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Mink? Raccoon?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bookjunky4life, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. bookjunky4life

    bookjunky4life Out Of The Brooder

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    My coop is full enclosed with 2x4 inch welded wire on the inside and out, with poultry netting on the bottom four feet or so. There are some places inside and out on the ground level where the netting is rusted away. The inside is an enclosed corner of our lean-to which has concrete floor. I lost a chicken and three ducks, four nights in a row. The initial chicken had been killed by something digging under the fence and carried the chicken off. I placed blocks along that side so it could not dig in there anymore. The next night my runner duck was killed and his head drug through a 2x4 inch place in the outside run where the netting was rusted. Only the head/neck was eaten but obviously it had been trying to take the entire carcass away. The predator had to have entered through the 2x4 inch hole somewhere. Nothing had dug under. The next night I lost my rouen duck on the interior of the coop, head eaten laying against the side of the pen but not pulled through. The fourth night I lost my male pekin duck, killed but nothing eaten on the interior of the pen. The female pekin was mauled on the base of her neck but has survived. A few of these nights they were locked inside and a few were not, so clearly its getting in a 2x4 inch hole on the inside and/or outside. I was certain I had a mink. Now it went 5 nights with nothing. Last night a hen was killed and tried to drag through the same hole as the runner duck, head and neck completely gone.

    Some of my research seems to indicate that this could be a coon or a mink. If its a coon, I can probably secure the entire coop/run from it. If it is a mink, that is going to be much more difficult. Three or four nights in a row I set two live traps with chicken livers but did not catch anything. About two weeks before this started, I lost a pearl white hen in the coop, dead on the floor, headless. That next day, my FIL found a dead mink (killed by our feral farm dog likely) and I found a small possum living in a straw bale we were keeping right outside the interior coop (we killed it and removed the straw bale). I thought we were in the clear until these killing started. What am I dealing with? I am now leaning toward coon and I personally hope its a coon rather than a mink from what I have read!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    The first loss, digging under the fence and carrying off sounds like the work of a fox.
    The second, pulling the head through the fence is the work of a raccoon.
    The others sound like a mink or possibly a weasel. In my experience, however, the mink will come back every night. I have read though that that's not always the case.
    Weasels can get through a 1" hole. A mink can easily squeeze through 1.5".
     
  3. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Put the live trap in the coop behind the hole in your wire....

    Whatever is going in will have to go in the live trap and you will catch it. A coon can reach through an opening and pull, but it's not getting through that small of opening.

    Anything could have dig that hole the first night, but it has to be a small predator going through that hole. Mink, weasel, maybe opossum and if you have them fisher.

    Set the traps so they are forced to go in to them, don't give them access to the back of the trap and make sure the trap is solid and don't move when the animals enter.

    Good luck


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Those are good suggestions. It also depends on the type of trap. If it is a hav-a-hart type of live trap, a mink can squeeze under the door after it's tripped. For mink and weasels I prefer a body hold conibear type trap. You just have to make sure a non-target animal doesn't get caught by it. A #110 works for weasels and mink. A #220 for raccoons. Duke type dog proof leg traps are the best for raccoons. You can have them where the chickens roam with no problems.
     
  5. bookjunky4life

    bookjunky4life Out Of The Brooder

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    Now that I think of it, there may be some larger areas a coon cold squeeze through but why would it not try to take the carcass back the way it came in instead of through that tiny 2x4 inch hole? I feel like it is the same predator doing all the killing. I live in the middle of the prairie, two miles from any serious trees or woods in the midwest, no kind of creeks or streams anywhere within at least a mile or two. I have two small babies (19 months and 4 months) so it is difficult to take on any big coop enforcing projects right now. However, I have lots of pallets, chicken wire, and scrap sheets of plywood. So I started building something that is more secure for at night while I try to continue to trap it or hope the dogs find and kill it. Everything I have read about mink is that they will make multiple kills at once, usually piling the bodies, while I have read that coons will wait 5-7 days in between visits.

    Does anyone keep a livestock guardian dog like a Great Pyr? What are experiences with that?
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If a bird is close enough to the fence the raccoon won't have to go in, they just pull parts of the bird through. Even if they get in they don't eat very much of the bird. I've never had a raccoon carry a bird away or at least not very far. They just eat where they kill it. You're right about mink killing multiples. They'll either kill everything in the building or most and come back the next night to finish the job.
    You're also right about the coons not coming back every night. They have huge territories and rarely go to the same den each night. Often it will be a week before they make the rounds.
    Terrain makes a difference too. Sounds like you may not be dealing with mink or weasels. Normally they're near bodies of water.
    A Walmart is being built by a creek near me and they cut down about 70 acres of woods, that sent the mink my way.
    If a weasel's natural food source is scarce, they will start looking for a chicken coop even though it isn't near water.
     
  7. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of box trap do you have? I'm asking purely out of curiosity, nothing can get out of my live trap. The door locks down solid, I've even caught red squirrels in it.
     
  8. chasehdonahue

    chasehdonahue New Egg

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    opposums have been killing my chickens caught 2 two nights later a hen was attacked but lived wondering if it is the same kind of animal
     
  9. David1998

    David1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Long ago, I had a predator getting into my coop at night and killing a chicken each night. One night, I put and old cage over the roost and locked the chickens up in it. Then left a plate of chicken bones loaded with gopher poison inside the coop on the floor. The next morning, two dead skunks were in my coop. I carefully buried them deep. No more problems after that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  10. chasehdonahue

    chasehdonahue New Egg

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    Good advice. I've caught. two possums.Then another hen was hurt suprised a coon a couple of nights ago. now have large trap inside barn and a smaller one outside. Baited them with sardines and eggs waiting. for a slip up!
     

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