It was a sad morning at the farm when I went out to feed everyone and found only two ducks.
If you’ve been following our adventures in raising ducks for long, you know that we have really struggled with how to keep them safe. We made them a duck house and a secure pen to sleep in, but for the longest time they wouldn’t go in it. When it got dark they would go out into the middle of the pond and swim around out of reach. Then the pond froze solid for a few weeks, and finally we were able to get them in the pen.
We got into a routine. At dusk they would lay in the grass by their house. We would come down and walk slowly behind them, corralling them into their pen. It got to the point where sometimes we’d go out in the evening and they would already be in their house, snuggled up in the straw. It seemed like we had finally gotten the ducks situated in a home.
But then the pond melted.
For a day or two they still went into their home when it got dark, but that soon changed and they were back to their moonlit swimming. We tried to lure them out with food. We tried to wait until they came near the edge and corral them up onto shore. Nothing worked so we let them be.
That leads us to this morning. I went out to bring the ducks a bowl of food, as I usually do but there were only two. I looked all around for the third because sometimes you’d find one off on his own. That’s when I saw the feathers. Piles of white feathers up on the hillside behind the pond, leading back towards the woods. My heart sank.
I went up to inspect the scene. There were feathers all over the place but not much else. Whatever ate him, ate him all. I did find some of his bigger bones left, but other than feathers that was it.
We have two suspects: raccoons or coyotes. I am leaning towards coyotes based on how much of the body was gone but it’s hard to say for sure.
So now what? Obviously they aren’t safe out there on the pond. Anyone have any ideas on how to get them to come in at night? We are feeling desperate and helpless when it comes to those ducks! They are so much harder than chickens!