Duck killed by hawk- goose help?

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
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Stillwater, OK
Hello Fellow duck enthusiasts, I’ve posted about our ducks on this forum before and thought I’d update you and ask for advice. We had five Welsh Harlequin and two domestic mallard girls, 8 mo old, hatched by us and all laying eggs. We would escort them to our small pond after they lay, then escort to the coop before dusk. They mostly stay in the pond, but sometimes forage on shore, which has always made me nervous. Yesterday when I went to get them, I startled a red-tailed hawk from a tree by the pond, and the ducks all dived. Ducks were still nervous, and my heart sank when we were missing a mallard. Found her three feet from the pond edge, body and head intact but neck vertebrae picked clean. We plan to keep the ducks penned for awhile and hope that the hawk moves on (thread on Predators and Pests forum). I am wondering, for the long term, spring, whether we should consider acquiring a gosling and a few ducklings to raise it with? Perhaps a goose would discourage hawks to make daytime pond free-ranging safer?
 

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SniperGoose

Crowing
Apr 15, 2018
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Central PA
I'm sorry for your loss! :(
A goose won't really help with protecting ducks. Though they do make a very good alarm! They will usually alert you by screaming their heads off if something seems off to them/if they see something they don't like. A hawk probably wouldn't be deterred by a goose being there. If it got one easy meal, it's going to want more ducks. They will also attack geese. Geese can attack other animals for sure, but if a hawk or anything else was attacking a duck, there's a pretty good chance the geese would be getting away from that, not helping. Also, as chickens really said, geese can beat up ducks too. Of course it just depends on the individual goose. On top of that, if you did want to get some, you would need at least 2 goslings. Geese need goose friends.
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
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NW Washington state
A hawk may not be able to carry a goose away, but one could definitely kill a goose. Talons are no joke. And geese will not drive off hawks attacking ducks. Your best bet is to keep the ducks confined in a safe coop/run, and only let them out when you can watch them. And train them to come for treats-- that way you can get them to go back in their coop if a predator is around.
 

Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
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Stillwater, OK
Thank you all who shared their thoughts on this. We plan to keep the ducks in their run for a few weeks, but I would like to give the pond another go, maybe with only short (1-2 hr) stretches in the pond so that they are less likely to get bored and go foraging on land. The ducks are trained to come up to their coop when we call them. I’ve been reading threads on the goose forum and the differing opinions are interesting; there are active threads there right now about whether geese will protect poultry, with most saying that they can’t or won’t. There are also a few threads and articles about geese bonded with duck flocks that serve some protective role, especially against hawks. A better hawk spotter than the ducks would probably help immensely, since the ducks seldom forage more than a few seconds from water. I’ll keep reading over the winter and see how the ducks do with the shorter pond time. Thanks again!
 

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