What kind of predator...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Meg Z, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    could take a full grown muscovy duck (not drake), with no struggle, then take it away...either up in the air, or over a four foot fence?

    Very few feathers in the kill zone...I've pulled out more just picking up a bird, so whatever got her was strong enough to have a killing first blow. Also strong enough to pick her up and carry her over the fence, without dragging her.

    No place for prints to show. This was broad daylight, but Abbey was about ten feet from the fence that runs by the woodline...well, that's where the kill zone is, anyway.

    This isn't eagle country, and a hawk wouldn't have been strong enough to lift her. We do have the big owls here, and they will hunt in the daytime, especially near or in woods, but I don't know about their strength. I figure a smaller animal like a possum or raccoon would have had a bit of a fight, and would have had to drag her, just because they're low to the ground.

    We don't have much of a coyote problem in this part of the country. We do have lots of fox, and I've seen bobcat here. No bigger cats that I know of.

    The same pasture has about 40 head of chickens running in it daily. The youngest ones can easily go through the field fence. We've never lost one. Abbey was the most camoflaged of all the poultry that runs there, as she was a brown duck, and the pasture is pretty brown right now :rolleyes:

    I'm trying to figure this out, as I have goats due to freshen at the end of May, and whatever took Abbey seems plenty strong enough to take a new kid.

    Your thoughts? Possible culprits, and prevention?
    Meg
     
  2. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

    Messages:
    5,783
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    North East Texas
    A bobcat's strength and agility may surprise you.....
    But, my first thought was canine. I have seen coy dogs go over fences like that. sometimes they take birds with no feathers, sometimes they make a mess.
    Hard to say.
     

  3. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    Around these parts I would say it would be a Great Horned Owl or a Coyote. They pick up and carry off without a mess. So will a Bobcat. We have cougars here but doubt they would bother with a duck in a yard. I mainly had problems with the owls back in the day. I had a pair nesting near by and they are endangered so I just let them be. I "fed" them a lot of chickens...whether I wanted to or not! They usually hung their prey up on a limb or on the fence and ate it. I would find the carcass remains the next day. Eventually they disappeared. I think my not-so-earth-friendly neighbors shot them. It made me sad really...I had plenty of chickens. More chickens than owls.
     
  4. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Buckfield, Maine
    We had a fox that would come into our yard, while we're sitting on the deck for a late afternoon break, and steal a Delaware rooster right in front of us. As many of you know, a Delaware rooster isn't exactly light and passive! That fox would make a mess with feathers all over the place, and then just turn and high tail it out of there with his prize in his mouth. As easy as he made snagging that rooster look and as quickly as he carried it away, I would imagine a duck, muscovey or otherwise would be no trouble for a hungry fox.
     
  5. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I'd bet on a fox,coyote,or feral dog since it happened in the daytime.
     
  6. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

    Messages:
    1,509
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    MISSOURI
    The resident rooster (not ours, belonged to the neighbor) was taken out last week -- lots of feathers shed, and whatever killed him chewed off his head and left the body. I'm stumped -- but am guessing a dog of some variety?
     
  7. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    A dog- certain small dogs that I have known have killed certain full size, rather expensive water birds. Luckily, there was very little evidence to clean up.

    Only I wouldn't know anything about that.
     
  8. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    Thanks for the food for thought, guys.

    I'm thinking the top possibility is a bobcat...or maybe an owl. When fox took my guineas at night, the fight was tremendous, and the kill zone was huge! Half the feathers from each bird, I swear! :no: . I'd say the strength behind the guinea wings and muscovy wings is similar...judging by how it feels to be smacked across the nose with them! So, I'm thinking a fox would have left more of a mess. And may not have been able to clear the fence with that much weight.

    Although folks around here (mostly the city folks) are always quick to blame any small animal loss on coyotes, I have never seen one here, nor have I heard one...and I can't find a single person in three counties that has! That doesn't mean they aren't here, but I'd like just a tiny bit of evidence of it...I used to love to hear them sing when we were out in west Texas. Feral dogs are possible, I guess, but none of the neighbors have ever had a problem with them. (We're the newest folks here)

    I guess I'll just keep doing my daily head counts, and keep my eyes open!

    Thanks, Meg
     
  9. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    266
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    IMO --- full grown geese are some of the BEST protectors of a yard. I also have some mutts that are 1/2 coonhound and 1/2 Lab. About all the rabbit, ground hog and coon problems have ended; coyotes ain't even thinking about it!
     
  10. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC

    Geese I have. Dogs have to wait until the property is completely fenced, so they aren't roadside decorations. <sigh> We'll get it all worked out.....
    Meg
     
  11. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

    Messages:
    1,642
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    Along the Stillaquamish, Washington
    I'd vote for bobcat, cougar or dog. Cougars will take anything available, especially if they have young to feed. Raccoons are a possibility, they can get quite large and more agile than they look.
     
  12. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Fox regularly kill full grown canada geese and carry them off. They can certainly take down a muscovy. As well the other predators mentioned.
     
  13. cutinpony

    cutinpony Active Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Location:
    N.E. Oklahoma
    Hawks have been seen around our place picking off fowl and large barn cats.
     
  14. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,332
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Location:
    Idaho
    Are you sure it didn't fly off to set a nest?
     
  15. jlxian

    jlxian Also known as Jean Supporter

    Messages:
    1,509
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    MISSOURI
    After we lost several outdoor cats, I finally started keeping ours indoors. I had heard that owls would take out cats, but didn't know hawks would too.

    And thank you Maura about suggesting it might have been a raccoon that killed the rooster. We recently found a large female that had been killed by a car, so no doubt there are others around.
     
  16. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,891
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Buckfield, Maine
    We raised pheasants in an enclosed pen because of all the predators in our area. We went out to feed one morning and we had about 5 headless pheasants in the pen. The others were all terrified, and piling onto one another.
    That night, DH and I stayed up and watched with shotguns and spotlight in hand. We didn't have to wait long. We heard a terrible racket and turned on the spotlight. 3 raccoons were working that cage together. One would scare all the birds to the other side of the cage while the other 2 popped their heads off.

    Those raccoons found out it was their last meal. We lost a LOT of money in pheasants in those 2 nights. :no:
     
  17. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    Now, that's one question I can answer!! She couldn't fly, so I can guarentee she didn't fly off! I also checked everywhere for a surprise nest. My small pasture areas are pretty open. There are some trees, but no brush because of the goats. I have places set up for the waterfowl to nest, but I did check every possible place, including crawling up under the feed room...(and did you know the wasps are building at this time of year? ) :rolleyes:


    Meg
     
  18. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    western NY
    Two nights ago we lost all 8 of our Magpie ducks!! All in one night.Never heard a thing.We have been in the window with the 22 for the past two nights now.Wed. night in comes a big gray fox.He sniffed around for a second and ran.Never got a shot at him.
    The night it happened he took all of them without a mess,just like you were saying.These were full grown ducks and two drakes.
    We will be in the window untill he is DEAD!!!!!!
    Our biggest concern is how he got in the pen and how he got out over a 4 1/2 foot chainlink fence.If a fox can climb a tree,then that is it.Now we need to cut the tree down or move the pen.The ducks love the shade in the summer.Either way,he has some lead headin his way!!!!!
     
  19. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,785
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    South of DFW,TX zone 8a
    Grey fox CAN climb trees!
    A friend of mine, a retired biologist with the Texas Park and Wildlife Service told me and even had pics to prove it.
    Ed
     
  20. kath2003

    kath2003 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    Location:
    western NY
    I guess the pen and house get moved!Can't cut down the cherry tree.I hope you get the predator Meg! :soap: