Fisher Cat in central CT?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by wjreese, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. wjreese

    wjreese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2013
    Good afternoon fellow chicken lovers,

    We woke up this morning to a massacre in the chicken run. Partly my own fault as I completely forgot to close the coop door last night. I won't make that mistake again. Anyway, we had 30 chickens, nine of which are in a separate run inside the main one, as they are not quite mature yet. None of them were bothered.

    Two of our adults are missing altogether. Two were dead with mainly head injuries. One was still alive but had lost an eye and its head was very damaged. We had to cull that one. Therefore, we are down five chickens due to an attack.

    There are two spots around the fenced-in run where there are maybe a couple inches of space on the ground where something could have gotten in. In both spots, there are a lot of feathers on the ground. And, the wire fence is bent in a bit. Something very strong and very agile (and quite small) got in. It appears to have dragged two of the chickens away completely and attacked only the heads of the other three. We're guessing it was a fisher cat. Question, will a fisher cat return again and again like a raccoon? Do you think that's what it was? Any ideas, besides locking them up at night, for keeping our flock safe? I have been reading about fisher cats and it seems they're solitary except in mating season, and they don't have any identifiable sleep pattern, in other words they'll hunt both day and night.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I'm not sure how large fisher cats get, but a mink will do the damage that you described. I believe fishers and mink are related. If I'm wrong, I hope someone will correct me.

    One thing you can do is dig an apron around your coop. Take hardware cloth, welded wire, something like that and connect it to the bottom of your run. Make an L shape - so the apron goes out from your coop 1'-2', then bury it. The diggers should get discouraged. Another thing you can do is put electric fence around your run. We don't have it around our run, but we do put it around our sweet corn. We use 4-5 strands starting about 4" off the ground. (That may be all you need as long as you don't get climbers, too.) When they're sniffing around your run, they will hopefully get zapped.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
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    The damage you describe also sounds like something a raccoon would do, and they can enter through openings as small as those you describe.

    I'm using an L shaped apron of 1" x 2" 14 gauge welded wire.......2 foot wide, with the vertical leg of the L about 4" to 6" inches and nailed to the side coop. The remaining horizontal part is simply laid out flat on the ground and held down by tent stakes. After a few months, the grass has grown up through it and you can't even tell it is there. I know I have had a lot of raccoon visits and so far, none has been able to breach that.

    If the predator was a weasel, you might drop that down to 1/2" x 1" welded wire and keep it 14 gauge if you can find it.

    The thing about those aprons laying on the ground is the predator will usually probe the spot where vertical and horizontal meet. They will go up and down it at that corner, but never seem to figure out they need to back up 2 feet and start digging way out there. As long as the apron extends down the entire length of the coop or run....and beyond to overlap at the corners........this pretty much has been shown to defeat the diggers.
     

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