Found one of my ducks dead today.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by moyeamber, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. moyeamber

    moyeamber New Egg

    Apr 20, 2017
    Found one of our ducks we have been raising dead today. I had checked on them around 3pm and all seemed well. They are around 3 months since we got them. They are practically fully feathered and pretty large. Forgive me we are new to this, the forum and the duck raising. But we moved them from the brooder we had in our sun room to the covered pen which really was a work shed with a dirt floor. I'm no handy man so we converted it to the enclosed pen for the ducks. Figured it would be easier to protect from predators. We used wire to close up anything large enough for any predators to get through.

    So like I had said I checked on them the first time around 9am, again at around noon, and at 3pm. They have been in their new pen for about 5 days. And I have been checking on them every few hours from around 8am- 3am since I do not sleep well. Anyway so at around 3pm when I checked all 6 were enjoying their pool and walking around. But when I returned at 6pm I peeked in and only counted 5 walking around. So I went in and found one laying there dead. I checked and could not find any injuries but the head and neck area was covered in like a slime. And when I rinsed the slime there was a couple small spots that were bloody. Not like you would see from a cut or something a raccoon or something would do. More like pin pricks or something. Really small spots. Anyway I checked the coop/pen over and over to see if I could find where anything could have gotten in and all of the wire was untouched. I'm baffled. I thought maybe a snake? But all 5 of the others still seem fine. Any help, advice, or experience with something similar would be greatly appreciated.
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    If nothing can get in and the bird was intact, I'd consider a snake as well.

    One of my adult ducks quacked for about 15 mins yesterday and when I finally decided to see if I could figure out why she was being a loudmouth, I found a cottonmouth snake not far from her that I guess she wanted me to know about.
    I also opened their duck house one morning when it sounded like they were flying into the walls. I saw a snake wrapped around the door.
    So I'm not sure if snakes will bite a duck or not, but if you have poisonous ones around, it might be a possibility.
  3. sannabelle

    sannabelle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2016
    Rural Missouri
    Sorry for your duck loss :(

    The slime makes it sound like maybe a snake tried to eat it and then had a change of plans and spit up what it had swallowed so far...

    Definitely sounds like a snake to me [​IMG]
  4. moyeamber

    moyeamber New Egg

    Apr 20, 2017
    The small pin whole type spots were all in the area of the bill. A couple under near the neck and a couple like on the side of the face. I've been doing a little more investigating. Because it's so frustrating. We had them in an indoor brooder for like two months and thoes of you who have raised ducks know how messy they are, (this being my first time I had no clue). They are currently larger in body mass than a house cat. So I know most snakes wouldn't be able to eat them. And I had always heard that snakes typically will not kill what they can't eat. But they will strike in defense. Anyway the more I have looked at everything what I believed happened is that a venomous snake (not sure kind but most likely a water moccasin) got into the coop. And being that the one that was killed was always the most aggressive of the flock. (Since he was small even when the others would run he would nip at our hands and stuff). I believe he decided he was going to try to eat the snake or maybe was curious, being the punctures are all on the face. I looked all over and couldn't find anymore anywhere else on the body. When I went back after posting and really looked you can actually see where the duck had been laying and there were drag marks leading to where he was when I found him. They were rather obvious and looked like it was done in multiple short drags. You could even make out where the legs had made impressions while being dragged. Anyway I'm guessing the snake figured it would give it a try but when it got about half way down the neck or so it realized it could not and regurgitated it back up.

    This is the only theory I can come up with that explains everything. They had food when I checked before I made a run to tractor supply for feed. Not much but it wasn't empty either. However it was when I returned and found the one dead. I do not know much about the ducks but it seems like it would have taken longer to starve and it would have effected more of the ducks. And doesn't explain the mucus/slime or the punctures. I thought for a min maybe he had gotten punctured by a nail or wire but seems like it would have been more blood, not as many punctures, and given the size of the punctures they wouldn't have been fatal. And again this doesn't explain the mucus/slime. So that's the theory I'm left with for now. Put a sulfer and moth balls in a perimeter around the coop. Just wish I had taken the precautions before.

    Thank you all for your input. And anyone else that may agree or have a different idea about what it may have been please let me know. We do not want to have another one die. Again thank you all.
  5. The Duck Ladie

    The Duck Ladie Duck Addict

    Feb 23, 2016
    Sorry for your loss. By your explanation It's sounds like the bites were from a venomous snake, I couldn't have been nonvenomous as only venomous leave marks like holes. As for the slime, What kind of snakes do you have around you? I wonder if any would be big enough to try and swallow it, but why would a snake eats something it injected... Snakes aren't completely immune to their own venom I don't believe...
  6. moyeamber

    moyeamber New Egg

    Apr 20, 2017
    We live in SE Georgia so just about every venomous snake you can think of. I know rattle snakes commonly disable prey with venom before consuming them. But I'm not sure about copperheads and cottonmouths. I've seen some really large moccasins out here but the copperheads tend to smaller. I'm really thinking if it was a snake would have had to have been a moccasin.

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