Giving up on Free Range :( UPDATE!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by EmAbTo48, May 30, 2012.

  1. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

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    I have had ducks for almost 5 years now. I have never had issues with predators during the day and the ducks are locked up at night so of course never had issues at night either. I have lost a total of 4 ducks due to them crossing our road into a swamp and eagles killing them the last 4 months :(

    They were doing so well with staying on our property where our Lab is outside most of the day and the eagles don't come into the yard ( they do sit and watch all day across the road though) The ducks were good for the last 4 weeks or so. And yesterday they decided to do it again and I lost another hen!!!

    I hate not allowing them to free-range and eat all the bugs they want but I am scared to even let them out since the 2 eagles watch our property. I seriously wish you could shoot a Eagle!!!! These 2 eagles have also killed 3 of the neighbors newborn lambs!!!!!!!!!!

    SO tonight we are putting our dog kennel around them and putting bird netting on top. I am hoping I can let them out while I am outside but I think it will be a pain to get them back in.

    I just don't know what else to do.. I can't block the whole swamp off from them...

    They are going to be some very unhappy ducks around here.
    UPDATE: thanks everyone for the advice :) My neighbor who owns a large lamb farm contacted the DNR since he believed one of the eagles looked like it had a tag on it? I never noticed it! The DNR came out to both our places and a few of the other neighbors having issues with chickens etc... and placed live traps on the property. The DNR said the Eagles were from the local ( about 3 hours away not really local lol ) sancatuary and the band on the male eagle had a number and information. As of today they have caught the female the male is a bit more hesitant now and appears confused since his mate is gone. I am hoping he will come for the bait so they can be reunited. The DNR came out yesterday and got the female that was trapped on our neighbors property. Our neighbor said that the sanctuary is coming to get both and try to release (after being medically checked over for any diease or issues that might be causing the weird behavior) in there sanctaury again! Both were hand raised from babies I guess... I am just so happy my neighbor saw the tag on the Eagle and that they can be relocated and hopefully stop killing domestic animals.....
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  2. Apyl

    Apyl Songster

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    I'm sorry for your losses. I wish you luck with your ducks and keeping them safe.
     
  3. Can you use portable poultry netting, and make them a larger area that you can move around? You could try the plastic poultry netting that they sell at hardware stores since it is cheap, but the electric netting will also deter ground predators. Then make sure that they have some shelters to run to if an eagle gets tired of waiting for them to go back to the swamp. I use trees, and a couple moveable chicken houses, but It would be easy to make some temporary shelters.

    I probably wouldn't have any ducks at all if I didn't have them inside a fence . . . their tendency with new things is "oooh! Look at that! I want to see it closer!" A swamp would be like candy for them, so I can understand why they want to go back to the place with the goodies and the water . . .

    My ducks are pretty easy to shoo around -- they tend to clump together and herd easily, not like chickens. Especially, if you got them used to getting snacks in their house at the end of their free time.

    So sorry about the ducks that you lost! Glad you are keeping the rest safe . . .
     
  4. CGinJCMO

    CGinJCMO Songster

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    Cole County Missouri
    Sorry to hear about the losses.

    Could you just put up a fence on the road side of your property only to prevent them from crossing the road? I don't know the particular layout of your property, road and swamp but this way maybe they can still free range in your yard while you are home or in the evenings and you'll still have the pen for daytime.

    Good Luck
    CG
     
  5. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

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    I wish it was simple enough to put up a fence where they are crossing but the swamp is huge and we would have to run a fence all the way across the front yard which I know hubby won't go for.

    We only have 5 ducks left of the 9.. and the kennel is a xtra large dog kennel so while I am not home they will be in there with their bath and food and when I am around I will let them out. I am hoping if I do this for a few months the eagles will be long gone since there easy meals are not attainable to them anymore. And then I can try free-range again.

    Its just so odd to me since they have no interest in a our chickens, but instead go for ducks the same size as them that they can't even fly away with!
     
  6. I think eagles prey on wild ducks in the same way . . . maybe they are easier to catch than the chickens? It doesn't make a lot of sense though. I'm always worried in May/June when our fields are hayed -- the bald eagles come out and have a party - there's at least 3 or 4, and sometimes more if they've raised youngsters. Then the hawks and ravens try to crash the party, and the air is full of raptors. It is beautiful to watch them flying but I tend to run outside waving my hands a lot - only to find that the domestic fowls have listened to their roosters and are huddled under cover - don't need me at all. Sigh.
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

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    If it is bald eagles, they like to take prey off of water. If it is a swamp, then your ducks on on water when they are over there. Your chickens probably aren't floating on the water, so the eagles aren't taking them.

    Really, if you are not keeping your ducks on your own property, then anything could happen to them. Yes, you could fence them off from the swamp. You do that by fencing them so they can't leave your property.

    Ducks love water, and if they have found water across the street, they will go across the street. It's no good blaming the eagles for doing what eagles do. If you want to keep ducks, you will have to keep them off the swamp, and that means fencing them or confining them in some way.

    Since your local eagles have tasted domestic duck, it isn't impossible for them to come into your yard to take a duck. A covered run would be the safest way to keep your ducks.
     
  8. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

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    We own a 100 acres.. the swamp is 2 feet off our property thats it. Its actually our neighobrs property they are going on to and its just right off the road its hard to explain since we live so far out in the middle of the country. BUT YES these Eagles are becoming pests to not just our livestock but to all our neighbors taking almost week old lambs from our neighbors yard is beyond me.

    I am annoyed because obviously the population of eagles are doing fine now compared to what they were before. I think losing lambs double the size of these fowl are ridiclous whats next a child???

    I have never seen a pair of eagles that are so brave and have no fear of humans. I have chased them off one of the dead ducks and I got up to about a foot from them and they jumped off the dead duck and maybe backed up 2 feet. They are nasty little creatures.

    What bothers me the most is that we have 2 large ponds on our property with large amounts of fish, wild ducks, etc and they don't go to it instead sit up on our tree stocking our property.

    These are not normal eagles it makes me wonder if they were hand raised and released by someone. To be able to get up to almost touching a bald eagle is NOT RIGHT!

    My ducks will be fine now. They are now contained in an a large metal dog kennel and are content.
     
  9. lynnechrista

    lynnechrista In the Brooder

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    I wouldn't be surprised it they were hand raised. We had a jaguar in our trees that someone had declawed and then set free when they were sick of it. It couldn't climb or do any of it's normal things, so it survived by killing everyones cats and small mammals.

    We've had friends loose chickens to eagles. I'm so sorry.
     
  10. CGinJCMO

    CGinJCMO Songster

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    Have you called (or maybe even better - written?) your local conservation dept? They may just tell you that there's nothing that can be done...at least until they get enough complaints from you AND you neighbors. If you tell them everything you've seen (esp. the fact that they don't fly away), and document your losses because of a predator. Maybe if there's enough complaints and agricultural/ monetary losses, they can figure a way to trap and relocate them. You may be able to pen up your livestock to prevent the eagles from getting to them, but the sheep and other livestock that can't be (and children), will still be "easy pickings". Also, if the worse does happen and a child is attached, there will be a record of complaints against these birds.

    Good Luck.
     

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