Two ducks in two days :(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CrazyFowlFreak, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    We've lost two Pekins in the last two days. Both the exact same way. We've found the bodies against the fence with their heads ripped off and they're nowhere to be found. I'm guessing there were two predators; one inside the fence and one waiting outside the fence. What kind of animal only eats the head of a duck? Why wouldn't it take the whole thing?

    Today will be spent forcing the remaining ducks into a coop and building a run. Bah. This is our first time losing birds to a predator and boy, does it suck.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Quote:Sorry for your losses.

    Did it look like the work of a ground predator? Or an aerial attack? Two things go after the head- raccoons and raptors. Raccoons tend to grab them through the fence and pull their victims out a piece at a time. I would expect to see evidence of them trying to pull the whole bird through the fence, but Pekins are pretty sizable, so all that was able to be pulled off was the head. Raptors will also attack through the fence if there is no top access. They are not strong enough to pull a bird through the fence, so they will just grab the smallest available part and pull it into their reach. There would be evidence of the neck being picked clean, as well as the missing head. Those would be my guess.

    It does suck to lose birds. We've all been there. Use this as a lesson to make things better, but don't beat yourself up too much. It happens.
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    mink or weasel?
  4. melodylee

    melodylee Songster

    Apr 14, 2009
    I had this exact problem unfortunately an not much I could do except cover their run.
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Sounds like this happened during daylight...if so, rule out Owl, rule out weasel and mink, highly unlikely for them to hunt like that in daylight, also they rip the neck open and eat the internal organs...not the head. Look for a raccoon. They are out during the daylight if they feel safe and they go for the throat and will remove the head.

    Sadly, very few predators take or eat the whole body. A fox will carry a bird off and there are always signs like feather trails. A coyote will carry off the entire bird. Most kill and eat where they kill. The exception to that are the coyotes and fox and raptors if they do not feel safe eating where they kill and they can carry it flight...a grown Pekin is not an easy carry for a raptor, except the eagle.

    I am so so sorry for your losses.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  6. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    DH figures it was around 4-5am or so when it happened. We caught all of the chickens who weren't sleeping in their coop but on the top of the run, and locked them in nice and tight. We tried like the dickens to catch the ducks. I ended up falling and hurting my hip and back. (I have Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis) So the ladies are safe, the peas are safe, but the poor ducks are on their own and I don't know what to do. [​IMG]
  7. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    Make that four ducks in three days. Last night whatever it is, I think raccoon, too, got our last Pekin and my sweet little Maddie a BEI. there is one duck left. I am never getting ducks again. I can't take this heartache. We're saving up to buy three traps and a gun. All I can get done so far today is sit and cry.
  8. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Ducks are easy targets for predators. I've had the best luck with mallards, because they can fly to escape predators. It also helps to hot-wire their pen. I have hot wire running about 9 inches from the bottom of my chicken run and 6 inches from the top. Anything climbing the fence to get to my birds gets a good zap.

    Best bet is to add a photoelectric cell to the system so it shuts off at dawn and turns on at ducks. Keeps small birds from getting killed when they touch the fence.

    Kathy, Bellville TX

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