What's getting the ducklings?

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What's getting the ducklings?

Postby EeyoreBlue » 10 Aug 2015, 13:46

Hi All

My neighbour has ducks, Muscovy, Mallard and white ones (with pompoms on their heads). Two of the Mallards, and the Muscovy have both hatched broods this year, but something is taking the ducklings. It's a farm so initially we blamed rats at night, but the duckings are going missing during the day, so we're now not convinced it is rats. Also, it's not just happening around the pond, but wherever the ducks roam. They're not being run over, or drowning or anything like that, but something is happening to them. One has gone from 11 to 4, one from 8 to 2, and the Muscovey which only hatched about 10 days ago has gone from 11 to 3.

Any ideas what it can be, and if so, what we can do to stop it? The ducks have barrels and a pen, but are "free roaming" during the day, and now at night too, as someone told my neighbour they were better out at night as they could go on the pond to escape predators.

We have no foxes in the area (Shooting estate) as the local Gamekeeper makes sure of that!

Any help greatly appreciated!
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby Fast Farmer » 10 Aug 2015, 14:39

Could be Heron, other possibles are rats as mentioned, Stoat/Polecat/Mink..........or bird of prey.
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby EeyoreBlue » 10 Aug 2015, 14:47

Thank you for your response. I think the most frustrating thing is, that because no-one sees why the ducklings go, it's difficult to stop whatever preditor it is. If it was birds, either Heron, Birds of Prey or whatever, then it would be possible to put the duck & ducklings in enclosed pens. If it was rats, they could be trapped/poisoned (there is already poison down but too much other good food around for them to tak it). There are no mink in the area, but stoats and weasels have been seen, so that's a possibility. What can be done about the latter problem?
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby Fast Farmer » 10 Aug 2015, 15:21

Your neighbour would have to decide whether to trap them alive or in a trap that kills them. If it was mink it is against the law to release them alive after trapping, stoats and weasels you have the choice........neither are protected in the UK.

I dont suppose the pond is large enough to have pike.......or?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=stoat ... 40&bih=602
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby EeyoreBlue » 10 Aug 2015, 15:55

Hello

Thank you for that - no, definintely not big enough for Pike!

I'll have a word and see what he wants to do (or rather what he wants his gamekeeper to do).
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby drfish » 10 Aug 2015, 17:01

Rats can be brazen little shi** when they get used to their surroundings. However, I'd expect mother duck to at least put a fight up if it was rats. Same with any terrestrial predator really. There would be a lot of commotion, and ducks are far from quiet when predators are around. I'd suggest an aerial threat to be honest, sparrowhawk, buzzards, even crows could be partial to a duckling. I presume there's little evidence of attack? Again, that would suggest whatever it is takes them immediately. Stoats, rats, minx etc would all kill before taking them away.

Could it possibly be a sneaky cat hanging around?

Is it possible to set up CCTV that just records constantly? Cheap kits can be had for around £30 these days.
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Re: What's getting the ducklings?

Postby Fast Farmer » 11 Aug 2015, 01:31

Dont think I'd rule out Squirrels either, they take chicks so why not a young duckling !
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