death in the family - duck

Death in the Family

Tragedy struck earlier this week – we lost a duck at Vidamour Farm. We both knew that it would happen at some stage, but it’s still a terrible feeling when it does finally happen.

Weather on the Mornington Peninsula has been particularly horrendous. Cold days and powerful winds have ravaged the region, and it was the latter that likely contributed to our first death.

When I arrived at around midday on Sunday the 26th of July, Mabel told me that the top of the coop had blown off during the night due to some of the strongest winds that they had ever had at the property.

The top of the coop had flipped up and squashed the electric fence – removing any protection that the ducks might have. When Eric and Mabel noticed that the top of the coop was off, they were able to put it back on and weigh it down with some timber and pavers.

Sadly they noticed that one of the ducks was dead in the field. The other nine seemed fine.

A photo posted by Heritage Farm (@heritagefarmau) on

The duck at the front of this image was the one taken. Gorgeous girl, and perhaps it was lucky the Red Hill Show winner wasn’t the unlucky duck!

When I arrived I went to inspect the duck, it had a large chunk of its back removed.

My assumption was that the predator must have been a land based animal. It’s the first time the electric fence has been ‘down’ and the first casualty we have suffered. Therefore, it seemed commonsense that it was land based.

However, I thought it was worth seeing what others thought. I’m a member of the Gippsland Poultry and Fertile Eggs group on Facebook, which has given me a great deal of information on raising and tending to the ducks.

I posted the image and detailed the facts around the curious case of the duck in the nighttime. Here are some of the responses:

My geese did the same thing to one of my ducks?? Do you have any bigger birds with them ..

Hawk?

Stray/feral dog or cat…..looks like playing became deadly serious.

Eagle did that to one of ours dropping it on take off after being disturbed by dog

I had one that had that all down her back but she was still alive. I went to grab something to put her and when l walked back 3 crows had her down and picking at her.

I have had numerous fox attacks in suburbia, and have come to understand that foxes will kill and take what they want, whether it be a particular bird or an entire flock.

I would say small dog. I had a small dog do that to a duck many years ago.

So it hasn’t left me with a better understanding of what may have killed the duck, unfortunately.

At the time I didn’t feel particularly sad about the situation, because I knew something had to go wrong some day (or maybe it was just shock that something had actually happened). Having 10 ducks meant that I was less attached to each duck – especially when compared to the two ducks I adore at our home. It was only after I sat down and reflected that I deeply felt sadness for the slain duck. After all, I had raised them from day-olds.

UPDATE

The following day, Mabel chased off a neighbour’s dog from the property. She has a strong suspicion that this was the culprit and I am inclined to agree.¬†Since having a chat with the neighbour, it has not been spotted on the property again (and all ducks are happy and healthy).


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