Lost 2 ducks today, completely intact but all meat gone

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SteveInColorado, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. SteveInColorado

    SteveInColorado New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Hi, all. New here, but I like what I see.

    We came home late tonight (8 pm), so I don't know when it happened, but 2 of our runner ducks got eaten at some point today. They were in the run, right where they usually stand between their feeder and kiddie pool. The odd thing was that their bodies were completely intact, with nothing in the middle. The heads, feet, tails and wings were completely untouched, but the spines, breastbones and backs were picked clean. And I mean CLEAN. The skin around the midsection was also still present, laying there in a strip still atttached in a couple places to the birds. I don't see signs of broken necks, but I guess it's possible they were. This would have been bizarre if it was one duck, but 2 almost identical kills makes it evident that this is an M.O., not a fluke.

    Something ate ALL of the meat off of these two ducks, and NONE of the non-edible parts, and I don't see any obvious causes of death, other than the missing organs.

    There were 2 other runner ducks in the area, unharmed, and 4 banty hens that like to roost in the duck area. Some of the larger chickens come and go from the duck run.

    Something heavy bent the 6.5 foot welded wire over at the top, but it may have been one of our horses. If it was an animal, I'd say it was at least as heavy as a fat raccoon to have been able to bend the wire. The fence is only 4 feet on the chicken side, so predators have always chosen that side in the past. We got rid of all the foxes last year, and raccoons haven't ever gotten after our chickens, even though we have a huge population of them here.

    Anyway, I don't know of any predator that would eat the animal on the spot and clean the carcass so thoroughly, leaving it intact with the head untouched. We live near 2 waterways, and have all possible wildlife here, so anything's possible. If it weren't for the bent wire, I'm afraid I would be leaning toward the two remaining ducks, or the chickens, but they're innocent for now.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance for any help,
    Steve.
     
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Don't worry, it was MOST definately not your chickens or ducks. Chickens will scalp eachother to death and then eat the innards, leaving most of the meat.

    You have a predator. Fox usually carry their prey off. I'm thinking it may be a hawk or owl. Someone else might suggest a raccoon. Until you figure out what it is, keep the birds locked up tight!
     
  3. SteveInColorado

    SteveInColorado New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2009
    No, not a fox, I know. We've had plenty of rounds with them. I don't think it was a wild bird, either, though. We've lost a few to hawks, and they usually leave a pile of feathers that looks like a pillow blew up. If they leave their kill, it's headless and not eaten on very much. If they're going to eat it, they take it with them. The only reason I might think the other poultry did it is that it doesn't look like any predators I've seen or read about. Yes, I'd expect the head to be pecked if it was chickens, dunno what ducks do but probably the same. I don't know why a raccoon would climb the high fence to get a duck when it could go over a much shorter fence to get a chicken, but like I said the bent wire would indicate something heavy. Raccoon it may be. I've trapped quite a few, but never lost a bird to one. They usually just tear up our trash.

    So in my mind, not violent enough for a bird of prey or a cat. Eaten on the spot and feathers intact rules out dogs. Weasels, etc., also violent. No experience with coons and chickens, but from what I've read, not the way they kill either. Probably still the best choice so far, though.

    Keep 'em coming and thanks,
    Steve.
     
  4. BorderKelpie

    BorderKelpie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2009
    outside Dallas
    Years ago, my neighbor's dog was killed. I don't know what got it, but he was eaten the same way. All parts intact, but his organs, etc were cleanly eaten out with almost surgical precision. I was told it was a coyote. Is that a possiblity?
     
  5. LeBlackbird

    LeBlackbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to have a hawk kill large kacki camballs. It would eat the meat off the neck, and tear all the feathers off. I don't remember if the guts were gone...
     
  6. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

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    It sounds like a hawk or eagle.

    I had an eagle eat a duck and it was just as you describe.
     
  7. SteveInColorado

    SteveInColorado New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2009
    We do have bald eagles showing up about now, and they like the riverbottom which is a few hundred yards from us. I'm still hung up on the bent wire, although like I said, it could have been a horse wanting to see what the ducks were up to. I have a live trap set tonight, I'll see if I get anything. I wonder what D.O.W. will have to say if I catch a bald eagle? [​IMG] JK- I know that's unlikely.

    Thanks for everyones' ideas.

    Steve.
     
  8. SteveInColorado

    SteveInColorado New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Well, apparently not an eagle. The live trap was turned on it's side yesterday morning with the tread plate pushed back in the loaded direction so far that the rod was bent going from the tread plate to the door latch. I baited it with hot dogs and bread, and one of the two hot dogs was eaten, the bread wasn't touched. I baited it again last night with a chicken back. Today the chicken is gone, nothing in the trap. I always set it with the trigger as lightly engaged as possible. I'll try again tonight with the chicken tied to the trigger. My guess now is a raccoon that has been trapped more than once. We'll see tomorrow [​IMG].
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  9. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck! Let us know what ya catch!
     
  10. SteveInColorado

    SteveInColorado New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Huh. Went out this morning and the trap was sprung, nothing in it. The interesting thing was that you could see that the chicken looped around to the tread plate was what sprung it. So for the 3rd time, whatever it was reached over the plate to the back of the trap to get the bait, without setting it off. The trap's idunno 30" long, so it would take a long animal to be able to stretch the length, grab the bait, and have enough of its body out the door to escape. To be fair, it would have only had to have had less than 2 feet of stretch by the time the bait triggered it. I've trapped numerous coons, and they are pretty dumb about getting caught in my experience. Put out something they like, and they usually walk right in in an hour or so. Tonight it's snowing here, just checked the trap. There were tracks going right by it, already filled with snow. I thought I saw claw marks on some, but not much I could tell. Probably between fox and coyote size, looked like PROBABLY 4-toed, didn't seem to be coon shaped. Anyone ever had badger problems? The longer this goes on, the less I think I know. Need a shrug smiley;).

    Steve.
     

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