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Country Discussion Topics
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Ducks on a pond and predators
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Lynn Kasdorf - Leesburg,    Posted 07-27-2004 at 08:44:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
So, we bought this farm with a nice pond- probably 3/4 acre. A friend had a pair of Canadian geese, and 3 ducks that he rescued, and he gave them to us for the pond.

I put them out on the pond Saturday night and by Monday morning, 3 were gone! I assume a fox or raccoon got them.

Alas, there was tall grass around the perimiter of the pond for predators to hide in. I have since bushhogged around the pond as close as I can get to the water, but there is still a swath of tall grass right along the water edge.

I'm happy to provide shelter for the water fowl, but I don't know what to build. I see ducks and geese on many ponds- I wonder what they do (I plan to ask). Do you need to train the ducks to go into a coop that you close up at night (like we do with chickens)? I'd really like to come up with a situation that does not require daily actions like that on our part.

We'd really like to have some water fowl take up residence on our pond. What can we do to keep that from being a food source for local predators?

Texas Al    Posted 07-27-2004 at 21:41:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
The wife bought 3 ducklings at tractor supply. We raised them in the shop building, and in the meantime I built a duck house. It has screened in sides and plywood flaps that can be battened down in cold weather.

I put the duck house on the bank of my 1.5 acre pond and we managed to make the ducks understand that they could eat duckfood in there at night. So they waddled in there almost every night, and we let them out every morning.

One night we went to the State Fair in Dallas and got home at 11PM. We found one of the ducks was gone, apparently carried off by some predator.

The other two ducks continued to waddle into the duck house until one night they decided they didn't want to go in. Next morning, we have only one duck.

This duck fretted and we felt sorry so went to a flea market and bought a grown duck that looked like the one that disappeared. Apparently you can't teach an old duck new tricks, because we could never get him to go in. He lasted 2 weeks staying out at night, and he was gone.

Now we have the one duck, about 16 months old. Except on rare occasions she goes in at night. In fact, she comes to the garage quacking, wanting to go in. She follows the Kawasaki mule we drive out to the pond to put in the food and water.

She is fun to watch and lays an egg almost every night.

The biggest problem is that we can't go anywhere without feeling that its cruel to have trained the duck to go in at night, and then to not show up. The duck would stand there looking for us, and get eaten. So we have to find a duck sitter when we go anywhere. This is kind of a pain.

Lynn Kasdorf - Leesburg,    Posted 07-28-2004 at 10:15:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks- this is exactly the sort of comment I'm looking for.

I think I'll investigate the man-made island approach and try to train new ducklings to eat and sleep out there.

We are not dog people (I know, how can you have a farm without a dog?), and I'd like to not add another daily responsibility.

Thanks for the info.

Rhonda S.    Posted 07-27-2004 at 13:28:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We have ducks and geese in our pond and we live in the edge of the Shawnee National Forest. There are many, many varmits around but our weapon of choice is a good dog. We have two of them and they earn thier keep. My husband also has live traps that he occasionally sets and catches varmits and relocates them.

Red Dave    Posted 07-27-2004 at 11:50:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't know if you have them, but around here, a snapping turtle will "snap-up" small ducklings.

JDK    Posted 07-27-2004 at 08:56:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Any evidence of predation?Could they have left on their own?A sickle bar mower with the bar supported would allow you to cut 6-7 feet outboard the tractor width.An "island" would give them a safe haven from most predators.

Lynn Kasdorf - Leesburg,    Posted 07-27-2004 at 09:01:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yup- I'm keeping my eyes open for a 3 point sickle mower. And I've been thinking about trying to fashion some sort of island. I'm not real keen on piling in enough soil to make an island, but have considered some sort of floating structure that I would anchor out in the middle.

deadcarp    Posted 07-27-2004 at 10:47:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've seen some neat pond islands made outa plastic barrels trapped in an inverted railing. (We have a floating dock on 24 of them. It's just anchored with old well pipe at both ends) That way you can pile dirt on it, let grasses grow, whoever wants to can sleep there and as long as you can find a cable, reel it back to shore for periodic service. :)

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