How to discourage predators from Muscovy nests - is ammonia a good choice?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Joan6153, May 23, 2016.

  1. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    The last 5 Muscovy females that started nests in my or my neighbor's yards have failed miserably, having been attacked by raccoons and possums during the night. I actually have photos taken with my wildlife camera of the culprits attacking the eggs. The possums seem to take the eggs away while the raccoons just hunker down and eat right by the nest making a big mess I attached a few of the photos:

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    Sometimes the attacks came while the girls were still in the process of laying their eggs so they were not actually on the nests at night when the mayhem happened. Sometimes they were already sitting on the nests and must have gotten disturbed by the nighttime predators. Several of the nests were not in very protected spots and sometimes they were well hidden, Sometimes the female covered her eggs up well with feathers or leaves, and sometimes the eggs were left out in the open. It didn't matter because the predators got to them anyway.

    Now another female has laid her 11 eggs in a nest beneath my neighbor's front window. The good news as they were untouched during the laying process and now she has started incubating them. I would like to help her be successful but don't have much hope.

    I have read that the scent of ammonia is something that raccoons dislike. So I bought some to sprinkle around the nest area - not too close but maybe in a circle 5 feet away or so. But before I do I would like to get some opinions on whether the scent would drive the female off the nest, defeating the whole purpose. Do Muscovies hate ammonia too? Am I going to do more harm than good with the ammonia and I am better off letting nature take its course and just hoping for the best that no predators will find the nest in the next 33 days that is has to go?

    Any other suggestions for ways to deter the raccoons and possums in this situation?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I know ammonia is not good for ducks' respiratory system.

    And I don't know what to recommend, as the approach that seems to be effective is to keep the ducks in a predator-proof shelter especially at night to protect them.

    Once they start sitting on the eggs, they are sitting ducks, literally, and their lives are forfeit without protection.
     
  3. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    Since these ducks are not mine but rather are "wild" animals, I don't have any shelter for them available. They are on their own. I just feel bad that they are losing so many of their eggs. Maybe if I sprinkle some ammonia at some distance from the nest it would deter the raccoons from the general area and not bother the mama duck.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    You will never be able to sprinkle enough ammonia in the area of the duck that will keep predators away that are trying to feed their own babies this time of year, and not causing the irritation to the duck or forcing her to abandon the nest due to the smell...

    What you can try is copious amounts of Cayenne Pepper powder around her area, it might deter some predators and since the ducks don't have capsaicin pain receptors like mammals do, the pepper powder causes them no irritation or harm.. In fact birds actually like the taste of hot Cayenne Pepper as it apparently has a slight vanilla flavor, we just don't taste that vanilla flavor as our pain receptors override our taste buds when we eat it... There is some irony that pepper spray to the eyes will bring most people to their knees, but has no effect on a duck or chicken...
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Oh, okay, got it.

    What about male urine?
     
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Just a guess, but I highly suspect the neighbor might have some HUGE reservations about turning their front window into a urinal... Just saying...
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    C'mon, you can probably gather some discreetly, add blue food coloring, and it's a predator deterrent if anyone asks. Someone gave it to you as a gift.

    Maybe put it in an upcycled (downcycled?) squeeze bottle.....
     
  8. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Downcycled is right!
     
  9. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2014
    Well this thread certainly has taken a turn! [​IMG]

    In the interest of harmony with my neighbor, I don't think I'm going to suggest that my husband tinkle near her front window, and I don't think I'll ask him to bottle up the stuff either. I will probably sprinkle a little commercial grade ammonia around but not too close to the nest - maybe in a circle about 15 feet away. It probably won't help much but maybe it will help a little.

    As for the Cayenne pepper, I'm not clear on what sprinkling it anywhere, other than actually on the eggs where the predator might taste it, would do.

    Of course I can just do what might be most logical thing - let nature take its course and don't interfere. I just feel so sorry for the girls losing all their eggs lately.
     
  10. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    It's to deter them, if it's in the surrounding grass or area they are bound to stir some up and get it in their nose, eyes or mouth as they approach, and this will result in pain and might deter them as most predators will be sniffing the ground as they approach, it's their normal behavior... You can of course even sprinkling it and around the nest as well...
     

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