Dead duck CSI

acer(6b western NC)December 2, 2009

We lost our best Cayuga drake yesterday to some kind of animal. I'm trying to figure out what did it, and the following description is a bit gruesome, but maybe it'll help solve the mystery.

I keep the birds in a very secure coop at night and let them run within our fenced property during the day. We returned home at 2:00 in the afternoon to find our dog (who has always been very good with the ducks) standing over the dead bird. Of course it's easy to assume he did it, but the wounds don't seem to indicate a dog. The skin on the bird's throat was gone with his esophagus and muscles exposed, but not badly mangled. Same thing for the side of his head - feathers, skin, and eyeball missing, bone exposed, but no obvious teeth marks. There was another place on the side of his head around the beak - it's like he was skinned in a few places. I read that raccoons may do this, but would they attack in broad daylight with dogs nearby? The ducks spend a lot of time in a creek, in the woods.

Except for where he was "skinned", he didn't seem to be missing any feathers. I'd like to think this was a raccoon or mink rather than the dog, but has anyone lost a bird to wild animals in broad daylight? What would a dog-kill look like?


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Bird of prey, possibly a hawk

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 10:55PM
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Unfortunately I've had alot of experience with our dog killing drakes. I would shut the dog in the garage and let the poultry out to range. But DH let the dog out... and a couple other times it happened. The dog goes for the drakes, making me think it's an odor thing. The description of your drake is like what some of mine looked like. I would suspect the dog did it. Racoons are night creatures. Would the dog let another creature or other dog around his territory without putting up a fuss? I doubt a small animal would come close to where a dog is. Our dog wasn't a poultry killer until a little kid came to visit while I was gone, went into the poultry pen and started chasing all my geese and ducks. Dog got excited -- and has killed ever since. Now my poultry are sentenced to their pen because confining the dog doesn't work and I'm tired of dead drakes. Anyway, I don't think you should rule out the dog unless you see the other culprit in action.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 11:08PM
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Naomi Miller

I have had raccoon trouble in the past....only at night or at least dusk.... my chickens and ducks are locked up at night but once when we were a bit late locking them, we found a coon attacking a chicken who was late going to roost.... what he did to that bird was far more gruesome than anything you described.... I keep this article handy to help ID anything that causes a menace around below for link.... it pretty much sounds like your dog is guilty.... dogs usually hunt for sport and do not remove parts, just maul them... hope the article helps...

Here is a link that might be useful: predator ID

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 1:37AM
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Dogs mangle and maul, they dont skin thier prey. A bird of prey skins its prey unless it is small enough to swallow, which in this case it was not. Hawks , eagles, and falcons hunt during the day. Game as large as a Duck would be struck, killed with talons, leaving puctures, then skinned. Now before we hang the dog, figure he might have tried defending its masters territory and chased off said raptor.

Joshua Crissen
dba CSI Wildlife Control
Greene County IN

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 10:07AM
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I agree. I keep a flock of chickens, and one morning the man across the road from us, who had a big retriever he let roam came looking for me, to offer me money and an apology. Seems he found a dead roo with rigor mortis at his dog's feet and just assumed his animal attacked it.

Bless his heart, I'll give him a gold star for integrity.....but no way did his poor dog kill that roo. All it was to that dog was a football with feathers his instinct taught him to retrieve. I keep my flock penned or in their coop and if one did get out, the racoons usually get them straightaway.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 7:27PM
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