My last Cayuga - mysteriously DEAD. Help me figure this out!

fogbubble

In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 9, 2009
77
4
41
Western NC
I just found my last Cayuga, a beautiful girl, dead in the yard. DANG! I can't figure it out - there's not a mark on her, no broken bones that I can tell, eyes still clear, still slightly warm, slight rigor mortis, and that's it. I checked for a mass in her throat thinking maybe she choked. Nothing. They were all playing in the creek and now this.
I have a dog that could have done it, but like I said there's no sign of trauma or lose feathers. It's like she had a heart attack or something, but she's young and not overweight. Her feathers are dry, no dog slobber.
Are dogs known to kill ducks with such little damage? He's well-fed and wouldn't need to eat it. Any other ideas?
Shannon
 

FenDruadin

Crowing
10 Years
Jul 30, 2009
3,744
224
281
Charlotte, NC Area
Dogs will often leave little or no visible damage. Unlike wild predators, they usually like to "play" with their prey either by chasing or by lightly handling it until it either dies of heart attack (imagine being "played with" by a lion or other large predator) or from accumulated physical trauma that may not be obvious upon examination. Because they have no practice nor specific desire to kill the "toy," they often don't inflict the kind of immediate trauma that kills quickly and also leaves signs. Plus, once the "toy" stops moving, it loses interest for them and they rarely inflict additional damage. Personally, I would never leave a dog alone with my birds unless it was specifically raised, trained, and proven as a guardian dog.

I'm sorry about your loss. It's really sad to lose our duckie friends. I hope you're able to find out what's happening and devise a way to prevent it in the future. I have finally gotten to a point where predator losses are close to zero (I haven't lost a thing this winter, woo-hoo and knock on wood!), but it's taken me two years of trial and error to get to that point, and I'm sure I'll have to make more adjustments as I go.

Good luck--
 

WadeMD

Songster
10 Years
Dec 16, 2009
154
1
109
near Frederick, MD
Are you downstream of any farming or park operations? It is the time of year when pre-emergent pesticides are being applied. I would be cautious around the creek right now especially if you have rain or snow runoff still going on.

I would seriously doubt a dog did that to a duck without puncture wounds or soaked feathers (mine would play with a bird to death, including licking, but no biting... its done that with opossums and such).
 

Cara

Songster
12 Years
Aug 30, 2007
3,267
8
221
NM
Whenever a dog has attacked my birds there have been feathers everywhere from chasing and grabbing (particularly tail feathers).
 

FenDruadin

Crowing
10 Years
Jul 30, 2009
3,744
224
281
Charlotte, NC Area
Huh--I guess dogs have different MOs then. The dogs that attacked my ducks a couple years ago left no visible damage. I'm pretty sure it was them, because I saw them in our yard that same day, it occurred during daylight hours, and the bodies were simply lying in our backyard. They've also killed a goose, on another day, and they did leave visible damage--they tore a hole in his chest--but did not maul the body beyond that point. I suspect the goose was harder to kill than the ducks, and I also think he was probably attacking them (in defense of the rest of the flock--whereas the dead ducks were probably fleeing at the time of their death) which caused the dogs to inflict faster and more visible damage.

Nevertheless, I don't doubt other peoples' experience--nor would I discount the excellent suggestion that it might be something in the water, unfortunately.
 

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