Ducks are charming backyard birds but can also be vulnerable to predators. One of the most common predators of ducks is the raccoon.
So, how do we protect ducks from raccoons?
Key Takeaways on How to Protect Duck Eggs, Ducklings and Adult Ducks From Raccoons
- Raccoons and other predators attack wild ducks and backyard ducks. These duck predators will also eat duck eggs and baby ducks.
- Raccoons will occasionally target a full-grown duck if they are hungry enough.
- Ducks should be secured in a sturdy coop or enclosure at night
- Use raccoon-proof latches on coops as raccoons are skilled at opening simple latches
- Prefer hardware cloth over chicken wire for fencing to prevent raccoons from reaching through or breaking it
- Clean up leftover feed to avoid attracting raccoons
Do Raccoons Eat Ducks?
Raccoons are notorious for preying on eggs and young animals so they won’t turn down an easy meal of duck eggs and ducklings if given the opportunity.
But can a raccoon kill an adult duck?
How Do Raccoons Kill Ducks?
Raccoons have dexterous and nimble fingers, allowing them to manipulate objects easily and have a faster attack mechanism. Due to their preference to hunt at night, they have evolved into seeing even in low-light conditions.
When a raccoon sets its sights on a duck, it will typically employ an aggressive hunting strategy, inflicting damage on the prey with its dexterous hands and sharp claws.
After carefully and quietly entering the ducks’ cage, the raccoon will first target the most defenseless duck. This helpless bird may appear ill or disabled, or it could simply be the youngest with less experience defending itself against predators.
Its strong jaws and razor-sharp teeth will quickly remove a large portion of skin from the neck or head of the unfortunate duck. This attack renders it defenseless and immobile. The dead duck is then dragged away by the raccoon so it can escape with its prize and consume it later.
Will Raccoons Steal Duck Eggs?
Raccoons are notorious egg thieves and have also been observed stealing duck eggs. The dexterity of their paws allows them to crack open eggs without breaking them, allowing them to infiltrate even well-guarded coops and nesting boxes easily. Once inside a duck’s nesting area, raccoons steal every egg, leaving the poor birds with nothing to care for.
How to Keep Your Ducks Safe From Raccoons
Ducks are at the bottom of the food chain and are often defenseless against an attack from their natural predators. Raccoons eat meat and they will target ducks and chickens. So, here’s how to keep your flock from raccoon attacks.
Do’s and Don’ts of How to Protect Ducks From Raccoons
Block Any Gaps and Holes in Your Duck Coop and Fence
Raccoons are smart and capable animals. They only need about four inches to squeeze through gaps and spaces. The raccoon’s hands can easily slip through small holes. So, you should inspect your duck house, coop, and fences for any holes.
Seal any openings in your coop or fence to deny raccoons access to your helpless ducks. Without preventing access to these areas, raccoons can easily injure or kill your ducks.
Install sturdy wire mesh around the base of your coop and over any fence gaps. Alternatively, you can fill any gaps between the ground and the coop fence with concrete or rocks to keep raccoons from climbing over.
Sealing potential entry points is an effective preventative measure for keeping other animals out.
Install a Fence With a Smaller Mesh
Installing a small-mesh fence around your duck or chicken run is one of the most effective ways to keep them safe while they enjoy the outdoors. These cunning predators are notorious for their ability to break into coops, and even a well-built enclosure can be breached if it is not properly secured.
However, you can effectively prevent raccoons from entering your duck pen by using a fencing material with a small mesh size. The tiny holes in the fencing material are too small for their paws or claws, so would-be thieves cannot access your feathered companions.
Attach Your Coop to the Ground
Raccoons are good diggers. Therefore, one of the best ways to protect your ducks from these intelligent predators is to secure your duck coop to the ground. You can achieve this by excavating deep post holes and attaching the coop with heavy steel cables or sturdy stakes.
Securing your coop below ground creates a formidable physical barrier that raccoons will have difficulty surmounting. This method adds extra protection and deters common predators such as dogs, wolves, snakes, foxes and coyotes and other small animals.
Only Let Your Ducks Out During the Day
You can reduce the risk of your ducks being attacked by limiting their outdoor time. By only releasing them during the day, when raccoons are inactive, you significantly reduce their chances of encountering these ferocious invaders.
Closing your enclosure and coop door with hook locks at night will prevent raccoons from sneaking in and stealing your cherished flock. Taking these simple precautions and safety measures, you can keep your ducks safe and secure with hooks locks while allowing ample space to roam and play.
Remove Eggs Regularly
When raising ducks, duck keepers must pay close attention to their flock’s nesting and breeding habits. If left unchecked, raccoons pose a significant threat to your ducks, consuming both young ducks and eggs.
By regularly removing eggs from the nest, you not only reduce the likelihood of egg loss due to predation, but you also reduce the likelihood of baby ducks falling victim to raccoon attacks. You can also use these eggs as a live trap to attract raccoons and relocate them.
Use Raccoon Repellents
Raccoon repellents are an effective tool for deterring these persistent creatures from your property. They come in various forms, such as sprays, granules, and electronic devices. Sprays and granules typically contain substances like capsaicin or predator urine that raccoons find unpleasant.
These repellents can be applied around the perimeter of your duck enclosure or in areas where raccoon activity has been noticed. Electronic repellents, on the other hand, use lights or ultrasonic noises to scare off raccoons.
It’s important to note that these repellents should be used as part of a comprehensive raccoon prevention plan and not as a standalone solution.
Clean Your Ducks’ Feeding Area Regularly
To prevent raccoons from attacking your ducks, you must regularly remove uneaten food and clean the feeding area. This routine will reduce the attraction of pests such as raccoons and protect the ducks’ health by minimizing their exposure to pathogens and contaminants in decaying food.
Keeping ducks away from dirty feeders and bowls can help prevent the spreading of diseases and parasites such as roundworms.
- Awareness of Predatory Nature: Recognize that raccoons are indeed predators of ducks. They can kill and eat ducks of any size, even full-grown ones, and are also known to steal duck eggs.
- Secure the Duck Enclosure: Ensure your duck coop is secure with no gaps or holes. Raccoons are clever and can widen small gaps to gain access. A solid wall or fence around the cage could help deter raccoons.
- Use Proper Locks: Raccoons have dexterous paws, so using more complex locks on your coop doors, like hook locks, can prevent raccoons from gaining access.
- Use Small Mesh Fencing: Utilize smaller mesh on your coop fence to prevent raccoons from reaching in and grabbing ducks or eggs. A mesh size of about 1/2 inch is recommended.
- Relocate Ducks and Eggs if Necessary: If raccoons persist, consider moving the ducks or their eggs to a new location away from the raccoons’ reach.
- Install Motion Activated Sprinklers: Motion activated sprinklers can startle and deter raccoons from approaching your duck area.
- Use Raccoon Repellents: Commercially available raccoon repellents can help keep raccoons at bay. However, remember to use them wisely and follow the instructions.
- Avoid Leaving Food Around: Clean up any food or scraps that may attract raccoons to your property.
- Invest in Professional Help: If your raccoon problem persists despite your efforts, it might be beneficial to hire a professional pest control service.