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Fox or cat?

(12 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by campbell ridge
  • Latest reply from duskhunter

  1. campbell ridge
    Administrator

    Lost another duck this morning, her head taken off this time. Hubby found her in the ditch beyond the garden very near to where we found Gordon. He saw a cat running away up the field - would a cat do that? Footprints could have been cat or fox.
    They will have to be locked up all day now after being free range for 4-5 years :(

    Sarah L
    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. duskhunter
    Member

    That's so sad Sarah, gives you a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. I think it would have to be an unusual cat that would bother with a duck. It could have been that the cat was investigating the death, was the duck still warm when found?

    I know when Henrietta our goose was found she had no mess of feathers around her but her head and neck was completely gone and lots of people have told us it was a mink. Was the head still there or gone altogether?

    I wonder if there is information on the type of killing of each predator on the net, could it have been a rat? Katy has had them kill her birds through the wire netting!

    I am thinking of installing cctv to watch the birds this spring it does make you wish you had some clues so as to know how to deal with the problem rather than enclosing them when they have been used to being free range, so sad, I'm so sorry.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. duskhunter
    Member

    Sarah found this link which although american is very useful. The comment at the very bottom suggests owls too. Though having just checked this out it is owls bigger than we get. There is a little video of it on utube where they used a dead duck as bait to see what was getting their poultry and of course this is at night and yours was in the day time.
    http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001tCk

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. campbell ridge
    Administrator

    Thanks. I am sure it was a fox as she had been lifted over a 3 foot fence and moved at least 20ft away. I think the cat as you say was checking out the scene. The head was missing however, but we have not seen or heard of mink anywhere around here, although of course can't rule it out. There are no owls in UK capable of taking a duck.
    She was still warm as my husband saw the ducks flapping away across the garden running from whatever it was, he was on the scene within minutes.

    Sarah L
    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. duskhunter
    Member

    We have no mink here for miles around that I know of either but I have seen weasels in the past and they kill the same way.

    As you say if the duck was taken yards away it has to be something capable of doing that. When we moved here we found chickens heads in our garden and the fox had been at next door's chickens, or they thought it was fox. The farmer's wife on the hillside said she used to keep ducks but saw the fox come around 10am to take one.

    The person that rehomed her unwanted drakes with us said that the buzzard got the rest of her female ducks but we have them here and they don't cause us any trouble though I have to say we had a drake disappear with no trace once never what happened to him.

    We have barn and tawny owls here and as you say they are not big enough to take ducks they never give us any trouble.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. Wolfyhybrid
    Member

    Not a cat, they will not attack anything bigger than itself. Fox should have taken the whole bird away where it would eat the whole bird. I reckon a weasel or large rat.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. Katydid
    Member

    Sarah,
    Were there any other marks on the body anywhere? Neck? back end?

    I agree with the others def not a cat, If it took it over a fence it's something big enough to lift so not a rat, also they eat the flesh off the head (sorry to be graphic). A fox sounds most likely except they usually take them away to eat not stop to consume there.
    In fact on a couple of ocasions when a fox has been disturbed taking one of our chickens (before electric netting) the fox has dropped the hen and it's been absolutely fine.

    Weasels eat only the head but wouldn't have moved it so the most likely is a mink. Are you near running water? a stream or river? If so a mink may have found it's way to you in which case it will have to be distroyed.

    Good luck
    Katy.

    No holidays, too many birds.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. Mama
    Member

    Shocking news Sarah and so sad to hear this .Think Katy maybe right as given you weather a fox would have been starving hungry and woundn't have left it behind ,so sorry you had this happen x

    Goose Girl
    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. campbell ridge
    Administrator

    We do have stoats as well as weasels so I guess it could be a stoat (or fox). All has gone quiet again now. We keep them in a small safety pen til after 10 and now the snow and ice has gone they spend all day on the pond again so are much safer there anyhow.
    Thanks all.

    Sarah L
    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. campbell ridge
    Administrator

    Well unfortunately it was definitely a fox, and a very bold one which has struck again in broad daylight, taking a hen this time. He was not deterred by my husband being in the garden less than 10 feet from him and very determined to retrieve his kill. We chased it off several times throughout the day, another chicken was also missing and we searched high and low for her so presumed she had also been taken but she re-appeared after a few hours and needless to say everything has been locked away since. We have heard from a neighbour that town foxes often get released in the area - no doubt humanely rounded up and removed to the countryside - which just moves the problem onto someone else - us.
    We think its the same one that took Gordon last year and Mattie in January - both in daylight. The local game keeper is diligently on the case now, but the daylight hunter has not yet returned, only a night time one in its place..........

    Sarah L
    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. what a worry for you Sarah,

    mo x
    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. duskhunter
    Member

    Small comfort knowing who the predator is when it kills again Sarah, so sorry.

    Posted 4 years ago #

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