In the Brooder
- May 21, 2014
Does anyone know if an owl can pick up a duck? my duck is missing and what would be strong enough to take her without a struggle.
Sorry for you loss. I lost 10 of my first batch of 11 Cayugas last year and each one was painful. I suspect most were lost to coyote or bobcat. Those predators are always on the move and will grab a duck and go. Nothing is left behind but footprints. Coyote and bobcat have similar size and shape footprints, the noticeable difference is that you can see the nails of the coyote. By "reading" the footprints you can tell the type, number, and frequency of predators visiting your pasture. I've also noticed the most common area where the coyote/bobcat hop the fence into my duck pasture. I've read that airborne predators will kill their prey on the ground leaving behind evidence (feathers, blood, etc.)
Prior to my second batch of ducklings, I bought a bunch of snares and two coil spring traps. Unfortunately, all I've caught is a turtle, possum, and one of my own ducks. I stopped using the traps/snares over the summer. The best prevention I've found so far is herding the flock into a secure pen ("Quack Shack") at dusk and letting them out in the morning. It has become the normal routine before I leave for work and upon my return home. The flock is familiar with the routine as well and once they are fed dinner, they meander their way to their coop for the night. Keep in mind (IMHO), predators are horrendously more active in the winter and always after dark. I will dust off and re-set the traps with the cooler weather approaching.
My old Golden Retriever "tells" me when predators have been nearby during the overnight. First thing in the morning, if he "does his business" once and in one spot then nothing has been around. But, if he "goes" multiple times over a large area, taking his time to sniff around, he is likely marking his territory after smelling an uninvited animal. A local hillbilly told me I should mark my territory along with my golden, but I'm not sure I believe him.