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Ducklings probably getting eaten by rats

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I'm trying to raise muscovies, and one struggle I'm having lately is that every morning a few more ducklings are missing. We believe they are getting eaten by rats, as there is a rat presence in the enclosure. Do you think that if we made raised areas for the muscovies to nest we'd have better luck? If so, what would be an ideal design for these raised nesting areas?

There's a household debate going that raised nesting areas will lead to "fallen" ducklings instead of "eaten" ducklings.
Thanks for your time!
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Location: Eastern Massachusetts
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Hi Eve,
That sounds like a really terrible way for those poor muscovies to go, my condolences. My thought is that you would be better off elevating them in the morning, however my primary thought would be to somehow remove the "rat presence". I feel like every response I post lately is advocating animals... course I do love animals.

I had a lot of questions about the exact situation the ducks are in. Like what is the enclosure like, where and how big? How do you know there is a rat presence? Do you have any household pets already? Is it possible to place traps for the rats outside of the enclosure?

I would say, get some sort of farm terrier if you can, they eat all kinds of rodents and would probably have great fun protecting those little muscovies.

I think barring the answers to those questions and assuming a terrier isn't an option you would be a lot better off trying the elevated nests than allowing them to be rat food.

Good luck,

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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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If there is access from the top, a hawk or crow can get a daily habit of going for a snack. Last time I lost one a day for 2 days and after putting a top on I had a hawk perched out there waiting for the buffet to open...
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Eve Green wrote:Hello,
...every morning a few more ducklings are missing. ...there is a rat presence in the enclosure.

I would say that the first order of business would be to eliminate the rat nest inside the enclosure. The way it now stands, you are raising a healthy colony of rats, not muscovies.

The rats, being quite athletic, will have no difficulty climbing up to an elevated platform for dinner. Until you can control the rat problem, I don't see how you could expect to raise ducklings.

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Rat 'kill traps', where the...death part...is inside a narrow tube, are a very effective control.
I'd try it outside the pen first.
I can't envision a muscovy duckling squeezing into the tube-
they are very narrow, and in my experience ducklings aren't particularly adventurous.
Same with adult ducks, but maybe I've only met timid ones...
If it was inside the pen, I wouldn't risk having the trap at ground-level.
I'd jprobably put it on a piece of wood, say 4inches plus off the ground.
A rat would easily climb up.
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