Monday, June 17, 2013

Lost 5 ducklings... New lesson learned :(

All 6 of Maggie's ducklings were out there this morning. As of this afternoon, there was one. I'm about 95% sure that the culprit was the local raven. It's huge, and "quorks" instead of cawing. Totally not a crow. I saw it go after a duckling last week, but the other birds chased it off. Figured that was the end of it. But, down to one duckling with no trace of the others, and no grass was flattened around the edges of the pen, so nothing climbed the fence and stole them. I don't see a hawk stealing off with 5 freakin ducklings. But I've observed a raven return several times within an hour to the same campsite to steal, each time, a piece of bread from a torn breadbag. So. I'm putting my money on that damn raven. It steals eggs too. $&@!  I took the last duckling from Maggie and slipped it in with Goldie. Hopefully Maggie decides to set another clutch.

Hard lesson learned: next batch of ducklings will go into a chicken tractor with momma for 3 weeks or however long til they reach a size that will deter the raven... If said raven is still around come the next hatch. Funny, it is the only raven I've seen in our area. Always alone.

9 comments:

Miriam said...

I'm so sorry to read this - what a loss. It's so hard to protect our flocks from predators if we want them to be pastured. We've had a raccoon in our neighbourhood the last couple of weeks (we lost 1 hen and our neighbours 3, in 3 separate incidents) and what has us flummoxed is that all the losses happened in the daytime. Argh!

Mary Woollard said...

So sorry to hear about your ducklings. :(

Paula said...

I'm so sorry Rae! that's a tough lesson to learn, and a huge heartbreak for everybody.

Michelle J said...

I just heard from a fellow farmer that they were having major problems with ravens stealing their turkey eggs. :(

I've lived in western Washington all my life and had never seen or heard a raven until 2 or 3 years ago, now suddenly they're everywhere. What the heck?

buddeshepherd said...

Some years ago we had a cornfield near a rookery. The ravens would go down the rows pulling up the corn and eating the seed.
Seemed to like GMO corn just as well as regular corn. They were too smart to be scared away. Just changed their habits so you couldn't see them.

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Oh, hell.

Sorry, lady. Nature likes to do this to us - just when we think we've got it under control.

Misty Meadows said...

Read on another blog she experienced the same mishap! Ravens pegged off two of her ducklings!!! I read that if you get one of those plastic great horned owls and make sure your change the position everyday, it will help to keep the ravens away. Ravens are extremely smart, so you have to move the owl everyday. Good luck, and sorry about the babies.

Karen B. @ Making Shift said...

Oh! I'm sorry you lost your ducklings. I've never heard of ravens preying on chickens/ducks but that totally makes sense. They are very intelligent birds.

kpannabecker and jpannabecker said...

It seems like everyone I know is losing chickens or ducks right now. I've lost 14 chickens. It's very frustrating. I have no idea what got them. We set up a camera and still haven't captured a picture of the predator.