Two Ducks Down

This morning we found our last magpie Muscovy girl dead on the plot (the other two having been eaten by foxes following persistent flying episodes despite heavily cut wings). She didn’t have a mark on her but a little bit of blood on her feathers. She was still within the electric fence area. Also dead was Denise, our last female runner duck. She was at the back of one of the shelters and had an enormous neck injury, like something had taken a big bite out of her. This too was all within the electric fence. There were a few feathers on the ground next to the Muscovy, both white ones and Denise’s brown ones.

The original 3 muscovies were in with the geese (who we’ve separated off for the breeding season). Linford, the male runner was fine, all the chickens were fine and there was no sign of struggle in the chicken house. The bunnies were also fine. The electric fence is working and there are no apparent holes or breaches.

We are stumped at what has happened. It’s like one of those lateral thinking riddles. Did they kill each other? Was it a weasel or similar? Crow? Someone’s dog who got in and out? All very odd. I think we’ll never know, which is really frustrating. And now Linford is by himself which is a pain and a bit sad really. He’s outlived both of his clutch mates.

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4 responses to “Two Ducks Down

  • Sean

    Sorry to hear you lost the girls. Sounds like mink to me, especially if you have a stream nearby. Unfortunately there are no natural predators for mink so trapping and humane disposal may be necessary before they get established, breed, and take all of your young livestock when hatched. Foxes can also jump up to 6ft over a fence. Try scattering human male hair around the perimeter, along with the urine of human males, and stick the spike style solar lights available from pound type shops in pairs so that they resemble eyes.
    Hope you manage to solve the mystery.
    Best wishes,
    Sean.

  • RJ

    Hi Sean, yes, we eventually narrowed it down to mink or a particularly nimble and adventurous cat, the former being the favorite given we are bordered by a river. Touch wood though, nothing has happened since and we haven’t caught anything on the motion camera yet. I guess it’s possible if it was mink it was just passing through? Good tips though, thanks very much – we hadn’t actually come up with anything useful to deter them other than getting a trap. Just frustrating when it’s not obvious what’s happened!

  • Auntie Sandra

    Hi Both,
    What a shame, we had mink once in our chicken house, they pulled some of their legs off, and the birds were still alive……..horrible.
    We acquired some flashing road work lights and they wrorked with the foxes for a while. I thnk you have to keep changing strategies as they are smarter than us.
    Nick and I went to the World of Water Sunday, and staring into one of their ponds I saw a new born lambs head on the bottom! Got the manager out with a net but he couldnt find any other traces, how do these things happen?
    Sandra

    • ZH

      Hi Auntie Sandra. Yes, I remember that incident scaring my childhood memories! We’ve not had any more incidents touch wood, so if it was a mink either it was just passing through or it decided our fare wasn’t tasty enough…
      As for the lamb head in the pond, we were on a lovely serene canal boat trip the other weekend and sailed past a floating dead lamb 😦 They get everywhere it seems.
      x

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