How do you prevent preditors from eating your birds?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by peepsandquacks, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. peepsandquacks

    peepsandquacks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    After reading the sad story of a duck killed by an animal, I am scared to let my babies outside when they grow up! I live in the country (north MN) and we have all sorts of critters out here. Foxes, wolves, muskrats, mink, bears, skunks, possoms, you name it.

    I have a small grain house (about 300sqft) we are turning into a bird coop for the guinneas and the ducks, but will the critters beable to get in there and eat them? It has a couple holes we will parch, but it is sturdy with a sliding wood door.

    I told my husband, maybe put the ducks in a dog kennel inside the bird house for extra protection (Guinneas can at least fly onto rafters if something bugs them). But what about day time when they are out side exploring? any ideas? I really cant afford to build a huge pen for them.
  2. cdnley

    cdnley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2010
    I will let mine free range in the day and pen them at night. Where I live our main predator is the fox. There are coyotes around but more in the bush as opposed to the open grassland/prairie where we live. The pond provides the most protection as wild animals won't go into it as it is deep and the ducks can outswim them anyway. I plan to place these "predator eye" red led flashing lights around the pond and their pen..even though they will be penned at night, to deter predators from trying to break in. I have read up on many things and that is the best I can come up with. HTH.
  3. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Are they on a timer? Solar?
    Do they scare the ducks?
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    We have plenty of predators here too--fox, raccoon, dogs, I've even seen coyotes in the area. However, I've never had daytime problems with predators except domestic dogs (escaped from neighbors). They are not hard to deter with fences, or you can just accept that you may have a few losses from time to time. To me, it is worth the risk (and occasional loss) for the extra freedom the birds have with free ranging--they are healthier and happier for it.

    However, at nighttime they are locked up in Fort Knox. Nighttime is when we have most of our losses, and even one night outside their secure pen can lead to disaster. Ours are in a chain link dog kennel, with wire over the top, under the bottom (under mulch to protect their feet), and a lock on the gate. Around the bottom 18 inches of the pen I secured 1/2" hardware wire mesh to prevent raccoons from reaching through and grabbing a sleeping duck (which they WILL do). For extra security, I also strung electric wire about six inches from the ground around the outside of their enclosure, but I never bothered energizing it and haven't really had a need.

    I would say that your shelter sounds pretty good if you patch up all those holes. Raccoons will come through openings at any height, and nearly any size. You are right that the ducks are more vulnerable because they won't fly to safety. They sleep very soundly, and always on the ground (except muscovies). They also can't see at night, at least not enough for practical purposes. If you don't think you can make the shelter secure enough, then a dog kennel or even a dog house (with a tightly fitted door) will do. Just make sure they also have ventilation. Our duck shelter is solid wood (well, particle board anyway), with ventilation at the top, which is covered over with 1/2" hardware wire mesh.

    Good luck! You're gonna love them. [​IMG]
  5. stux2c

    stux2c Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2010
    do skunks eat ducks?
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    My ducks are kept securely fenced. At night they get shut inside a smaller predator-proof coop and covered run.

    If I want to have ducks, it is my responsibility to keep them safe.
  7. chikky

    chikky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2009
    Glenmont, Ohio
    I have a garden barn with "french-style" main entry doors and they built two doors on the side for the poultry that I can raise and shut if desired.
    The dog kennel is attached firmly to the building, and it is completely covered with 1/4 X 1/4 hardware cloth and the top of the kennel is covered with double-layered poultry fence and tarps for sun/snow. The fence is attached to the building so there are absolutely NO access points for critters.
    We made a custom door for the kennel because coons still were getting in the rounded corners at the top of the door.
    The custom door has square corners and there is nothing larger than a 1/2" gap anywhere.
    We also ran poultry fence along the bottom of the kennel into the ground to prevent any digging.

    I have seen coons climb the wire, but not able to get in. Before the hardware cloth, coons grabbed through the kennel links and killed my 2 ducks- very ugly.

    I've also read that if you keep killing the coons, new ones come and start all over trying to get in, where the "resident" coons realize that they can't get in and stop trying.

    My ducks are let out when I'm home during the day, then I put them in at dusk (or if I start seeing coons running around, sooner). The beagle also runs loose while the ducks are out and he helps keep predators away.

    So far, so good, but always paranoid about it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by