Foxes consider almost anything that’s smaller than they are prey including rats, mice, birds, and even squirrels. They also have a reputation for attacking chicken coops in both rural and urban areas.
But do foxes eat ducks?
The simple answer to this is yes, foxes do eat ducks. In fact, they make up quite a large part of their diet.
But why is this? Are they simply a favorite food, or is there another reason?
Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at why foxes hunt and eat ducks. We’ll also look at how you can keep any ducks safe from foxes. This is something that you’ll definitely need to know if you’re thinking about buying some for your backyard.
Why Do Foxes Eat Ducks?
First and foremost, foxes are omnivorous. This means that they eat a diet that contains both meat and plants. With this in mind, they need to hunt to keep themselves healthy and, ultimately, ensure their survival.
Foxes simply eat ducks for the same reason they eat other animals – it’s a way of staying alive.
Another reason why foxes might choose to eat ducks is that they are small enough to catch and kill in one swift movement.
They are also quite light, which means they are easier for the fox to carry back to its den when it will either eat it, store it for later, or feed it its cubs.
Finally, foxes eat ducks for the nutritional value that they have. They are an excellent source of protein which a fox needs to keep itself strong and healthy.
This is particularly true for pups and juvenile foxes who are still developing. They also have quite a high fat content, which is essential for surviving the winter.
Why Ducks Make Easy Prey For Foxes
One of the reasons why ducks make such a popular food choice for foxes is because they are relatively easy to catch. But why is this?
First of all, even though most ducks are able to fly, they can’t fly straight from the ground. Instead, they need to run for a stretch with their wings flapping before they’re able to get airborne.
If you’ve ever seen a duck trying to take off before, you’ll know exactly what this looks like.
This puts the fox at an advantage as it’s able to run much faster than a duck. So, as the duck runs away in order to get into the air for safety, it runs the risk of being caught by the fox.
In the wild, ducks also live in large groups. The law of probability comes into play here. With so many ducks to choose from, there is simply a higher chance of the fox being able to catch one.
Think of it like putting your hand into a full bag of chips. The more there are, the easier it is to grab one.
Finally, aside from their ability to fly, ducks don’t really have any form of defense against foxes. Other types of prey might be able to get away by biting or clawing at the fox.
Ducks do have sharp teeth, but foxes have learned to catch them by the neck, which means they have no way to bite them.
Do Foxes Kill Ducks For Fun?
There have been countless situations where a fox has gotten into a henhouse and killed every single chicken in there. The same can be said for ducks who, after being put to bed by their owners for the night, have been massacred by a fox.
In these instances, it may seem as though the fox is killing the ducks for fun. But this isn’t actually true. Foxes are incredibly opportunistic.
So, if they come across a large number of defenseless ducks, they will kill all of them with the intention of coming back at a later date to collect the rest. They’ll then store these in their dens to eat later.
This doesn’t happen in the wild as the ducks are out in the open and aren’t cooped up together with no means of escape. Instead, a fox will pick off a single duck as and when it needs it.
How To Protect Ducks From Foxes
If you own ducks, the best way of protecting them from a fox attack is by building them a secure shelter in which they can spend the night.
You can also keep them protected during the day by creating a run that is surrounded by poultry wire or electric fencing.
Remember, however, that foxes are clever and they may dig into the ground to get underneath your fencing. To stop this from happening, it’s a good idea to sink a foot or two of fencing into the ground itself.
You should also make sure that your duck’s night shelter is as secure as possible. Surround it with the same, deep fencing and make sure it’s kept locked until morning.
You can also place a baffle guard on the inside door which will stop a fox from being able to reach in and grab anything.
Unfortunately, foxes are probably the number one predator of ducks. In the wild, this helps to maintain a balanced ecosystem and eating ducks is essential for a fox’s survival.
However, if you keep ducks at home, follow the advice above in order to keep them as safe as possible.