Who eats duck eggs?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sticksoup, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. sticksoup

    sticksoup Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    0
    119
    Feb 23, 2009
    Bradenton
    I'm trying to solve the mystery of who has been attacking and eating our local duck eggs. We live in residential southern Florida- so we have the general florida villians around (snakes, hawks, etc.) but not very many raccoons or foxes or other critters than are more fond of different areas. On our little pond I've been watching a little mallard make her nest, lay her load of eggs, and she has been nesting quietly for a few weeks now. I've been anxious to see the hatch. Well, to my chagrin this weekend we had quite a cold snap (dropped to high 50-low 60- pretty cold for these parts!). At 3:00 I awoke to a tremendous amount of upset quacking. Thinking it was my Pekins, I got up to check on them. They were fine- the quacking was the little mallard- out of her nest and raising an upset. I flashlighted around but saw nothing but the eggs. The next morning she was back on her nest and one egg was out and mostly eaten. The next night it was the same story- middle of night quacking, mallard off her nest, eggs left alone. Only this morning everything is gone. No eggs, no mallard... one malled and eaten egg. It's a sad story but any guesses to the midnight culprit? I'm so sad about the eggs- they were so close to being hatched. We find it's a rare day when a chick makes it to adulthood around our pond.
     
  2. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    RATS! racoons, possums or owl!
    We live in the burbs and have them so , you do as well.
    Sorry about your loss
     
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    It sounds like a raccoon to me. They frequent waterways looking for food and finding a nesting mallard would be like hitting the jackpot for them. They'd eat the mallard and the nest.

    Although, a snake could have eaten the eggs and then the mallard simply flew away. Although you guys do have feral pythons down there, it wouldn't be a hard stretch to find a python eating ducks, although I doubt a snake that just ate a duck would down her clutch of eggs as well.
     
  4. sticksoup

    sticksoup Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    0
    119
    Feb 23, 2009
    Bradenton
    If my egg eater is a raccoon or snake- do you think I'd be helping the duck protect her eggs by leaving the light on or am I just helping the predator find her better? After I checked on the hen I decided to leave the light on to deter the villian, but I'm not sure it was the right choice.
     
  5. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    Quote:Honestly, there is no way of telling if you helped her out or not. Since we don't really know what happened.

    Many predators hunt by scent, so the light would have been unneccesary. Also, since something already found the nest, all they'd have to do is sit and wait. It's amazing how many animals realize that once they find a nest of eggs, they know a bird is not far off.

    Since this seems to be a freeranging or wild mallard we are talking about, there is really not much that you could have done to deter an attack. To have prevented such an attack you would have had to fence her in or tie a dog out there near the nest. So, as indifferent as it sounds, don't worry, it's just nature being nature and you turning on a light to deter predators would have most likely made no difference at all.
     
  6. sticksoup

    sticksoup Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    0
    119
    Feb 23, 2009
    Bradenton
    Thanks for the reply~ it's good to think I didn't target her out by leaving the light on. I know nature is nature- but I can't help but want to help the little guys...
     
  7. Dolfan2008

    Dolfan2008 New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Apr 9, 2013
    My wife and I live in south Florida (close by the everglades) and had the same issue with a mallard that decided to lay he eggs in one of our flower pots that just had soil in it. She laid 18 eggs in total, the first nigh she lost 10 and some were scattered around in our yard. The following night we left the light on and it seemed to deter the culprit. This morning we found the eggs missing, the mallard gone and the flower pot on it's side. The light did nothing, my wife and I were upset at the site. Hope she has better luck with the next hatch.
     
  8. Newtothischick

    Newtothischick New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Apr 26, 2015
    II just went out and checked on my chicken/duck pen and found the same thing! A beautiful greenish egg eaten up with nothing left but the shell. I also saw a magpie yesterday hanging around the pen. They will also eat eggs I found out so maybe watch for them and/or cover the ducks enclosure with netting to keep the magpies out! Hope this helps! Suz from MT
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by