Now we are three

Poor, traumatised Mrs Under-by now has only three of her eight ducklings left. Not too long after venturing out in the field, Kevin noticed that two were missing. We’re pretty certain that it was a certain bl**dy crow which has been hanging around since Polly Blue-tail’s youngsters arrived (You may remember that she lost two).
The following morning, Kevin found two dead ducklings. Had there been a kerfuffle between cousins/aunts, resulting in the wee mites getting trampled? Back out in the field and it wasn’t long before her fifth offspring was taken. Kevin went out to herd the rapidly diminishing family back into the garden. Mrs Under-by went straight into the guinea fowl coop, her ducklings with her via Kevin’s hat.

Mrs Under-by

Her choice of refuge wasn’t great however, as I doubt that she would have let the guineas to bed! So, further trauma when Kevin picked her up and I popped the threesome into MY hat, transporting them all back to the duck-house. I’d already been in there to separate the two sides with an anti-kerfuffle barrier and she’s stayed there ever since. I built a small enclosure outside the house but so far she’s taking no chances.

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8 Responses to “Now we are three”

  1. leo murray Says:

    Ouch! My money is on crow attack, panic, and lost cold ducklings???? Sad to say l fear you may , only may, be in for more of similar… They are smart. Very. And learn fast re food sources. Only humane effective solution I have experience of is find crow nest site and destroy with help of man with a shotgun! They flit often taking nest bits away and start again. Obviously this only truly humane if no crowlets. I “fed” one particular crow for a whole season … Hope peace and maternal calm soon return… Gaye M.

    • garybuie01 Says:

      3 or 4 years ago I’d hung fat balls out for the wee birds and the crows soon found them and nicked ’em! End of fat balls! However, come the spring, they still regarded the garden as a fast food joint only this time, ducklings were on the menu and we lost several. We bought a crow trap, from which they escaped, and strung the trees with red and white tape which ‘cracked’ in the wind and scared them off. It looked like a crime scene – which I guess it was! The following couple of years we had no trouble and last year we lost not one of our 42 ducklings to the crows. At the moment, the grass in the field behind is still short and I think that rather than the ducklings panicking and getting lost, the crows are just flying down and plucking the wee birds away from mum, just as they apparently did in the garden those years ago. When Polly Blue-tail took her youngsters out in the field for the first time, we watched a crow bouncing along on the ground behind her. She turned and put up a good fight and at that stage the wee ones just crowded under her – untouchable. It was 2 or 3 days later when they were more adventurous, moving away from mum more, when she lost her two. She stayed in the garden for some time after that and the ducklings are now to chunky for a fly-by dinner! We’ve got ‘decorative’ tape up once more and plastic carrier bags tied to canes outside the garden fence, a trick learned from the crofters at lambing time. We can only keep our fingers crossed Gaye.
      Christine

  2. Sarah the Gardener Says:

    Hi Christine. We ‘lost’ a day old chick not so long ago. The chicken only hatched one and then it mysteriously disappeared. It was so disconcerting. Had we known it was at risk I would have scooped it up in my hat too! I hope all the rest grow big and strong.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Oh I really hate to lose any young birds when they’ve battled out of their egg and mum’s pleased with her efforts! Hope your hen manages to raise another family at some point Sarah.
      Christine

  3. kathryningrid Says:

    Thank goodness she has *you* two to help her keep her tiny family intact now. Such drama! Crows are definitely canny and clever and rapacious when they get the chance; despite my admiration for them and a certain sense of affinity with their more humorous hijinks, I do hate to see them snatch up others’ little ones for dinner.

    • garybuie01 Says:

      At least Mrs Under-by is keeping close of her own volition at the moment, so fingers crossed! The wee ones should be too big to lift off the ground soon.
      Christine

  4. unrepentantidealist Says:

    Ooo! Sorry to hear that! Was that the one in the guinea fowl nest?

    • garybuie01 Says:

      That’s the one! I think that’s why she headed back in there after her last losses, she seems to like the guineas!
      Christine

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