Two winters ago, the owl came every morning for his meal, a tasty duck, but only ate the crop and left the rest. Ducks are defenseless at best, which is why they have so many babies. They fall prey to many predators, including ariel ones like owls. But I do not want the owl to come to the farm. It is prohibited to destroy an owl, because they are becoming endangered, sot the only option is to protect the fowl by penning them in with a wire over the top. I could try to get a dog that is trained to keep ariel predators away, but would the dog also eat the birds at first?
I had to leave the farm today to drive to Edmonton to pick up a shower for the replacement of the one in the bed and breakfast house as a result of the flood. I called ahead to make sure they had the stock ready so I could basically just pick it up and leave since it was paid for by phone order. But it would not fit into the truck canopy no matter which way we tried, and so we took it out of the box and tried again. I had to be refunded for the 60 inch shower and purchase the 48 inch model instead so it would fit into the truck. They were not able to courier the item out due to the large size. So I was there for a longer time than I needed to be really.
I was concerned that one of the sheep or goats may need assistance, though I only had to help one first time mom with her large lamb this year. Thank goodness. There was nothing amiss on the farm when I returned 8 hours from departing, except a bunch of feathers in the sheep pen around the water bowl where the ducks like to hang out. Judging by the feathers it was a drake that was taken. I will have to mentally inventory the ducks tomorrow. The owl is back!
The only way to prevent this from happening is to lock the birds in a pen with a wire. They will no longer be able to forage through the grass and catch flies, which is part of why I keep them. The owl does not seem to prefer chickens, only the ducks and often the drakes. He does not usually eat the entire duck either, but this time the only part left was the trachea and some feathers. He may have carried it away.
A few years back the pot belly pigs were on the east side, which is the forest side and the piglets went missing, one at a time. There were claw marks on the boar and sow and I knew it was an owl that was after them then. I moved the pigs, but the piglets were all gone. The ravens got the next litter on the other side of the barn. The owl took one duck a day in the winter until I locked them up until 10 am every day, by which time he had gone to feed elsewhere and he did not come back. Then he was back once and did not return, but that time was 3 pm in broad daylight. I left at 10 am this morning so the attack was in broad daylight again. At the moment I do not have a way to lock the ducks up other than their winter coop. In the winter they do not mind because they are just eating and trying to stay warm, but now they want to be out roaming the field and eating the grass and bugs. I cannot blame them.
So, will it be no ducks? I don't know. I guess I will see what happens tomorrow and the next day. Got any ideas:?