Hooters Hall

Duck Disaster

This week the remaining three ducklings were busy getting on with life, whizzing round the pond and even on occasion diving as well as enjoying a regular afternoon nap on the duck island. The parent adult ducks seemed to have settled into a routine with them as well and the other female was conscientiously sitting on her eggs.

Then in the early hours of Friday morning disaster struck.

The duck pond and house are right by our bedroom window and we were woken up by loud quacking about 1am. We couldn’t see anything outside but two of the adult ducks were on the pond and refused to come back to shore. The next morning we discovered one of the adult females, all the eggs she was sitting on and all of the ducklings were missing. The remaining drake and duck seemed fine, if a little wary and they were still keen to stay on the pond.

I did try and persuade myself that Auntie duck had taken the ducklings away for a wander but there’s been no sign of them. I think it’s much more likely that Mr Fox has paid a visit. There was no sign of any blood or feathers but I can’t think what else could have happened to them.

Since that night the remaining ducks have stuck to sleeping on the pond and they’re still with us so hopefully Mr Fox won’t be taking anymore of our ducks. This is the first time we’ve lost birds to a fox despite having free ranging ducks and geese for the past year so I think we’ve been quite lucky. The chickens are surrounded by electrified poultry netting but don’t seem to have been paid a visit by Mr Fox. We could try and rig up some electric wire or netting around the area where the ducks are but I’d rather try and encourage  them to keep sleeping on duck island which seems to be out of the reach of the fox.

So for now we just have the two ducks but they bred successfully this year so hopefully they will do the same next year and learn to outfox the fox.

There is a lot of advice and information online about tactics to get rid of foxes. However, having done a fair amount of research I think it comes down to three approaches. Firstly you can just accept that with free ranging birds you will lose a certain number to predators. Secondly  the use of physical barriers; either very high fences that are also sunk into the ground or electric fencing and thirdly shooting the fox. Some advocate such measures as urinating around the perimeter of your land or getting a dog and whilst this might work for a short while foxes are wily and persistent and if they have cubs to feed they will take risks.

Annoyed as I am about the loss of our duck and ducklings the fox is just doing what foxes do.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply