Duck is gone?! Thoughts?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 13, 2014
I have 6 ducks (3 Pekin, 2 cayugas and 1 runner). The pen has a 6 foot chain link fence around it, open on the top. Its on the edge of a patch of woods, so its always shaded by large pint trees. I let the ducks into the pen this morning at 9 am left for 30 min and when i came back the runner was gone. No trace of him anywhere. The other ducks were out in the pen acting completely normal. I looked all over and no trace of him. Any ideas? Hawk? Raccoon during the day? Its weird. None of the ducks have ever flied out either. He was the best duck too.
We had trouble with Owls and ended up covering the pen with chicken wire. Our pen was a 6 foot tall dog kennel. They took a couple of mallards in the morning. I have also seen foxes at all different times of the day.
I've heard of foxes climbing over fences so that could be a possibility, you could try an electric fence and cover the pen with chicken wire or bird netting or something?
Are you sure he couldn't have gotten spooked and accidentally flew over? You don't see any tracks around the area at all?
I don't know it's very strange. I found about 5 feathers about 40 yards from the pen. We searched EVERYWERE for him. Found no signs. No signs of a struggle. And the 6 of them are never more than 3 feet apart fr each other.
As much as it pains me to say it, I think it's likely that a raptor got him. Runners don't typically really "fly," at least not from ground level, though they can flutter and soar for a bit if they start off on a hill. If it were a ground predator like a raccoon or fox, there likely would have been very obvious signs of a struggle inside the pen, and your other ducks probably would have be noticeably unsettled considering the timeframe you mentioned. A raptor can swoop down and grab a small bird almost as quick as you can blink, and they have incredible eyesight to see potential prey from great heights.

You really should consider covering the top of your pen with hardware cloth or chicken wire, especially since it's near a wooded area. You never know what might be hanging around in those trees just waiting to come and scoop up one of your babies. If you let your ducks free range, you should also consider doing everything you can to attract crows because they help keep the raptors at bay. We keep food out for the crows, and we call them if we see raptors in the air regardless how high in the sky the raptors are. Raptors are extremely intelligent, so they do eventually stop coming around so much if you make your environment hostile to their presence.

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