Help with mystery predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jacob Duckman, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Jacob Duckman

    Jacob Duckman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2016
    Lehigh Valley
    I was told to move the question to this forum. I let my flock of 5 adult ducks out this morning as I do every day. When I got home around 4pm (before dark) I found my duck brownie dead cold and stiff with his head detached and laying there about 2 feet away, in a big messy pile of his small feathers. About 6 feet away I found a couple more of his feathers, but only larger ones. His broodmate, Daisy, lost a few feathers and had a bloody bill, and is freaked out, but otherwise seems okay.

    What predator does this??? It must have happened in full daylight, at least an hour or two before dusk. The head was torn off, feathers everywhere, but the body was otherwise intact... nothing else was missing and the rest of the body was not torn. Whatever it was, it attacked the other duck too.

    Daytime predators as far as I know are mostly dogs, cats, coyotes, and hawks... but none of those three fit the details... thanks for your help guys :(

    edit: I'm in eastern PA area
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    With the head removed my first thought was weasel. I know them by reputation and with chickens only. I guess they would go after ducks the same way. Have you explored the Predator & Pests page of the Learning Center? It profiles predators and how they go about their business. You might give it a look and see if any of the descriptions seems to line up with what you had happen. Here's the link: Best of luck to you!
    1 person likes this.
  3. HARRY47264

    HARRY47264 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2016
    Bismarck AR
    Sorry Duckman in broad daylight I would say a dog especially since it was not eaten .Dogs do a lot of killing just for the H_ _ _ of it
    I had a friend lose 14 chickens in day none eaten
    Try to have a nice day
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    A big pile of loose feathers near a dead bird is almost always the work of a raptor. Hawk or owl. With the head missing, most likely an owl. Those guys usually will come back for more. Nothing mean about it. They have to survive in the wild and easy stuff is what they are looking for. It found your ducks and took advantage of it.
  5. birdmanmax

    birdmanmax Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2016
    Central Michigan
    I agree a hawk or owl. Weasels do hunt during the day but a weasel would most lickely have killed more birds.(weasels will kill for "fun" they are awful little beasts trust me I know)
  6. HariSeldon

    HariSeldon Just Hatched

    Sep 20, 2016
    What about a pile of feathers but no body in sight? Something got my little bantam late morning.
  7. birdmanmax

    birdmanmax Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2016
    Central Michigan

    I would think a coyote or fox they will take there kill somewhere else to eat leaving a mess of feathers.
  8. ZuckermansFamousPig

    ZuckermansFamousPig Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 13, 2007
    SW Idaho
    Possibly a small roaming dog? Found a terrier who lived down the alley in my chicken's pen the day after something caused my favorite Australorp a gruesome death. After I chased him out he seems to avoid the property, but he's a sly little so and so, and I'm not taking any chances.
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    That could also be a hawk or other raptor. When they kill a bird, they will rip feathers out with their beaks and spit em out, then start ripping flesh off the bare patch where the feathers were. So a pile of fluffy feathers is what gets left behind. Normally, they also like to take what they kill to a nearby tree, fence post, etc, where they can dine in safety. A big standard breed bird may be too big to haul off, so that partially eaten bird may be left behind. A little bantam might be something they could lug away.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    A hawk can return to a chicken caucus to dine and dine again and finally remove enough feathers and flesh to tote the remainder off. You will often see a little doughnuts of feathers laying where the hen was caught or killed.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017

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