Where are my ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jelwell1982, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. jelwell1982

    jelwell1982 Just Hatched

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    Dec 14, 2013
    Fort Worth, TX
    First of all, hello, and thank you for the forum. I have been a longtime lurker and decided I need to post to try and help my ducks.

    10 days ago I had one of my four ducks turn up missing. Morning after last I discovered a second duck missing.
    These are ducks that I hatched in Spring. They are all crosses. We live about 4 miles from downtown Fort Worth in an old neighborhood(i.e. not quite the country atmosphere). After the first duck went missing I thought maybe she had a nest somewhere and finally decided to tend to it as she had quit laying about 7 days prior to her disappearance. She was also the smallest, and to my logic, the only one that would be capable of flying should she want to. Now, I have my largest male missing. I would really doubt his abilities to fly, so now I am thinking predator. The only thing that stumps me is there is no sign of struggle, no feathers, no tracks....nothing.
    The boys have always been protective of the girls. They are not shy and chase off my large dogs should they get too close.
    When I moved in a few years ago there was alot of stray cats. They stopped coming around when the dogs started hassling them. Last summer I saw a few large possums hanging out on the fencelines. I have seen raccoons when walking at night.
    So my questions, would any of these be able to drag off a duck without a trace?
    Coyotes are prevalent in DFW area, though I haven't seen any in the neighborhood, but would a coyote jump our chain-link grab a duck and scram?
    What about a hawk or an owl?
    What should I put traps out for is essentially what i am getting at....I don't want to lose my last two.
    Your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Jeremy
     
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These disappearances are overnight? I'm thinking the predator is coming from above. You most likely see tracks from any predators. Plus a spot where your pen/coop/house was broken into.
     
  3. jelwell1982

    jelwell1982 Just Hatched

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    Dec 14, 2013
    Fort Worth, TX
    Yes, I go to bed at about midnight everynight and check on them. I am up at 7 every morning and go outside with the dogs. The ducks free roam the backyard, so their is no pen to break into. Also, with all the leaves on the ground it makes it hard to find tracks.
    The picture here shows Gray, he is the big boy in the back left. He went missing two nights ago. He just seems too big to fly, and too big to be carried off by a flying predator right?
    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the help,
    Jeremy
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I'm thinking an owl may have a hard time with your drake, but he may not be as large as he appears in photo, great horned owls are very large and maybe able to carry one off. you say no foot prints? and I think a dog and coyote would probably leave some feathers on the fence if they had to come across to get to them if they were carrying them back over. Raccoon would most likely kill right there and they don't usually eat everything so there would be some traces of duck left. same with opossums. your smallest could easily be taken by a large owl. Honestly your ducks have no chance of Not being eaten whether inside your yard or not, most of us have secure houses for our flocks because of the dangers especially at night. I believe I'd lock your last 2 up for their own protection and your piece of mind. and very sorry for your loss. pretty ducks
     
  5. jelwell1982

    jelwell1982 Just Hatched

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    Dec 14, 2013
    Fort Worth, TX
    Hmm Owls are a definite discouragement. How far away from their nests do they hunt?
    I will start working on closing off a pen for the ducks. I have a 4x8 chicken wire enclosed brooder that may due for now.

    Here is a nest that I can see from the back porch. Anyone recognize it as an owl's nest?



    This one is about 6x zoom
    [​IMG]

    This one is at about 15x
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    The list of predators is probably long. I know it is here. What I concentrated on before I put the ducks outside is their security.

    Knowing what got them is not the most helpful piece of information, is my feeling. Knowing that they are safe especially at night but preferably 24/7 is what is helpful to me.

    With predators, once they get a duck, they will come back till all are dead. Cold, but that is what I have seen and read here on the forum.

    Glad you are here, and hope you will get them to safety today. The predators don't wait till we are ready.

    Lovely ducks.
     
  7. jelwell1982

    jelwell1982 Just Hatched

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    Dec 14, 2013
    Fort Worth, TX
    You are right. I thought my backyard in downtown suburbia was safe save for a few stray cats...and the ducks have had free reign of the yard since they were large enough to not easily be made food. We have had no issues for the last eight months. However, I agree that the predator will not stop. They are going to spend the next few nights in their old duckling house until I build an enclosed run around their duck shed.

    Thank,
    Jeremy
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Owls nest in tree cavities, that looks more like a squirrel nest, we have them like that here. This isn't the time of year birds of prey or any birds are nesting, they are just trying to survive the winter, We have to be so careful not to give them opportunity for an easy meal. Here is a link to predators that love poultry which includes ducks..
    http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html
     
  9. Avlana

    Avlana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd suspect an owl or a fox? Could be anything. I know foxes can jump fences. From reading on the thread, it seems raccoons make a mess of things with their kills. I've never seen a great horned owl take a large prey like your drake there, but I don't think it's impossible. Some owls are huge. Small ducks are definitely on the menu. That pic looks like a squirrel nest and great horned owls use nests of other species for their own. But it looks pretty small. They usually begin their nesting season around late January and into February. At least here in PA they do. Not sure about TX. I agree to keep the last two locked up and secure at night, obviously. You can count on the predator coming back looking for dinner. Maybe one night you could try to keep a lookout or listen. I know one night, a fox tried to get my ducks and they made a ruckus. Looked outside and saw a fox running around their pen.
     
  10. smccuen

    smccuen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I, too, lost ducks one at a time with no trace. Had to be flying predator. I don't live where my ducks do so was not there to see it. Area is known to have a fox. This year I built a floating duck house and my new four ducks were safe for at least six months. First week in December they flew off. I am hoping they will return next spring. The floating house kept this little flock safe.
     

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