I'm guessing mink.... (Graphic pics post #17)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bobbi-j, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    After many, many years of no problems with night-time critters getting into the coop after lockup, DH found 3 dead hens today - he described them as being "scalped". There is another live one with a big wound on the back of her head, too. (I didn't get to see them myself because he had taken them out of the coop, put them in a whieelbarrow while he went to do something else, and when he came back, the dog had apparently carried two off, and DH disposed of the other one.)

    Tonight when I went out to lock them up, I noticed that there was another one missing entirely. I told DH if we lose any more, I want to put a carcass in the live trap to see if we can catch it. I also have part of a carcass in the freezer that I was going to save to make broth with, but I wonder if that - thawed out, of course - would work as bait? I know mink can be tricky to catch.

    I closed the pop doors on both coops tonight, but am wondering what to do during the day. DH let the chickens from the coop that was attacked out to free rage, which I think was a good idea. I feel they're more vulnerable locked up where they can't really get away. Just keep letting them free range, and keep the other flock (including rooster or it wouldn't be a problem) locked up and hope it doesn't get to them? Right now, that's what I'm inclined to do. At least until we catch the critter. Not sure if it came in under the shed into the run (thought I had that buttoned down pretty well, but maybe not) or squeezed through the 2x4 welded wire. Might have to look into lining with chicken wire to discourage further visits. Hardware cloth is not in the budget right now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hear about that. I think you are right. Mink, weasel, least weasel or one of the other cousins. Several dead birds with bites to the back of the neck is their signature move. The smaller of those could get through a 2" x 4" wire. You can try chicken wire around the base, but they can climb too, so you may have to go up a ways. As you know, they are territorial, so they are in the neighborhood and will be back.

    In addition to your live trap, you might try a wooden rat trap and bait it with chicken liver. If DH is handy, have him build you a weasel box trap for the rat trap. Those seem to work best.

    Let us know when you get him!
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I hate to hear that, Bobbi-j. [​IMG] I sure hope you catch it....those things seem to love to kill just for the sport of it. [​IMG]

    Here's a vid on a chicken proof weasel box trap which looks promising and is pretty much similar to most weasel traps...looks like it would be an easy and quick build too.

    [​IMG]

    If you can get past the initial part of the vid where there's too much talking, this guy has an even easier approach...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. birdmanmax

    birdmanmax Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello sorry to hear about your birds I agree it's probably a mink or weasel. The trap above where there is a rat trap on a tree will work for both mink and weasel but a mink will usually not go into a weasel box (first video) and trust me the box works for weasels (pic of one I fought not long ago below). Make sure to use the bloodiest piece of bait or just a mouse and lots of feathers.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks, all, for your replies. Given the fact that one chicken disappeared completely, I'm leaning more toward mink. We do have both large and small weasels here, too, but I'm not sure they can drag off a big chicken. Didn't get a chance to get a trap set tonight, but hopefully sooner rather than later. Until then, that pop door is staying shut. If they go out to free range, they can go out through the people door.

    We have noticed over the past couple of days that we weren't getting as many eggs out of that coop. I also hadn't seen or caught any mice in there for a week or so. Maybe it was eating them, too. And then yesterday DH found an egg with a hole in the middle and all the insides eaten out. Typical cat move, but the coop and run were closed for the day, so a cat couldn't have gotten in. A mink could though, if it's coming from under the coop. Hmm....
     
  6. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Go Habs Go Premium Member

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    I had a mink take out 2 ducks and a chicken at the end of December... They're evil little things. Good luck killing it :fl
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Mink, weasels, the whole family is evil!
     
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So going back to your original post, you mentioned dead birds found inside a closed up coop, then one missing that may have been outside the coop? So two different incidents, one inside and one out? Maybe the first birds at night and the second was lost during the day? If so, you may have two different predators. Seems odd after not having any to have two at the same time, but that is what it sounds like.

    BTW, on the weasel/mice thing, that may well be the case. Fish and game folks claim that 90% plus of what weasels eat are rodents like rats and mice and maybe rabbits, and squirrels, etc. If so, it is possible they do not arrive looking to kill chickens, but are attracted to the coop area by the scent of rats and/or mice. So they go after any rats or mice in the coop or coop area, but being opportunistic killers, don't hesitate to kill the birds instead. It is instinctive for them to kill anything that moves. So they kill one after another and do so in the fastest way possible, which is a quick deep bite to the back of the neck at the base of the scull. So the aftermath is a pile of dead birds with bites to the neck. If they feed on anything it is the blood. Rarely would they take a bird and leave with it. BTW, the least weasels are said to be the worst and they can easily get through 2" wire openings.
     
  9. I have had a couple Ermines around here.Evil boogers.My dad, um, took care of them but luckly it didn't get any of my birdies.Set out a Have-a-Hart trap, them, take care of it, you know what I mean.
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Many long years ago my tomcat brought a kill home that my mother called a "fairydiddle"....I didn't think much of it and figured it was some kind of ground squirrel I'd never seen before. Since then I've learned there is no such thing as a fairydiddle but the creature my cat brought home that day resembled a young lesser weasel. About 3/4 the size of an adult weasel, it had the coloring, the tubular body and tail of the lesser weasel in summer pelt. It definitely was not a young red squirrel, as many claim a fairdiddle to be.

    Funny thing is, I was just talking about that fairydiddle to my mother last night and asking her if it couldn't have been a young weasel....looked them up online, looked at YT vids of them, etc. and THEN got on BYC to find this thread. How weird is that???
     

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