Protecting the ducks

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ironrosefarms, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. ironrosefarms

    ironrosefarms Hatching

    Jul 19, 2007
    We had raised pekin ducks for a couple years in a large coop with it's own pond and enjoyed not only their warm greetings but the eggs as well. The coop is made of 6 foot welded wire fence covered with poultry wire and the top is covered with poultry wire as well. The side fencing is set into the ground 6 inches.

    Two years ago we came home to find an absolute slaughter, 15 ducks gone in a matter of 2 hours or less. The predator dug in through the duck house floor to make it's entrance. The hole was about 5" diameter. No foot prints or anything to show me what it was other than literally duck parts scattered everywhere.

    I replaced the floor in the duck house with 1 inch marine grade plywood and we bought a new batch of ducks last year. All was well for about 6 months then it happened again. This time it dug in under the fence. The hole was nearly the same size.

    This year I laid cut limestone blocks around the perimeter of the coop setting them 12 inches into the ground. I brought home 6 ducks and that very night the coop was raided again and again the ducks were dismembered. Then it dug under the gate going between my duck coop and my older chicken coop and took 12 of my best hens and ripped them to shreds.

    I need help figuring out one what it is that is raiding, and two how to stop this thing. HELP!

  2. Yonaton

    Yonaton Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    I'd bet money on a skunk (depending on where you live of course). They're extremely good diggers, powerful, and will kill to keep killing (I believe it's because they can't 'sneak' up on most of their meals, so if there's a lot of anything they'll eat nearby, they kill as much/many of it as they can so they can then gorge themselves...which they will do by the way).

    Your best bet will be a live trap or an electric wire around the bottom of the fence (if they start digging far enough away from the wire though, they won't get bit by it).

    If it is a skunk, it's going to keep coming back. It's found an easy food supply and they're voracious. They're such an active critter, they need a lot of food.
  3. ironrosefarms

    ironrosefarms Hatching

    Jul 19, 2007
    Thank you for the reply, I'm here in Indiana so skunks are possible. I have been told possum, coon, fox but had not thought of skunk. The only thing is the one kill that was with in a two hour period, I would think I would have smelled it at least a little? Coons around here tend to be bigger than the holes have been unless it was a very young one? I have been told a fox will take what it will eat and go? and I have been told possum won't eat anything alive?

    I thought about the hot wire idea... but i doubt that it would stop what ever it is for long?

    I've tried laying out live traps but what ever it is wants live meat.

    One thing I did not mention is what ever it was did not carry anything whole away. The time it went in for the chickens it was like it sucked the guts out and left the meat?

    I am terribly sorry for the gore, I hope you understand I just need to find a way to protect my birds.

  4. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Coons can squeeze thru a hole like that and will kill everything they can reach. Were the heads bitten off?
    Possums will kill the birds too.
    Try using a can of cat food in the trap. I catch possums and raccoons with cat food and marshmallows.
    Do you have minx or weasels in your area?
    Also, a digging dog can take out a whole pen of birds.
    If you can set up a motion activated camera with recording, you might be able to see what comes sniffing around.
    Did all the attacks happen at night?

  5. NewHopePoultry

    NewHopePoultry Crowing

    Apr 9, 2007
    I've been told that skunks will go for eggs before going for adult birds.

    I had a family of coons come in and kill 3 ducks and hurt a 4th. They left a mess, blood was everywhere.

    A fox took one of my ducks, I seen him running off with it, but their was no sign of a struggle or anything when I got to where the fox came from.
  6. CtlisencedArborist

    CtlisencedArborist Songster

    Jul 20, 2007
    Small enough hole for a weazel or mink.i am faced with this same problem.i now sleep with a baby monitor next to my head so i can hear the sreaching of the hens.Ive eliminated several racoons before they can breach the perimeter.There is no possible way any thing besides a mink can fit its way into my camp.......except the weazzle!:mad:
  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Songster

    Apr 18, 2007
    Look at your clues.
    5" hole, good digger, rips birds apart, tossing them everywhere.
    That sounds like a domestic dog to me.

    With the exception of the mink, wild predators don't go on massive killing sprees, and they eat what they kill. They don't just rip them up and toss them around. That is *very* indicative of a domestic dog.

    A mink wouldn't dig the hole, and especially not a 5" hole. When they kill they tend to do so neatly, and usually at the throat or neck area. They will kill, maybe eat, and then kill again. A mink most certainly can and will kill an entire flock in one night. But, a mink will not fling carcasses around or rip them up.

    A skunk always leaves a scent. It'll be light since they don't spray. A skunk is a casual hunter, and not an active animal. They don't go on killing sprees, and they don't rip apart animals and toss them around.

    A raccoon is a very good hunter, particularly of caged domestic poultry. Their typical technique is to come in, eat a bird (or two) until they are full, and leave. Then they come back the next night. Repeat until the coop is empty. They are good diggers, but they are much better climbers.

    A possum is half asleep and can't pay attention long enough generally to go digging under a fence. They are superb climbers. If a possum kills a bird, it's accidental, as they are simply eating it. They don't go on killing sprees and they don't rip them apart and they are incapable of flinging the pieces around.

    Fox can dig, but usually don't. While they can go through a small hole, such as denning in a groundhog burrow, tunnels they dig themselves are normally a good bit larger. Very good leapers, they tend to go over fences and the like as opposed to digging under them. A fox can go on a killing spree in a coop. But they are there to eat, so they will do so. Generally a fox attack is to come in, grab a bird, and run off with it to eat it elsewhere.

    Bobcat and the like almost never dig. They are much more likely to eat on the spot, and eat until full. Cats, including domestic cats, do not rip up and fling around carcasses.
  8. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Ithink I have to agree with thinking DOG! lay some flour around the perimeter of the least a 3 ft wide path all the way around. I bet you will see DOG prints. They WILL chase down every animal in the pen, and kill and tear them to pieces. Might be a few dogs. I would get a baby monitor, and a gun!
  9. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    The Sunny South
    Small hole-possible weasel? I think the advice about the baby monitor is very good. I use one myself, and it would have prevented a daytime dog attack if I had used it earlier (I couldn't hear my babies being killed from inside the house).

    Also, Wal Mart has some very simple and affordable security cameras-which is another excellent solution.

    Flour for footprints will help you identify the culprit. But the best thing is to set out some animal traps-sometimes the humane society or animal shelters will loan them out if you say you have a stray cat problem. You can then catch whatever predators are lurking in your area. And the animal control doesn't mind coming out to get those too.

    Best wishes!
  10. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    First thing that came to mind while reading your description was domestic dog.....they just go on a rampage and kill everything they can catch.

    Fox usual your wealth of knowlege was very well presented. It's nice when people tell you how they rule out other species as well as give details. It's one of the reasons I apprecite your posts so much.

    James, burying the fence 1-1.5 feet or just making an L shape on the ground can help and both methods work at the gate.

    The L shape works because animals go right up to the fence to dig, and don't think to back up a foot before digging.

    Additionally, no matter what you think it seems like it's time for an electrice fence. That works wonders--a piece of hot dog on the line guarantees the predator gets a good zap and it won't want to come back.


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