My one-woman battle against Nature

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by gingin, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. gingin

    gingin Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2010
    beautiful vermont
    Sometimes I feel it's a never-ending battle to keep my girls safe and alive.

    They are in a secure pen/coop, last year I lost all but a couple to my neighbor's dog who (after repeated requests to please keep the dog under supervision) managed to work the fence over and over until she got in. I got four new girls to replace the 6 I lost. Lost one to illness (she was elderly), then I was down to 7... then the day before yesterday I entered the coop in the morning to find one girl dead, blood around her neck area. The coop was sealed tightly so I assumed she'd had a fight although I'd never had that happen before. I should have thought it through more because no other girls looked as though they'd been fighting.

    The next morning I went in and discovered two more dead, one without a head so plainly there was a predator. I live in a wildlife corridor and almost daily I see some sort of predator. Mink, weasel, fisher, bear, lynx... I get them all, not to mention the usual cast of characters like coons adn foxes. My coop was sealed shut. I have hardware mesh on the windows, around the foundation... and the girls stay in a pen outside that's covered. But there is an incredibly small opening around the front door that the beast must have used.

    Now I'm down to four girls, and I set them up in my basement in a make-shift mini coop of a dog ex-pen around a kiddie pool I filled with shavings. They seem very happy, actually, but I will eventually have to get them back out once I seal up the coop this weekend.

    I'm actually really afraid to lose the rest of my girls. One is very old and I'm embarrassingly attached to her. She was from my original first flock and has seen a lot in her day. Just when I think things will quiet down and they'll be safe, something still manages to fool me.

    I live in northern Vermont, so it's very cold and snowy here. I purchased an electric mesh fence that I thought I'd use as a perimeter around my pen once the snow is gone next Spring. Just wondering whether anyone has any ideas how I can make the girls safer. It's really heartwrenching when I lose them! And I hear perhaps the electric mesh fences aren't all they are cracked up to be?
     
  2. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Sorry about your loss but sounds like what happened to me and it was a weasel. He gained entry through a hole mice had chewed under the door. (I lost a 25-year strain of Ameracunas that I was trying to refine when he killed all the roosters) Someplace there is a hole a half an inch or so in diameter that he is using for entry. If you have a live trap, bait it with one of the dead birds and you should get him. Good luck.
     
  3. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I totally agree with Woodmort; you have a weasel problem. I would seal that hole up and set a trap. Don't give up the hobby though..sounds like you have a nice set up. We all have set backs, it's just part of the chicken habit. It can be a real pain in the back side but the rewards far out weigh the problems.

    Take care and good luck to you.
     
  4. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would reinforce the coop. You have to have a great defence to keep them safe. Hardware cloth for the run and add a few hot wires to keep any dog, coon, fox, etc from trying to test your fencing.

    Set up some live traps and feed those dead varmits back to your chickens.

    hang in there.
     
  5. gingin

    gingin Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2010
    beautiful vermont
    Thanks, everyone, for the support....

    I think it's a weasel too, but it managed to trip the traps without getting caught last night, so we'll try again tonight.
     
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oxford NY
    Quote:I agree--get the varmint and get back on the horse. I trapped the weasel, replaced the door to the coop and called McMurray's to include some EE's in with my next shipment.
     
  7. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry about your loss. I know how frustrating it is. I have a electric net fence around mine and thought it was working well; in fact I quit locking up the coop at night because I had never lost anything inside the fence except 2 to hawks. When they are free ranging or if they decide not to come home at night is a different story. I was more than pleased with the fence but it was sagging some but the ground is like cement and when I tried to move one post, it broke. It was still electrified so I just left it as is. I had a chicken go missing inside the fence this week and since a dog caught 2 free ranging last month, I thought he was the culprit. I set some traps inside the fenced area and caught a opossum. I realized the fence is not always working. Your problem sounds like a weasle and that is one of the critters the fence is supposed to keep out....everything but hawks.

    I am going to start a thread on here and see how the electric net fence works for others.

    Hope you catch the killer.
     
  8. gingin

    gingin Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2010
    beautiful vermont
    Thanks, Carolyn.

    It must be a weasel, each night it's tripping the traps, getting the bait but escaping. Sooooo frustrating. I can't put the girls out until I get the varmint. If I don't get it soon, I'm going to have to hire a pest control company, I guess.
     
  9. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:Google Weasel Box. Build a couple insert some victor rat traps, bait with bloody chicken livers.
     
  10. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    Quote:Google Weasel Box. Build a couple insert some victor rat traps, bait with bloody chicken livers.

    OUCH!! Sounds deadly and effective! [​IMG].

    Good luck and let us know when you get him! I hope you don't lose anymore girls!! [​IMG]

    Shelly
     

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