Mink/Weasel -- How to protect your flock


8 Years
Feb 26, 2011

I'm a new member, but have been reading the forums to learn.

We've lost hens in the past while they were free ranging to a feral cat and a fox. I can deal with that, not happy, but at least I know how to keep them safe(r).
Last week we had what we think is a mink or weasel get in the coop at night and kill 7 hens, all of them older hens, heavier, and not the best fliers (not sure that is relevant since it occurred in the dark, although a bright moon). Just dead birds, some chewing on necks, and what looked like an attempt to pull some down a hole. We have 12 girls left.

The "coop" is a converted horse foaling stall with a fine packed gravel floor. The predator dug in through the floor from the outside, the hole is 3 inches or so in diameter. It came back the second night looking for another kill, we know because we filled in the holes and new ones appeared and live traps were sprung.

To keep the hens safe, we've moved them to my horse trailer (all metal, except for a marine grade wood floor with heavy rubber mats) each night. Not the most convenient deal, but at least I can sleep at night.

So....2 questions: is there a mink/waesel proof coop? If so, what is it? And, we'd like trapping/killing advice. We have live traps set (both tripped the 2nd night, but no luck in catching) and now 2 Conibear 110 traps, too, inside the coop. There's been no sign for 5 nights now. I'm assuming it will be back eventually, am I right?

I have a barn cat who we close out of the coop at night. If necessary I can temporarily move her if we need to trap outside the barn. She's a great mouser, we do not want to lose her.

We've lived here 27 years, never have seen a mink or weasel, BUT 3 nights after the attack one ran in front of our car about 9 pm on our way home. Of course, we did not hit it, that would have been just too poetic.

thanks in advance for your help.
Sounds very much like the work of either a mink or weasel as you have guessed. Male mink usually travel great distances so may or may not have returned the second night. Female mink do not travel as far (may return several nights in a row) and are smaller than the male. Weasels will not have the range of a mink and as you know are able to sneak through a much smaller hole. Without seeing or knowing more, I would guess it to be a mink. There are probably many more mink around than there are weasels and even less chance anyone would see a weasel. I'm 64 and have been an outdoor person most of my life, I have only ever seen one weasel, in the wild, in all that time that I can remember. At the same time I've seen and trapped a number of mink. Mink usually travel along water ways, but will hunt far and wide this time of year.

What you can do against them is usually preventative. Again, I have not seen your coop, but use plenty of hardware cloth, 1/2x1 should work, line any areas where anything can dig its way in. That's the short answer. My coop is one of those building you see for sale along side the road that are intended for yard utility/garden storage buildings. I cut some windows in and installed chicken friendly furnishings for my hens and I close it up at night. So far nothing has ever gotten in. Their yard is fenced with 2x4 welded wire 5 ft high. A coon could easily get over this, but I've never had a problem - yet.

Some are in Europe, and one sub species in Florida is endangered
The most common American Mink is not

I never heard of mink being endangered anywhere around Ohio.
And, I do keep up on all game laws for the state. Like I said, prevention is the best form of control.
My housecat killed a weasel and brought it home once, never saw another one - or maybe he just never brought another one home - they are pretty heavy for a cat
I am having a problem with something. Lost 2 chickens last night. First time in 6 years. My coop was especially made for my chickens. I have never closed the outside door, going into the run. I have chain link fence surrounding the run, and across the top, to keep Hawks and owls from flying in. Both chickens had the entrals, and heads missing. I locked the rest of them (17) in the coop tonight. The doors are snug, the windows closed, but also covered with screen, and wire. The vents are screened, the floor is wooden. If mink are hard to trap, how do I go about getting rid of them? My dad and brothers were trappers, several times they caught a mink, but it was probably by mere luck, as catching in most conibear traps is a rarity. If, lucky enough to catch in a small live trap, what would be a good bait? I am really baffled at how to rid this critter. ANY help would be appreciated.
Welcome to BYC @Barneyhooch !

Agrees with thisjed....bloody meat is the best bait for anything in the weasel family.

Might want to browse thru the threads in the link here:
advanced search>titles only>trapping mink

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