome, and so sorry! Birds are basically helpless, and need no openings larger than 1/2" anywhere! Was your brooder covered? If not, make a hardware cloth cover before any chicks or ducklings arrive. Also, it's MUCH better to brood them separately, so you will need two brooders, covers, heat sources, etc. rats, weasels, and snakes could be the problem here, so better security is necessary! Raccoons living in the attic? Better figure it out soon! Mary
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    That would be a pretty bold snake or predator, to come in and eat the ducklings. I don't think it would be mice unless the ducks were already deceased. I'm wondering if it's possible the ducklings somehow hopped out of the tub and escaped or hid somewhere. You said it's a laundry room, do you have any cabinetry in there? This sounds crazy, but pull out the drawers if possible and also check under the cabinets to see if there's any openings... I once had a parakeet climb inside the hollow at the corner of a cabinet (didn't even realize there was an opening in there) and get stuck.

    Definitely make a cover for your brooder before you get your batch of chicks. Hardware cloth on a frame with some small weights on top works very well. Chicks are like popcorn and can easily hop out of a brooder.
  4. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Songster

    Dec 16, 2011
    Put a trail cam in the room and see what comes in...

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