two questions re: hawks and molting

Julielynn810

Songster
Sep 20, 2018
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Sorry if these are answered elsewhere, feel free to point me to a post. I did a search and wasn't finding exactly what I needed.

1) I have a red-tailed hawk (and bald eagles, owls, foxes, raccoons, opossums, snakes, etc) that live nearby. The hawk is especially concerning at the moment. My ducks currently live in our daylight basement because a huge branch fell on their run right before we were going to move them outside full time so, for the most part, they are currently very safe. I've been trying to give them (supervised) outside time as much as possible because they love it so much, BUT there's a red-tailed hawk that I swear within 5 seconds of us going outside, swoops in and just sits in my neighbor's pine tree waiting for me to make one false move so he can get my ducks. Today he got way too close for comfort. He flew really low, but then questioned his life decisions when he noticed my 90 lb labrador retriever laying right next to my ducks (the fact that I was there didn't seem to phase him one bit)...so obviously free-ranging is out of the question. My dog is really old (going on 14 years) so other than scaring the hawk away, she can't really do a whole lot and she really prefers to lounge inside. I have one of those fake owls that I was thinking about putting on top of their run. Once their run is fixed, they should be pretty safe, I have hardware cloth over the top so the hawk wouldn't be able to get them, but I don't want my sweet duckies scared to death either. Any other suggestions to keep him away??

2) My girls are going through their juvenile molt. How long does this typically last? There are feathers all over my basement, lol!!

Thanks in advance!!!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
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Jul 16, 2015
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The decoy will freak your birds out more than the hawk. Just keep a secure run. The hawk will move on.

How old are your ducks? They go through multiple molts as they grow and generally are done when they are about full size around 5-6 months.
 

Sundevill11

Songster
6 Years
Aug 23, 2014
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Oklahoma
In response to your first question, I'll give you some advice on what I do to keep my ducks safe. First, my ducks are not free-range however, my chickens are. Usually this time of year we keep our chickens in an enclosed garden area where they are protected from predators surrounded by bird netting because the predators are much worse during the winter from our experience. When it comes to our ducks we only let them out for armed, supervised free-roam time. (This is now a requirement after losing our beloved Poncha to a coyote attack). Most of the time that we are out with them is usually spent keeping our heads on a swivel looking for coyotes. Most times we'll see hawks high up in the sky and haven't had an issue with them while we've been out with the ducks. We did hang CD's around the property where we have seen hawks flying in on approach to the open yard where the ducks and chickens have been. I'm not entirely certain if the CD's are guaranteed to work every time but I can say that I haven't seen as many hawks since I hung them up. Also, make sure that if you are not going to be with them when they are out foraging that their coop/house door is open so that they have somewhere to flee to if a threat were to occur. Every time we've had something spook the ducks they immediately run back to the coop. It's important that they know where their safety zone is.

Maybe it's time to get a rookie pup lined up in the rotation? I would think an active dog would be your best alternative if you were not there to supervise the ducks every time. Just a thought. ;)
 

Julielynn810

Songster
Sep 20, 2018
78
135
101
In response to your first question, I'll give you some advice on what I do to keep my ducks safe. First, my ducks are not free-range however, my chickens are. Usually this time of year we keep our chickens in an enclosed garden area where they are protected from predators surrounded by bird netting because the predators are much worse during the winter from our experience. When it comes to our ducks we only let them out for armed, supervised free-roam time. (This is now a requirement after losing our beloved Poncha to a coyote attack). Most of the time that we are out with them is usually spent keeping our heads on a swivel looking for coyotes. Most times we'll see hawks high up in the sky and haven't had an issue with them while we've been out with the ducks. We did hang CD's around the property where we have seen hawks flying in on approach to the open yard where the ducks and chickens have been. I'm not entirely certain if the CD's are guaranteed to work every time but I can say that I haven't seen as many hawks since I hung them up. Also, make sure that if you are not going to be with them when they are out foraging that their coop/house door is open so that they have somewhere to flee to if a threat were to occur. Every time we've had something spook the ducks they immediately run back to the coop. It's important that they know where their safety zone is.

Maybe it's time to get a rookie pup lined up in the rotation? I would think an active dog would be your best alternative if you were not there to supervise the ducks every time. Just a thought. ;)

I don't think I'm going to let them free-range without extreme supervision. I was seriously spooked today by this hawk. I'm thinking about putting a solid roof on their run...

As far as getting a puppy goes, I think my first child (current dog) would have major issues with that! She really enjoys being an only dog and is already slightly annoyed by the ducks although mostly just ignores them.
 
Sep 2, 2018
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The decoy will freak your birds out more than the hawk. Just keep a secure run. The hawk will move on.
How old are your ducks? They go through multiple molts as they grow and generally are done when they are about full size around 5-6 months.
Even worse: After being freaked out by the decoy, your ducks will get used to the silhouette and won't be afraid to the real thing!
We have several hawks and Owls around here, so far the crows have driven all of them away. I am feeding the crows (and the other wild birds). The crows will harass all other birds of prey and the other birds might be an easier target than my ducks.
Now be aware that crows will attack, kill and eat ducklings or chicks.
Fortunately no larger land predators than racoons here, and my wife kicked one of them down the hill in the summer, it never came back.
 

CrystaBub

Crowing
Mar 17, 2018
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I can't free-range either. We have a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk currently stalking our yard - and way too many other predators with 4 legs... I walk my ducks from their pen to their pond (covered with a net) and back several times a day. The rest of the time they are in their pen/run. They are fine with it - and safe - and still alive ;) As for the molting, my ducks are 9 mos old and I feel like they haven't stopped molting since we got them :rolleyes:
 

Julielynn810

Songster
Sep 20, 2018
78
135
101
Even worse: After being freaked out by the decoy, your ducks will get used to the silhouette and won't be afraid to the real thing!
We have several hawks and Owls around here, so far the crows have driven all of them away. I am feeding the crows (and the other wild birds). The crows will harass all other birds of prey and the other birds might be an easier target than my ducks.
Now be aware that crows will attack, kill and eat ducklings or chicks.
Fortunately no larger land predators than racoons here, and my wife kicked one of them down the hill in the summer, it never came back.

Ok got it. No fake owl.
 

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