Help! Second Muscovy Attacked!


8 Years
May 7, 2011
I hope someone can give us some good advice. I have searched the forums, but can't seem to figure out what to do.

We live in a rural area in South Florida with wild Muscovies that have come to be like pets. They live between our yard and our neighbors primarily, and we have even named them. We have lived here a year, and have not had problems with predators. However, this year when they started nesting in the barn and under the shed ramp, I think we have a raccoon problem. One of the females was killed in front of her nest almost 3 weeks ago. She had just finished laying her eggs and was beginning to sit on them, when we woke up the next morning to find her dead in front of the nest. We ended up buying an incubator and are on day 20 with her eggs. (We can see there little beaks and see them moving around when we candle them
) This morning we wake up to feathers everywhere in front of our shed, and 3 broken duck eggs. Apparently another one of the females, Cocoa, was starting her own nest under the ramp and we didn't even know it. My DH and I found her body in the back by the fence. My husband saw a raccoon up in a tree in the neighbor's yard yesterday in the afternoon. I have heard some say that they have Rabies if they are out during the day, and I have heard other say that they can become accustomed to living near humans and so it can be normal to see them during the day. I believe there is a raccoon family that lives across the street. My DH and I were so upset to find her massacred in our yard, this morning. She was so sweet. There are two females and a drake with 7 baby ducklings that hang out mostly near the neighbor's pond, as well. The drake that was always with Cocoa is so friendly and cute. I think he is only about a year old, and today he was eating out of my hand. He is always shaking his tail feathers. I really don't want to wake up to any more of our duck friends dead in our yard, but I don't know what to do???? Especially for the ducklings??? Part of me wants to somehow round them all up and coop them in at night to protect them, but they are wild ducks!!! I know I am going to have to eventually coop our new babies that are going to hatch in a few weeks, but can I protect the wild ones somehow, too?? We have thought about setting a trap for the raccoons, but since the ducks are wild, could we accidentally catch a duck and leave it trapped for the mean old raccoon? Both DH and I feel like we can't just sit back and do nothing, and watch our feathered friends become raccoon food every week.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We love our Muscovies, even if we didn't raise them ourselves.
Howdy from a FL native!

I'm sorry to hear that you've been having trouble with the coons and 'scovies.

If it were me, and the raccoons were hunting down animals I valued, I would get rid of the raccoons. It is true that raccoons in FL often carry rabies, but if the animal actually has enough physical coordination to get up in the tree, it is not likely to be rabid. (Not impossible, but not likely.)

Research your options in your area - it may be possible for you to:

- shoot the raccoons yourself (in hunting season)
- shoot the raccoons as pests (out of hunting season)
- pay a trapper to come trap them
- call animal control to come trap them (they might have rabies!)
- purchase or rent a live trap, trap them yourself, then call a trapper or animal control

The only issue I can see is that if the 'Scovies have sufficiently annoyed the local animal control or city council, they may well be more on the 'bad' list than the racoons. (The raccoons are, at least, native to FL.)

On the up side, no matter if you are rooting for the coons or the 'scovies - your money is on a winner. Neither one is likely to leave the FL landscape any time soon.
I have to agree with Hossfeathers, if you aren't able to secure the ducks, then you have to work on the coon problem in legal ways.

Other things that you can do block off that area where the female ducks have already been killed as the coon has learned that they nest there and will return time and time again to that spot. Another thing you can do is make sure your trash bins, cans, etc are completely secure and maybe inform your neighbors to do the same. And, third, don't leave any pet food or water dishes around and pick up any food that the ducks don't eat, if possible, especially if it's something a coon might want to eat, too.

Sorry to hear about the loss of those ducks, they sounded sweet.
Thanks for the info. Its unfortunate that the Scovies aren't native to FL, and so many people don't like them.
We are in a pretty rural area, and my immediate neighbors all enjoy the ducks, as well. There is more horse and dog poop, then duck poop! lol We have thought about trying to trap the raccoons, but then what do we do with them? I don't think we could shoot them ourselves. Do you know what trappers do with them? Release them somewhere else? or do they euthanize them?
DesertDarlene - do you think it would be ridiculous of me to even try and secure them at night? I know that Muscovies can become very social, so I may be able to coax them. I heard peas might work.
I just don't know if I am turning insane about these ducks. We are trying to figure out the best course of action for the raccoons. I don't even have a gun!
Hmm, I'm not sure. If they go in willingly, then maybe, but if you have to carry them in, I don't think it would be a good idea for now. Also, is where you're going to keep them really secure from coons? If you're not sure, then it might be best to leave them be. It seems like the issue is where they're nesting more than where they're living.

I didn't answer the question on what trappers do with raccoons you trap because I thought others with more experience will chime in.
Thank you DesertDarlene - I think I am becoming Duck Obsessed...we actually, don't have anything to keep them in, yet...but have to build anyway with new ducklings coming. I am more worried about the 7 baby ducklings out there, because they can't fly yet. I have no idea where they sleep at night. I hope they are safe tonight. They are with 3 adult Muscovies. DH is working on at least installing motion lights on the barn and the shed to maybe scare them out of our yard a little, but I guess we were trying to figure out what we should do first. Build a coop and try to get them in it? or try to deal with the raccoons? Most of the posts I read about raccoons and predators concerned ducks/chickens who were already in a coop and things they could do to deter them around the coop, so I was like - oh my gosh...we need a coop!!! I think we probably need to set a trap for the raccoons while we work on building the coop (and on building our relationship with the duckies), and then see what they will let us do.

On another note, do you (or anyone else) have any experience with introducing ducklings you have raised to other ducks?? Some websites say scary things about wild ducks carrying diseases and what not. Can they all live together and free range out there? even if our 8 "domesticated" ones are the only ones that go in a duck house at night?

Sorry, for all of the questions. I am so new to all of this.
Since they are not native wildlife, I can't think of any reason why you can't pen them and consider them to be your domestic ducks.

I'd simply build a secure pen and put food and water into it. The ducks will soon learn to go in there to get the food. Let them go in and out for a few days and then close the door while they are inside.

If there is yummy food and nice nesting material, they won't be upset by it. Since they will eat out of your hand, there is a very good chance they were someone's unwanted pets that were abandoned.

You are going to need a very secure pen for the ducklings you are hatching, anyway, or you will soon lose them to the raccoons. If you don't pen up the adults, you are going soon lose all of them, too.

I seem to remember that Muscovies have to be marked in some way in Florida. I suggest that you find out about that before you pen them.
Marked?? Like they keep track of them here?

I just read on the Florida Fish and Wildlife that they were protected from animal cruelty, and if they were on your property you could consider them "your property" and keep them or humanely euthanize them. I will have to look into the marking.

Thank you for the info and advice. I really appreciate it. Have any good links for building a duck house??
We have thought about trying to trap the raccoons, but then what do we do with them? I don't think we could shoot them ourselves. Do you know what trappers do with them? Release them somewhere else? or do they euthanize them?

Depends on the trapper - talk with them first.

Animal control tends to euthanize the raccoons they catch - it's not like raccoons are at all endangered, and any of them who are caught around human places are in danger of becoming pests. But check with your local county.

It is surprisingly legal to dispose of varmits humanely - and a 22 to the head is pretty instantaneous. Live traps have the advantage over leg hold in that you can decide once you've caught it to release it, remove it and release it, or remove it and dispose of it. Just because it's alive when you find it in the trap doesn't mean you have to leave it like that.

Having said that - do not do ANYTHING that means touching a live raccoon. Wear gloves when you move the cage. Those suckers can be mean!​

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