Possible mink attack-what more can I do?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Parrotchick, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    119
    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I came out this morning to let everyone out of their pens, only to find my beloved Tom Turkey, King of the Barnyard and beloved by everyone, dead under his roosting table. His head and neck were chewed down to the bone and I think his crop was gone. There were plenty of ducks, chickens, geese, and other turkeys. Not that I want to lose anyone but why would a predator attack the biggest one? Granted Tom was gentle as could be, and I never saw him get rattled over anything. My poor boy, I hope it was quick. He was such a big baby, a would squeak when I picked him up to put him in the pen at bedtime when he dawdled.

    I thought I had a secure enclosure. I have a giant pen, with 1/2" hardware cloth on 3 sides. The back is made of chain link panels with chicen wire over it. I have 2 x 3 welded wire attached to the bottom all around coming out about 18 inches from the perimeter. I can't dig down where I live because the soil is so rocky but that doesn't stop the rats from making holes, and now I've seen black rat snakes slithering in through the holes. (I take up the food at night, which is kept in secure enclosures and am in the process of dealing with spillage issues). Inside the pen are various dog houses, truck caps, and a shed that serves as a coop.

    The roof is covered with a combination of 2" x 3 or 4" welded wire, plywood planks, nylon deer netting, and as of yesterday, corrugated tin roofing panels I put up just so the turkeys could stay dry on their choice roosting table. Just yesterday I went around the pen, taking the tin panels and rolls of chicken wire away from the back (one of my bantam chickens got stuck in a roll last week but I found her in time) and making everything what I thought was safer and cleaner. I tightened up loose wire, filled gaps, though I certainly have plenty that a weasel or mink could get though, though nothing bigger.

    So I understand that minks and weasels can slip through very tiny spaces (even hardware cloth is suspect). I got ten sheets of 2'x10' lath that's used under stone siding-sharp nasty stuff with really tiny spacing. I was going to line the bottom of the back of the pen. But my suspected culprits climb. I put a massive tarp over the side of the pen with the welded wire roof, hoping that would be a deterrent. Will tarps on the chain link/chicken wire side prevent climbing?

    Tonight I will be setting traps and sleeping outside with a .22. I've never intentionally killed anything bigger than a bug, but oooooh....Tom was like a good friend to me. He always followed me around the yard, kept me company, and gobbled back to me when I gobbled to him. He was a very special bird. Fortunately I have some eggs he fathered, so my friend will put them in the incubator for me.

    Any suggestions for keeping out weasels/minks? I don't live near water, but my neighbor said one very dry year he lost a turkey to a mind. This year has been far from dry.
     
  2. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Might try setting a live trap, (in case a chicken or neighbor's cat wanders into it). Also try laying a sheet of plywood on the ground, with a bait in the middle and covered with a thin layer of flour when it investigates, it will tell you what your predator is. If it's a weasel, you're dealing with a climber who's a chainsaw and about the size of a hot dog so gauge your fencing accordingly.

    Another idea to stop one is putting flashing around the exterior base of the run. It's too smooth for them to get traction
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  3. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    119
    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    Thanks on the tips. I had considered including poison in the traps (which I took up in the morning and will set again tonight) but didn't want a friendly critter wandering in.

    I set 3 live traps last night, with thawed feeder rats and a bit of sardines in each but caught nothing. I also slept (but barely) on my patio with a .22, listening for anything suspicious but heard nothing suspect. Except for 3 massive white pines behind the pen, the area is fairly open, with woods at least 100 feet away. I put 2 of the traps behind the pen about 8 and 15 feet away from the likely access points, facing away. Any other tips or do I need to be more patient?

    How high should the flashing be and any suggestions for places to get it cheap? Should I fold some of it around the ground? I have welded wire on the ground-in some places grass goes through and in others it's really loose, due to the erosion of record rains on the mountain this spring.

    I put tarps on the top and on the sides but it was dark so they weren't well secured. If I get them well secured and maybe duct tape where they meet (ugh-how ghetto but it's what I have available now) would that be a deterrent? I thought about covering them in vaseline :> I also put 2'x8' sheets of diamond mesh lath along the bottom-grippy for little claws but really sharp.

    My yard looks like a squatter's Shantytown. If only I knew what I was doing when I started.
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    9,279
    728
    321
    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    How big is your trap? You may want to wrap it in some hardware cloth. We had a mink come into our coop and kill my beloved gosling, Puddles. We set our trap for 2 weeks, and caught 3 coons in the first 3 days we set them. Then nothing except eaten bait. I wrapped my trap in wire, and the next morning my nasty murderer was in there. I'm now the owner of 1 mink ear muff. Good luck!
     
  5. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    119
    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I have 3 different size traps but by 11:30 last night, after 14 hours of hole digging, shopping, and slapdashing, I was too pooped to wrap them in something with smaller holes. Nothing ate any of the bait in any of them. Hopefully tonight will be the night-there are some really loud cows in my area and I don't think I want to spend any more time trying to sleep outside at my place.

    I've never been in favor of wearing fur, but I will wear this pelt proudly. I also have Tom's beard to make a memento mori.
     
  6. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,799
    13
    209
    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    the creek that runs under keedysville rd and manor church rd could be home to mink they will stay up on land but they are more at the water because that is normally where their food source is, you are probably looking at a weasel I normally just use the snap rat raps for them and use chicken livers for bait if you google weasel box the top coupla links will show you how to build one and all
     
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Flashing can be gotten at any Lowes, HD or hardware store
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by