Cannibalistic Ducks

Cannibalistic terror in the world of ducks:

El Paso Herald - Aug 18, 1926

A quick google search reveals that cannibalism is a "vice" that ducks are known to sometimes develop. As noted on an Australian government website about the brooding and rearing of ducks:

Although cannibalism can begin in ducks of any age, ducklings over 4 weeks old are more prone to develop this vice. The underlying reasons for birds turning to cannibalism are not known, but it is associated with boredom and is aggravated by:
lack of ventilation
faulty nutrition.

The only known way to stop it is to remove the rim at the front of the bird’s upper bill. Commercial beak-trimming machines are available. They have heated cauterising blades and run on electricity or butane gas. Beak trimming should be performed only by a competent operator and only when it is essential to reduce damage and suffering in the flock.
     Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 19, 2015
     Category: Animals | 1920s

It says corn fed, so why not feed them some meat? Supplementing their diet may have stopped the behavior.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/19/15 at 10:12 AM
Generally Ma Nature is involved in cases of seemingly aberrant behaviour that we just don't understand. But.. occasionally it's just a duck the critter has just gone bonk-oh!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/19/15 at 11:12 PM
Boy, that's ducked up. Maybe I'll take some hamburger the next time we go to the park. Those ducks are always in attack mode.
We had a hamster that started eating her babies. Another mother hamster took them in and they survived.
Posted by GFinKS on 12/21/15 at 01:58 PM
A hamster will kill it's young if/when she feel threatened but for another one to take them in? That's new. You sure the other one didn't just have her own litter while you weren't looking?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/22/15 at 01:15 AM
@Expaat47 - The other mother did just have another litter around the same time. maybe she just thought the little hairless ones were hers also.
Posted by GFinKS on 12/23/15 at 03:13 PM
I'm not surprised. Ducks are nasty b*ggers. Chickens, too - and those certainly are omnivorous, if they get the chance.
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/24/15 at 12:49 PM
I used to feed the chickens at a neighbor's farm when I was in high school and you are quite correct about them. They will pick a weak one to death. I did not realize ducks were that way though. Shh, nobody tell my daughter, she has loved ducks since she was little, it'd break her heart. She thinks they are sweet tempered.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/24/15 at 06:50 PM
Don't websearch "duck rape" if you want to keep that image of nice, fluffy water birds.

Yes, that's "rape". And used in the complete meaning of that word.
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/26/15 at 12:32 PM
A friend of mine's mother-in-law kept chickens and ducks in the same pen. The ducks used the chickens for sexual gratification almost daily most likely because the hen ducks weren't putting out and were big enough to keep them at bay.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/26/15 at 12:41 PM
And yet PETA never speaks of animal on animal crime!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/26/15 at 12:56 PM
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