What can kill a Pekin but choose to kill a small mallard?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Raea, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Raea

    Raea Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been trying to deal with a predator problem for my ducks and their pen. After the first attack, we thought we corrected the problem until we lost another. And another again today...it is quite upsetting and I feel sick with guilty. I've thought several times now that I fixed all weaknesses in their pen, only to discover another duck missing the next morning. Originally I thought it was a fox who was able to climb up the cracks in the wood wall of their pen or a coyote able to jump over it. But now I think it might actually be an owl? The reason being that we only lost one adult Pekin at night, during an attack. The other attacks have been more aimed at our younger Anconas and today we lost one of our, even smaller, Mallards. There is never any trace of an attack left behind and I have heard owls in the backyard before. Which is now why I'm wondering if possibly an owl is the predator who is targeting the lighter, smaller ducks. I would assume a fox or coyote would want a larger duck or possibly even take more than one at a time and would be more likely to leave a trace of their attack behind. Given that something still took a large Pekin, and I don't think an owl would be able to carry one off, would it? I'm just thinking that if it was truly a fox or coyote, they would want a larger Pekin instead of my mallard. I've heard that foxes and coyotes usually take more than one at a time and leave feathers behind too. Do you think the predator could possibly actually be an owl instead? I just hate this and want to identify the predator so I know how to properly approach and fix this issue ASAP. Also, I believe all attacks have only been towards the male ducks which I thought was odd and don't know if it means anything? Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are the attacks only happening over night?
    If so, do the ducks have a secure house they can be locked up in as that would make the issue of something getting in the pen over night not an issue.
    If you have a game camera or can borrow one, set it up and see what you are dealing with and how they are getting in.

    Sorry for your losses.
     
  3. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they in a covered pen? If not, cover it. Everything can climb up and over and of course owls and hawks can get into everything uncovered. And poultry netting and chicken wire are useless as a roof.
    So a description or pic of your set up will help determine the weaknesses.
     
  4. Lilki

    Lilki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raccoons will attack and leave no trace.
     
  5. Raea

    Raea Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2016
    I'll try to post a photo when I get home. But only half the pen is covered. I read that they like to be able to see the sky at night. I did add netting over the other top after the first attack though but it didn't connect well to the wooded and tarped side. Why isn't netting or chicken wire good to use? What can I use instead?

    And for raccoons, I heard they will usually leave the carcass or head in the pen or next to it. Which is why I ruled it out. Is that not true though?

    Thanks for the replies!
     
  6. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like to see the sky at night, too, but not if it leaves access for something to come in and kill me. :)

    And it really doesn't matter what is getting in - chicken wire is only meant to keep chickens IN. Just about everything can get thru, or under it. 1/4" Hardware cloth, secured up, over and around is excellent protection. Remember - a weasel or even a raccoon can get thru a 1" opening.
     
  7. Lilki

    Lilki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I had a raccoon steal two chickens from a latched coop about ten years ago. There was no trace. They probably did not want to eat them where they felt unsafe. They figured out how to work the latch on the coop and we since had to start locking with an actual padlock. They are very smart, and have workable hands, and would have no problem getting in a partially uncovered pen.

    Hardware cloth is better than chicken wire. Chicken wire is just too flimsy and raccoons can reach through and grab your animals. Even if they can't pull them through the wire they can fatally wound your chickens. I've read several accounts where they can actually shred the wire.
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Sounds like a Raccoon too me....Lock them in at night.
     

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