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Ducks are far more vulnerable and susceptible to attacks than their barnyard poultry companions, chickens. Have you heard of the phrase “sitting duck”? it originated because these meat and egg birds can not defend themselves against predators. Ducks are considered rabbits of the avian world in the food chain hierarchy.
These innocent birds are not sharp enough to cause any harm or flee away from the danger. The threat is even broader for ducklings, they can be consumed by anything larger than them, from bullfrogs to herons.
The vulnerability of duck eggs is imaginable and understandable given their tasty yolks and immobility.
Ducks belong to a large family of birds including geese and swan, commonly called waterfowl.
These birds are found all over the world residing near or around water bodies like ponds and lakes.
They are docile animals, unaware of any techniques of self-defense as ever since the domestication, they were protected by their owners.
Their unassuming nature and innocence make them vulnerable to the advances of more aggressive and ferocious animals.
Wondering what animals are nibbling away at your duck population? There are plenty of them who like to feast on this delicacy.
When given the opportunity, many animals would not shy away from eating these innocent birds.
- Snapping Turtles
The list of predators eating ducks, ducklings, and duck eggs is quite long due to the vulnerability and lack of self-defense skills.
It can be a meal for different creatures whenever possible.
Ducklings and duck eggs are more likely to get attacked, however, some predators do not hesitate from eating adult ducks.
They can only be protected by their owners from these duck-eating culprits.
Some of the key predators are given below that affect the duck and waterfowl population.
The first one on the list is the primary suspect of the duck predators. Foxes have been hunting and seeking out duck nests and chicken coops since the beginning of time.
Unlike some other predators, they hunt during the daylight and can be quite sly and quick.
Foxes want more than just the eggs, they creep in stealthy into the nests and prey on hens and ducks.
Fox is a difficult predator to catch and save ducks from as they move so quickly and silently that ducks and their owners mostly get to know when it is too late.
Jumbo duck breeds are difficult for a fox to attack but an adult fox can pull off such an attack without much difficulty.
These opportunists are often successful in hunting ducks unless the owner gets involved or some other things happen to force them to back off.
The commonly used term is “Chickenhawk” on most farms and homesteads. They are possibly one of the deadliest duck predators.
A hawk is not large or strong enough to get away with an adult, large duck breed but they shred their back with sharp talons and attempt to flee away from the crime scene with the victim.
A fully grown-up hawk can lift as much as about two-thirds of its body weight which can be approximately two to five pounds.
Ducklings, young ducks, and small-sized duck breeds are more vulnerable to attacks from these deadly birds.
It is illegal in most states to kill hawks which ties the hands of the owner as they are helpless against the laws.
The only way to save the flock is by employing a guardian who keeps a watch when ducks are free-ranging.
If it seems out of budget, cover the duck run with hardware cloth to keep the bird predators from coming inside the coop.
Many duck owners believe that coyotes are the public enemy of ducks and hens as they are easier to tackle and eat, given their size and abundance.
They actively seek out and raid nests for ducks, hens, ducklings, and eggs.
Coyotes can easily attack and kill large duck breeds.
There is no particular time as to when a coyote will attack as they can hunt from dusk to dawn.
A starving or rabid coyote will hunt anytime, even during the daylight hours.
These aggressive nest raiders get an edge because of their size and intelligence.
They can also manage to scare away foxes and other prominent duck-eating predators by marking their territory.
They are called “nuisance predators” who burrow into poultry and duck coop or run, so, trenching about one foot deep around the perimeter of the duck’s house can somewhat save them from these lethal attacks.
These are land-dwelling mammals and omnivores, so, their diet constitutes plants, small invertebrates, and vertebrates.
When observing their hunting patterns, the insatiable hunger of a raccoon often makes them hunt and raid duck’s nests.
They possess sharp teeth and claws and can subdue a duck with a powerful bite over the neck.
They are small duck predators who like to feast on the innards while leaving the rest of the birds.
