help me figure out what it could be

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TLWR, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

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    southern AL
    About 2 weeks ago, I lost one of my ducks. No sign of him anywhere and I searched several days. I can't see into our "woods" everywhere, but if you bend down and look you can sort of see the ground to see if there is a body or feathers. I didn't see anything.

    Last night I went out to put everybody to bed and the chickens are still out and that's just weird. It wasn't dark yet, but about 10 mins from being so. The buffs are always in the hut or up on something. I didn't see the BR as if anybody is out, it's her that waits for me and the ducks.
    The ducks were all standing together as well. This isn't unusual as I come out with a dish of peas and they will wait for me at the edge of the sidewalk.

    Nobody made a move to head toward their huts, even with the lure of peas. The chickens started going nuts trying to get into the small fenced area by the house that has the turtle pen and their food.
    Then the dog is going crazy as well. I did a quick look and saw nothing in the yard and told the ducks to get in the pond. Chickens were getting up on the fence rail or into the small fenced area. So I did a quick run to where the dog was running by the fence going crazy. Starting to get dark and that is where some of our "woods" are. I couldn't see that he was chasing anything. My other dog came out to get in on the fun and he wanted nothing to do with her, so I knew he was after something.
    I ran inside to go grab my husband. He was in the shower. So I went back out. I see Peanut limping up toward us. So I looked again, nada. Both dogs are near her, so I ran off back into the house and grabbed a flash light. Did a quick search and nothing that I could see. I scooped up the chicken and went back into the house to see what was making her limp. All I saw was some scratches on her leg.



    Before I left this afternoon, I went back to see where the dog was going nuts.
    I saw three piles of Peanuts feathers along the fence between the "woods" and the fence. I then saw another pile in the "woods" right behind their hut. So true to her form, while she wasn't in the hut, she was hanging out next to it waiting for me.


    She's been under a tree all day so DH and I got her out and checked her over better. Figured if she lost that many feathers, she may have some injuries that I didn't see last night and her foot is all swollen today.
    Figured out where all her feathers came from - whatever had her wanted some chicken drumstick. I didn't see any punctures or breaks in the skin, just a very naked inner side of her leg. It just looks red from being roughly plucked.


    It was not my dog. One goes out with me when I put the girls to bed and then the other comes out as I am closing everybody up. Last night was no different with the dogs. Birds were already freaking out before dog 1 went outside.
    It was dusk.


    We have a 4' field fence around the back of the yard. We've not see anything come over it (well, we had one deer once). Doesn't mean there isn't something out there, but we've not really had problems.
    My rooster went missing last year. No signs of him. A few months later, my polish chicken was taken by something that flew.

    I've had my ducks for 4 years and have added a few and some chickens to them. No issues until last November. Then all was quiet until Dill the duck went missing 2 weeks ago. I don't know what time that happened. I went out just after dark to put them away and he was gone. I rushed the girls to bed and went out and spent an hour searching for him. Again the next morning.
    Based on last night, I'm guessing it might have been the same thing, so I'd guess it happened just before dark, but it was able to just take him and go.


    Girls will be locked up early tonight while it is still daylight, but what on earth tried to eat Peanut last night. Lucky for her Tavarish is not a fan of things invading his yard. He shares with the ducks/chickens, but if it doesn't belong, he goes after it.
     
  2. banniesmama

    banniesmama Hatching

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    I just read ur dilemma while i was looking for some info myself. My husband says that foxes make a mess when they go after an animal... so ? possible since u live near the woods.
    hope things get back to normal. maybe get a fake owl and put it to deter.
    banniesmama
     
  3. JanetS

    JanetS Songster

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    Do you have a game/trail camera? They show you what's moving around your yard.

    This bobcat was behind our fence.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

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    southern AL
    In case it is of any help to see the area

    the duck and chicken huts
    [​IMG]

    first pile of feathers just behind the duck and chicken huts in the "woods"
    [​IMG]

    the next 3 piles (to the right of the chicken hut is a cleared path to the fence and the fence line is clear(ish) on one side and the side with the feather piles is a bit over grown, but gets mowed and trimmed a couple times a year
    [​IMG]


    The little path to the fence - also needs trimming again (this is from the fence looking to the garage. So at the other end of the clear path to the right is the chicken hut)
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Bill Matthews

    Bill Matthews Songster

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    TO TLWR.........Assuming that the area is open to the outside, sounds like someone has a domestic dog on the prowl......Foxes usually carry their prey away to eat.....Have actually seen a fox grab a fowl by the neck and sling it over it's back and runoff......Racoons, skunks, opossums are candidates ...Even a large rat....Good Luck
     
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

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    southern AL
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean open to the outside, so I have google map pics LOL

    The full property in red box.
    Yellow box is the fencing. It's fenced. Nothing has broken through the fence, but again, it is field fencing. It was put up to keep our dogs on our property. Bonus is that it has kept the neighbor's dogs from coming into our yard.
    The open property next to us is 2 horses. She sees a coyote every now and then, but she gives us a call when she sees him and she hasn't called about "critters" in quite some time. They know our ducks/chickens free range in the yard.
    Their yard is fenced with barbed wire, except our shared fence line which is our field fencing.
    [​IMG]

    This is the more "open" area behind the house. The birds tend to stay in this area all day, though they do adventure out a bit further back. It's pines in the center, but cleaned pine. We did leave scrub by the fence line for privacy, but the fence lines are clear of brush and we trim that 2x a year. The back fence line we don't trim up, but behind us is a field (currently cotton)
    On the left side of the pic, from where their huts are (purple box) back to the fence line is "woods" - like the pics above - pines with some scrub brush. Ducks and chickens hang out in there at times and explore. They have the areas they like to hang out and others they just walk through to get to somewhere else. The trees to the right of the purple box are clean around them.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

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    southern AL
    We will be borrowing a game camera.
    How far away can it be set up and still be able to maybe see what is hanging out?


    I'm assuming since it knows where to find at least the chickens in the hut to set it up so it focuses on that area?
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Very similar to my setup in many ways. I also had a bobcat problem and have dogs. Owing to infrequent visits by bobcat it was tough to get dogs to key in on one until we got close. Dogs now got it down but bobcat is hard to locate because it relies in stealth an usually does not promote much in the way of warning cackles. I have been trying to get birds to not range so far away making so dogs have easier time.

    It appears the bobcat respects electric fences which was rather suprising.
     
  9. JanetS

    JanetS Songster

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    Jun 22, 2012
    With in about 20 ft. Good luck.
     
  10. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

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    Looks like you live in a remote area, which also means major predators. It also sounds like you are doing the best you can for them.

    In my experience this year, I've seen some very, very strange behavior with my chickens and orchard this year due to the very early warm weather and lack of rain. I truly believe the bedtime differences, very early crops and egg laying behavior has a lot to do with it.

    Your chickens and ducks, not going to be at a normal time may be part of that.

    However, none of this pertains to the predator issue, except that I'm find predators I never had before. They are more desperate now. Be aware of that.
     

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