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Even more that’s less

The other night “something” got into my duck pens. I haven’t had any creature bother my ducks for about 3 years. After the big Blue Swede Massacre of ‘Aught Eight the predators all went home satisfied? Things got kind of slack out there. I figure the creature was teaching me a lesson. The day this happened, I dismantled my predator-proof pen because I couldn’t reach the eggs the ducks were laying in the back…. I used the panels to make duckling-proof fence.

Apparently I was woken up by the hulabaloo when “it” took one duck, though I didn’t know it yet. I let all the dogs out because Joe was vigorously pacing back & forth…the sign that he really has to go out…that or the garage is on fire (really). I then went back to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, there was an unmistakeable hulaballoo from the ducks. The rancid sneaky little creature was actually out there in the pen while I was letting the dogs in. I rushed around trying to find my pants. By the time I got out there, another duck was gone. Clean gone. I never found a sign of either. I just count 2 ducks less. No feathers laying around from a struggle, chase, or being carried off over the fence. Nothing.

I faced a midnight dilemma…standing there in the dark with my flashlight & galoshes in the middle of my soggy duck pens. The runner duck hen was on her nest OUTSIDE any available protection. Do I lock up the duck or hope the thing was done for the night? I locked up all the ducks. Damn it. There goes the rest of the eggs from overnight chill.

The results in the light of morning: one duck hen gone from each pen; one duckling on the wrong side of the duckling-proof fence (???); every single Runner egg/baby gone in it’s entirety (not just from cold, the creature took them) – all but one, laying the the center of the nest (do predators say “nayh-nayh-nayh-na-na?). This is the only evidence of fowl-play (bah doom)…..just the missing things. I found a freshly dug hole dug under the 6ft privacy fence that runs along the back of our yard into our garden. The creature dug a hole, climbed the duck fence and made off, repeatedly, with my ducks.

Now that the horse is gone….I’ve got the barn door firmly shut.

P.S. Last night I heard another hulabaloo… fortunately it was before bed, this time. I went out and could see nothing. I stood out there for a few minutes shining my flashlight all over the yard. I eventually found eyes glinting back at me…from near the freshly-blocked hole dug under the fence. It didn’t move. Was I really seeing an animal? It kept not moving. It was small. I kept the flashlight glinting off it’s eyes as I backed for the garden gate to get closer. It whisped, utterly silent, up into the air just like the ember from a campfire, and gone. False alarm. The only solution that comes to mind is screech owl. I don’t think that’s what took adults ducks and whole eggs, but I’m glad the ducklings were locked up.

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