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Rats? Anyone have duck death from rats?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by learycow, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found a welsh hen dead today. The body was near the corner of my coop, outside in the snow.
    ALL the meat was eaten from her neck and her breasts. The feathers all plucked in those areas, but not eaten.

    Not much of a struggle, only a few drips of blood near where her body was found but more blood there of course.

    I DOUBT it was the local fox as he would've carried the body off. Plus there were NO TRACKS in the fresh snow around her.

    I have had rats that eat eggs and feed but never this.

    Anyone have any thoughts or ideas? I have a TomCat trap out now, that way my dogs and other birds can't get to the poison. But open to other ideas and suggestions. I cut my breeding flocks WAY back this year and I'm afraid all my years of breeding will be lost quickly if they keep getting my birds :(
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Oh, no.
    [​IMG]
    Well, I think I would check in at the predator forum, my first thought is something else killed her and if a rat was involved, it went after the corpse. That said, I recall stories of rats going after confined birds (I recall it was an ailing guinea hen).
     
  3. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    I'm thinking owl. Did you look for talon marks on the body?
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    any mink?(or weasel) i am sorry that would have been distressing.
     
  5. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    Was there snow ON her? If it didn't snow after the incident, it was likely a bird of prey...I'm really thinking owl. Did you look for wing sign or just footprints?
     
  6. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would guess more mink than rat. Minks attack the neck area. Believe me, I saw it first hand when a mink got one of my rabbits (he was ok, was there to save him luckily). Mink are horribly hard to trap, and WILL return. Read that they kill just to kill. Don't want to scare you, but they are awful creatures. Normally they kill early am or dusk.
    Sorry for your loss, that is very sad.
    Be careful that any cats cannot get to the bait also.
     
  7. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There was a fresh snow when I put the birds out. The only prints I found were webbed duck/goose prints.

    I didn't see any wing marks. The only birds of prey I've seen around are red tailed hawks. But I've never had one get a duck. My coop in in the woods too, not out in the open. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    I was thinking rat because I've seen it. And there were tracks in the snow a few days ago that went from under one coop to the other, much bigger than mouse prints.

    And it happened during the day. I let them out (free range) around 12 noon and went back around 3:30. It doesn't get dark until about 5-5:30 so not sure if that matters.

    I hope it's not a mink! I've never seen those or weasels around. Just the fox (which I don't think it was as birds usually disappear if the fox gets them). It was just so odd that only the breast on both sides and all of the meat/skin on the entire neck. Nothing else was touched
     
  8. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    Can you describe the bite marks? I know this sounds gross, but did you get a picture of the damage? You can normally tell if a rat was the culprit by teeth marks. Rats CAN take down an adult duck (especially if it's more than one of them) but I highly doubt it unless there was something seriously wrong with it. I think a game camera is in order.
     
  9. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't take pictures (now wish i had) but the teeth marks against the breast indicated a large rodent. Which is also why I don't think it was a bird of prey.

    Thanks for letting me know rats can take one down. I've had rats before but they've only ever gotten eggs and ducklings. But I try to keep on top of them. I moved to a new town and property about 2 years ago and moved my ducks here about 14-15 months ago. The rats didn't show up (or at least I didn't notice them) until this winter.
     
  10. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I asked my husband and he thinks mink(weasel) as he had chickens get caught as a kid on his farm.. brutal things.
     

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