Raccoons can eat ducklings too when given the opportunity but their consumption of eggs is far more detrimental and needs a special mention.
A raccoon will only attack a mature duck when it is extremely hungry.
It may have surprised you but these vile and sneaky rodents are one of the most dreaded predators on most homesteads and farms.
These fanciful, semi-aquatic mammals like to feast on ducklings and occasionally duck eggs.
They attack quickly without giving the poor bird any time to react.
Minks are capable of killing multiple birds and poultry in a single night.
Even though they kill several birds at a time, it is likely Minks will not eat all that they have killed.
They use their sharp, little claws to rip apart the neck flesh of the duck.
Minks need a small space to squeeze in, most probably a quarter.
Though they appear small, meek, and harmless, these terrible predators hunt ducks in the water targeting their necks.
The sharp claws sink deep into the neck or head of the duck to subdue them.
Once everything is under control, they proceed to drown the duck.
A corvid is a group of birds or family including crows, ravens, magpies, and other avian animals.
They are commonly referred to as crow family or black-feathered birds. It is a group of highly intelligent birds who like to hunt together.
Among all, crows are considered the top avian predators for ducks and waterfowl.
Over the last few years, ravens have emerged to be a significant threat to the ducks due to their gregarious nature.
Due to the high population, these birds constantly terrorize ducklings and raid duck nests from atop their high perch.
Their prime victims are ducklings and the Corvid family attacks them by impaling them with their beaks.
They often go for the most undefended option, duck eggs which they can get without putting up much fight.
Badgers are carnivores who like variety when it comes to food.
They eat a variety of animals from earthworms to birds, insects, and small mammals.
Badgers are difficult to stop because they burrow and hunt from underground.
They are quite intelligent and can hunt with several techniques.
Badgers have a liking for duck eggs.
They consider it a special treat and actively look for it.
Besides their favorite delicacy, Badgers will pounce on ducks and ducklings with their sharp claws and powerful limbs.
Once the prey is killed, Badgers like to eat their prey on the spot.
It is a large, freshwater turtle belonging to the Chelydridae family. They become quite aggressive when navigating on the land.
Snapping turtle got this name because of the powerful jaws resembling a bird’s beak.
Their powerful jaw is capable of subduing ducks with a tremendous biting force.
They usually attack when ducks are swimming as many careless waterfowl have found themselves in the attacking range during this time.
This predator is known to kill and eat adult ducks and ducklings.
Breaking the Fact What Do Ducks Eat in Winters?
Named and famed for its short bobtail, the bobcat is deadly and twice the size of domestic cats. These solitary animals like to stay within the established boundaries.
They see well in the night, so, bobcats likely hunt in twilight hours.
They can finish an entire duck in one sitting or take some away for future dining.
Bobcats hide behind covers, waiting for unsuspecting ducks to come close and attack them instantly and quickly.
They dig their sharp claws into the duck’s neck and then complete the hunt with a lethal bite.
Owls are one of the most active creative creatures in the darker hours and usually hunt during the night.
Like hawks and corvid, they swoop down to attack ducklings or steal their eggs.
It is not easier for owls to tackle large-sized ducks, so, they are mostly restricted to ducklings and eggs.
The great horned owl swoops in to take young ducks or fly away with their heads.
The list would be incomplete without mentioning one of the primary predators, human beings.
Many like to eat duck meat and it is considered a delicacy, so most individuals raise ducks to sell their meat for profit.
Besides the aforementioned predators, there are many other animals and birds that are guilty of killing ducks time and again.
Other predators include bullfrogs, gulls, snakes, cats, dogs, bears, weasels, opossum, skunks, herons, and many more.
The list of animals that prey on ducks is quite long while most of them mainly focus on ducklings and eggs, some of them take advantage of the opportunity and attack adult ducks as well. Not all animals hunt for food some like the thrill of the chase and the kill.