Why are they not in their pond? *besieged*

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by saxet, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. saxet

    saxet Chillin' With My Peeps

    140
    1
    99
    Jun 2, 2010
    TX
    My ducks have decided that they want to roost on my porch all day long. Not funny, because they poop the (brick) porch up something horrible. At first I thought it was related to their egg laying season, since the nests are close(r) to the house this time, instead of at the pond where they used to lay. Or maybe it was initiated by the cat food that they found there -now moved up on a table-. Anyway. I tried to run them off to their pond today, and as I approched the water, the crows started to freak out and I spotted the reason for their excitement while it floated off. A hawk. I saw him a few days ago around the same spot and have so for years now. A periodic visitor that has left my ducks alone, thusfar.
    These same ducks have been on that (one acre) pond for a long time. Yes, I lost some, but I have never had them camp out like this. So do I assume that I have a new set of predators? I live in the sticks. Literally. I know for sure that I have coons, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, hawks, owls, and possibly eagels. The ducks leave for the pond by evening and camp out on the water. What can I do? I want my porch back! But blocking the porch might turn them into sitting ducks? [​IMG]
    (They do not have a duck house, and I am planning on supplying that)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    5,583
    27
    241
    Jan 11, 2010
    Australia
    I think you may have answered your own question there already... Providing your ducks with a safe pen of their own away from the house is your best option- and will also help to protect them from predators at night as well.
     
  3. saxet

    saxet Chillin' With My Peeps

    140
    1
    99
    Jun 2, 2010
    TX
    You are right of course. The way to reclaim the porch is to provide a different shelter. What baffels me though, is the sudden move onto my porch. They have been out on that pond/lake for 4 years now, without problems. And now, all of a sudden, they are camping out. So do I suspect a new (daytime) predator? Could it be that hawk that has them worried? I see the ducks track to the water periodically, and the hawk makes no moves during their fairly long trek (100 yards from the proch to the water) How usual is it for hawks to go after ducks? (since I have most likely had no issues sofar, not having lost anything during the day) Should I 'look' underwater for their possible predator? No? Because they are still out there at night?
     
  4. ranit

    ranit Chillin' With My Peeps

    344
    6
    111
    Apr 14, 2010
    Illinois
    You might watch for a snapping turtle. Our ducks won't hardly go on the pond if we get a turtle in it.
     
  5. saxet

    saxet Chillin' With My Peeps

    140
    1
    99
    Jun 2, 2010
    TX
    Plenty of turles, I'm afraid. [​IMG] Sliders, mostly. How can I tell a slider from a snapping turle? (and what do I do about
    it?)
    I just went out to feed the flock. Only 2 on the porch, clearly waiting/looking for nr 3. I am not sure how close groups are supposed to get, but my 3 stick together like glue and mostly won't even go eat if one (the oldest and wisest) is missing. Nr 3 must have been laying, because she came up not long after I had gone out there.
    Anyway. I found some feathers on the porch. Normal if they would be roosting. But a lot more right next to the porch. I do still have a complete set of ducks, but how do I determine if one just escaped some attack at that spot, or if they are just molting? [​IMG] (some feathers seem to have some glue like substance at the shaft. Does that sound like something that would happen if the duck just groomed it's own feathers out?)
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  6. saxet

    saxet Chillin' With My Peeps

    140
    1
    99
    Jun 2, 2010
    TX
    [​IMG]
    Just heard some definate noise out there. The ducks were on the pond. As I look out, I see the drake running towards the house/porch. As I run out to the pond, one duck is already hiding under the picknick table. I hear upset quacking at the pond and run out to it (on my slippers) and thank goodness, whoever tried something failed, since duck nr 3 is still at the bank, but she is mad. She goes in the water when I approach and continues her call (for the rest?) The drake has joiner her by now. The other one still thinks the table is the safest spot.
    HELP! What do I look for, at broad daylight? Someone is trying go get my ducks. [​IMG] Whatever it is does not seem to mess with the huge bullfrogs. (still smaller than a duck though, right?)
     
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    It could be a raptor - either the hawk you see or another bird. Or a sneaky ground predator, but I think raptor cause the ducks are not seeking shelter on the pond.

    If they were mine, I would contain them on your deck where they are safe until you can build a predator proof area for them by the pond or incorporating the pond.


    We lived here for 5 peaceful years. My ducks lived in an open air, 5 foot tall run (40 x 30) and no one bothered them. Early this spring, one of the owls (last year's hatch maybe) decided my ducks were an open invite (which they were) and started snacking. Ducks have to be put in the coop at night now.




    Feathers with a glue like substance - at the base of the shaft - sounds like the are feathers that were pulled out. Maybe you have two predators?
     
  8. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    If they haven't been affected by the hawk before and the hawk is a regular resident I doubt they are running from the hawk...Eagles are more likely or a bobcat who has had a litter of kittens nearby...Its very possible. If one is hiding under a picnic table I'd be looking more at something that flies or swims (snapper), because if it was landbound predator they'd move to the middle of the pond to hid or all would rush up together. I have found that flying predators tend to scare chickens and ducks more and they scatter more than say a dog or something stirring them up on the ground.

    So...
    Eagle (or Hawk)
    Bobcat
    Snapper

    are my best thoughts on whats mucking around and getting the ducks stirred up.

    good luck, and I hope you get their shelter built soon to save them and your porch [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by