Canterbury bird lover searches for answers after attacks on her prized ducks

A Canterbury woman is worried about the safety of her award-winning muscovy ducks following a violent attack against her prized births. 

Three of the ducks have been shot, with another 40 vanishing from her farm. 

Self-proclaimed "crazy bird lady" Karena Hitchcock is devastated. 

"To me they're my babies, I don't have a family, they are my family... they're my children," Hitchcock told Newshub.

Hitchcock has cared for her flock of rescued show birds for 15 years without an issue - but on New Year's Eve, she made a grisly discovery.

A goose and two of her muscovy ducks had been shot.

On New Year's Day, she returned home from work to find up to 40 more muscovy ducks had vanished. She believes they were stolen.

"Does someone have a vendetta against me? Whoever did it knew they wanted a meat bird... they haven't attacked any other species [on her farm]."

Muscovies are large goose-like ducks, easily recognisable by their red facial markings. Hitchcock enters them in show bird competitions - but to some, the birds are sought-after for their meat.

"I've had people come knocking on my door off the street, wanting to buy muscovies specifically for meat," she explained.

Hitchcock says her muscovies are unable to fly long distances due to their large size.

She thinks that going to the police would be a waste of time.

"I would say that in somebody's freezer right now, which breaks my heart," Hitchcock said.

A section of the farm is already under surveillance, but now Hitchcock's planning to install additional cameras out of fear that more of her birds could be taken.

The birds are so special to Karena, she's given most of them a name.

"I was really scared that Dora had been taken as well, until I found her hiding a little secret," Hitchcock said. 

Dora's ducklings are a small silver lining to Hitchcock, as she starts to rebuild her flock.