Duck is missing - but strange circumstances (we think). Ideas welcome.

Alycea

Songster
7 Years
Jul 9, 2014
90
54
131
Couches, France
I recently posted about some eggs being moved out of a nest, and now even more strange goings on have occurred.

Last night we found an egg that had been opened, but this time by our duck who is nesting well outside of the compound (e.g. under a hedge about 200 metres away), e.g. one of hers. She was still on the nest at that time. This morning she was gone. There was no sign of any fight, e.g. loose feathers, etc. and even weirder, no sign of her nest covering. The remaining eggs (4) were on show (and since been moved to the other nesting duck, just in case there is still hope).

Previously she had had a beautiful nest covering of leaves and duck feathers, hiding the eggs wonderfully, and this has completely disappeared along with our duck (Delilah). We are assuming she has been taken by a predator, but there is a kernel of hope she may have for some reason, sort of, moved her nest, or at least an egg or two and the covering, as we can't figure out otherwise where the covering went to.

Has anyone else had this happen? Any ideas, explanations?
 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
320
186
NW Hills of CT
I raise ducks, and every time I have lost a duck, there have been no traces. No feathers, no nothing. Just a duck that did not come home in the evening. My chickens usually have an explosion of feathers, and then a trail of feather in the underbrush, but the ducks leave no trace. I really hope she comes back.
 

Alycea

Songster
7 Years
Jul 9, 2014
90
54
131
Couches, France
Thank you for your response and experience. We suspect a fox has gotten her, but because of the feathers and leaf covering missing from the top of the nest, we can't shake the hope she has moved her nest, albeit leaving 4 eggs behind (but we don't know how many she was sitting on so possibly she moved a couple.) The actions of the other ducks though give us the indication she is gone :-( which will teach us to move any duck wanting to nest outside their house sooner rather than later.
 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
320
186
NW Hills of CT
Watching the other ducks is a good way to find a nesting female. My female mallards blend in so well with the undergrowth that you can't see them, but if you watch the males, they usually hang out within 10 feet of her, so you keep looking in the general area until you find her. I had a guinea that was nesting somewhere in my pasture. I would see her come and go, but never could find her nest. One day she stopped coming and going, so I knew she had been taken. I decided to find the nest, so I mowed the field with my tractor, and I found the nest after mowing over it. Out of 21 eggs, the tractor only broke 2. I put the 19 eggs in an incubator and hatched one final batch of guineas from her nest. You might be able to do the same with your ducks nest.
 

Alycea

Songster
7 Years
Jul 9, 2014
90
54
131
Couches, France
Thanks Thomasboyle. It's a good point. We have been watching the Mallard in hopes of giving our Delilah away (that's how we found her previous nest). We have another nest in the Duck house, so he had been going back and forth between the nests. But, for the first couple days after Delilah disappeared he, and our 2 other females, didn't wander far from the duck house. Then suddenly one morning he was out of the duck house and heading for the embankment, which is covered in coverage (it divides the two gardens, effectively terracing them). Didn't lead us to her, that we could see, but we are being watchful.
 

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