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Best Guesses on Predator?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by arrowti, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Jun 10, 2016
    arrowti

    arrowti Chillin' with the herd

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    We had something grab out pekin duck, Fatty, out of the enclosure yesterday. It either jumped the ~4 foot fence or went through the hot wire on the bordering pig pens... or went straight through the back woods where we previously had a wire but removed it to do some work.

    She was bitten twice, once around her neck, and again around her back. The puncture wound on her breast was deep enough that it went straight through into her thoracic cavity, and she was covered in blood clots from her heart. Death was inevitable, but I didn't notice how deep the front wound was until after.

    Now, whatever got her grabbed her from the enclosure and ran off into the woods with her. But for some reason, it didn't get far - Fatty was a big, heavy duck. Whatever grabbed her may have had trouble carrying her. She was also putting up a fight, judging by how the wounds had torn as though pulled on. A large dog, coyote, or bobcat would not have had trouble carrying her off though. So I'm leaning towards a fox or medium-sized dog. A small dog likely would not have been able to make such deep wounds in her breast, considering how big she was.

    I am beginning to doubt it was a fox, considering that we haven't heard anything (every time we've had a fox, we've heard their howls and calls in the woods), and the fact none of the chickens or roosters were concerned. Last fox we had, our rooster, Vanilla, lost it and ran after it. No alarm call from him or any sign of him having seen a predator. We had a dog in our yard last week that tried to make a grab for our meat birds, failed, and was chased off. We hadn't seen it since... it was medium-sized, and had a long muzzle.

    The ducks made alarm calls when they saw it last week - the roosters did not. We have a medium sized dog so they probably didn't see it as a threat, whereas ducks see everything new as a potential threat.

    I have heard barking in the woods out back, but we do have neighbors on the next road who had dogs so didn't think anything of it.

    We do have bobcats and lynx in Maine, but we've never had one in our property, and no sightings reported. I would think that a cat would have no trouble carrying off a duck. Whatever it was dropped her when it saw us and bolted, probably because it couldn't carry her. Just to clarify: it probably had her for 20 minutes before we found them. And it wasn't far into the woods, because we could still see her white feathers from the house.

    So that leaves medium/small dog, a fox, maybe a big cat, raccoon, skunk... major doubts on the last two. She was just so big.

    What do you guys think? Anyone had anything similar happen?

    If it is a dog, let's hope it doesn't belong to anyone. If it comes back when we're around it probably won't be going home again.
     
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  2. Jun 10, 2016
    cjc

    cjc Loving the herd life

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    As soon as I read that first paragraph my guess was a dog. Our dog killed a chicken awhile ago and it was killed with the same pattern of bites. Whatever killed it also didn't eat it so my beats are on a dog.

    When our dog kills things he always tends to go for the throat first. He eats rabbits, rats and whatever else he catches but he did not eat the chicken.
     
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  3. Jun 10, 2016
    maritown

    maritown Overrun with beasties

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    Agree on a dog. Have seen a lot of dogs bite chickens in similar ways, and dogs also often just kill and don't eat what they catch, particularly domesticated ones.
     
  4. Jun 10, 2016
    samssimonsays

    samssimonsays Milo & Me Hoppy Tail Acres

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    Raccoons do that as well....
     
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  5. Jun 10, 2016
    Alexz7272

    Alexz7272 Loving the herd life

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    I have also had similar wounds on my birds from raccoon. I am sorry for your loss
     
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  6. Jun 10, 2016
    arrowti

    arrowti Chillin' with the herd

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    I have never seen a raccoon in my life, but since they are common in Maine I didn't want to discount the possibility. Would a raccoon be strong enough to carry a 12-14 pound duck over the fence and into the woods?

    The ducks are very nervous around our dog (who has never gone after anything short of a rat or squirrel), and Opie is acting aggressive towards her, like she is a threat. I guess that's my answer. I hope whoever's dog this is is home and leashed - things happen and dogs run off, including ours (though she's never killed anyone's animals) - and does not return.
     
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  7. Jun 11, 2016
    Ponker

    Ponker Loving the herd life

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    From what you described, I think it might be a dog. We have a problem dog that visits the property. I caught him stalking our ducks and chickens and chased him off. (Our ducks and chickens free range.) I contacted the owners and after a few more visits and text messages to her and her husband, I started shooting whenever I saw him. They could hear the shots and would call for him afterward. I was shooting my target stump. I brought Prince home as a pup because of this issue. I have kept him separated from the house dogs. He has alerted several times at the edge of the pasture and I've seen the neighbor's dog loose again.

    Irresponsible dog owner cause the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2016
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    If any predator that had to kill to survive had your duck for 20 minutes, there wouldn't have been much more than feathers for you to find. While nothing you have said completely rules out a raccoon or fox, the fact that she was still alive when you found her (if just barely) seems to indicate something that either wasn't hungry, or possibly was still learning how to kill (momma fox and her kit, maybe?) So though I can't completely rule out a wild predator, I'm leaning toward a dog, too.
     
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