Will our mystery predator stop us from free ranging our muscovies?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aislingchef, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. aislingchef

    aislingchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2014
    Hi all
    We have a nice fenced in area for our Muscovy family. There are 2 ducks, 1 drake and there were 9 2 month old ducklings but yesterday one vanished. Adjoining their fenced in area is a big run, also fenced, about 4 yards wide and 15 yards long that leads down to a good stream for them to swim in which they love. We are raising them to eat but we want to give them the happiest life possible. The other side of the stream is only fenced with stock fencing and there is a big forest there which most likely contains foxes, mink and pine martens. So last night the ducks wouldn't come home until near dark, my husband locked them in without counting them and only noticed that one was missing this morning. He looked all around and in the forest and there was no sign of any struggle. Our problem now is can we let them out again? Will the predator return? Would a fox have taken more than one or left a mess? Do we get a mink trap? We thought we had the fox thing down as we have a Rottweiler that leaves his scent everywhere so we haven't seen or heard any foxes since last summer. Also someone told me that they lost their chickens to mink so they installed a ferret which scared the mink off. ???
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Yes - generally speaking a predator will return until the all-you-can-eat buffet is empty. How does one "install" a ferret?
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Set up some live traps, and DO NOT relocate any predators that you catch. Also, confine your birds for a while, or you will loose many more... Mary
     
  4. aislingchef

    aislingchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Well she said she set up a big run around her coop area where the ferret could live and his scent scared away the mink!
     
  5. aislingchef

    aislingchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Mary we have confined them. Why do you say not to relocate the captured predator? The mink would have to be disposed of as they are an invasive species that do a lot of damage to the wildlife here and it's illegal to harm pine martens but I thought it would be ok to let the fox out..
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    There are a few reasons to not relocate your trapped predators. 1. If the animal has a disease like rabies, mange or distemper you could be spreading it to an area that is not currently infected with those diseases. 2. The animal that has been released is now in a new territory and will have to find food and water and possibly have to fight for those things with the animals that already live there. The fox that lives where another one is dumped will not welcome the new competitor to its territory. 3. You may be dumping your now trap-wise problem animal near someone else's flock.

    Personally, I would not use a ferret to get rid of mink since ferrets are in the same family and would kill your ducks if given a chance.
     
  7. aislingchef

    aislingchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks although I think we're in different worlds as we haven't got rabies or other people keeping anything other than sheep. Foxes are hunted here for fun as they are seen as a predator that can't be controlled easily. We let the ducks out today around 10am and chased them back in at 5pm. My worry is that I really want them to have a good life. So far so good; my reckoning is that something came by at dusk that one time they weren't put away. I suppose you can't really blame the foxes etc for doing what they do you just need to do what you can to shelter your flock. I haven't really looked into the ferret thing but in my head it kind of makes sense, so long as the ferrets aren't tormented and the chickens etc aren't freaked out
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Where are you located?

    I've read a story about folks using trained ferrets to hunt rabbits or gophers or something out in the wild in the preys tunnels...I think it was in the UK.
     
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  9. FarmgateTx

    FarmgateTx Out Of The Brooder

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    I have live traps that I use. I call the sheriff's department (my local animal control) and they will remove the animal. If it is a pet, they will post a picture on their site. I am not sure what they do with the other animals.
     
  10. aislingchef

    aislingchef Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2014
    Thanks guys we have let the ducks out for the last few days but locked them in early and have had no further losses. We really don't want to cage them in. Yes people do use ferrets to chase rabbits out of warrens into nets set at the mouths of the holes. Apparently a hundred years or so ago in the UK every estate would have its own warren and the bunnies would be hunted for food. That's well and good but I recon they'd eat all our vegetables in the meantime!
     

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