Weasel got two last night...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chick4smiles, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. chick4smiles

    chick4smiles Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2011
    Our first loss to predators in three years of having chickens...
    I have two hens that love to sleep in a tree in the fully enclosed run (one inch chicken wire). I move them into the coop every night, but we never close the coop/run door...I guess this is all my fault. [​IMG]
    Went down to the coop this morning and found one dead hen with an apparent bite on her neck and another in really rough shape with all kinds of wounds on her head. Feathers on the ground under their tree. [​IMG]
    We got 4 inches of snow last night and I could see some weasel/ermine tracks, but I couldn't tell how it got in.
    Needless to say, I'll be sealing the chickens in their coop tonight and setting a trap in the run.
    I know this is all part of having chickens, but it's still upsetting.
    I'm lucky it only got to two...since it got in the run, it could have easily gotten into the coop and taken out the other 40.
    I thought with three years and no predators...we were in the clear. Guess someone got hungry.
  2. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    That sucks! I saw an ermine a couple of weeks ago at the house.
    The voles have been getting in the coop by tunneling under the walls and coming up between the wall and the horse mats (horse stall in a barn converted to be a coop). I put some 1/2" hardware cloth outside the walls but they squirmed between that and the sills. Plus the back wall of the coop is part of a 70' wall that is the "down" side of the upper barn so keeping them out by screening along that wall would be impossible.

    Since the ermine wasn't much bigger than the voles, I figure it could take the same tunnels with little extra effort. I bit the bullet and now have 1/2" hardware cloth poultry stapled to the walls, trapped behind plywood or wrapped under the sill and poultry stapled to the top of the sill with the horse mats on top of that. Evidence the voles are TRYING to get in, but haven't. At 'best', they should only be able to dig tunnels under the wire.

    I think the ermine should be eating the voles, that would be their natural food, not playing vampire on a chicken.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  3. chick4smiles

    chick4smiles Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2011
    Yeah...the DH saw an ermine in a wood pile the other day. We definitely have voles, mice, squirrels, what-have-you, running around the property. I'm guessing the two chickens in a tree were just too easy of a target. They loved perching in that tree...
    I'll have to look into hardware cloth. We're stuck in this situation where we want our girls to enjoy the outdoor life, we don't want to have to constantly watch over them, but we want them to be protected. I know the coop is protected...we buried flashing about 1 foot deep around the outside and the walls were all new material.
    My best guess is that the little guy just found a hole that we missed, or burrowed into the run. We used to be in the habit of letting them out into their run every morning and closing them in the coop every night...then we went on vacation and didn't want to ask too much of our chicken-sitters. Nothing happened for years so we thought we were safe.
    Guess we'll have to get back into that routine.
    Thanks for replying. It's comfort that I can't find with co-workers that think I'm already crazy for having chickens let alone being upset that they're being attacked...

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