Weasel-proofing coop and cage.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gomanson, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Gomanson

    Gomanson Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2009

    I'm sure this has been addressed in several places here, but when I read through the posts, I get mixed messages, so I would like anyone who knows something about this to chime in here:

    In December our three hens were killed by what I believe was a weasel or mink. According to the MN DNR we have short and long tailed weasels in this area, as well as mink. The coop was far from "predator-tight;" there were several holes that were over 3" wide. This time around I want to weasel-proof my coop. Even if that's not the animal that killed the hens, they are around here so I want to make sure they can't get in. I am also building rabbit cages (I'll be breeding rabbits starting in April).

    From what I gather, hex poultry fencing (i.e. chicken wire) is not strong enough to keep critters like raccoons out. They can pull, stretch, or chew the holes until they can get in. I'll use the same thing on my rabbit cages as the new chicken run. I bought some 16 guage 1x2" galvanized welded wire mesh. This is the stuff that most rabbit cage instructions call for. This seems small enough to keep out anything down to a short-tailed weasel. But before I invest the time any money, does anyone think I need to go down to a 1x1" grid size? It's a bit more expensive and comes in smaller rolls, but if it's going to prevent a total livestock loss, I would gladly pay it. Opinions?

  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    I use 1/2" hardware cloth on all coop openings.

    Not only do you have to worry about the smallest species of weasels, but raccoons will kill through wire that has a gap big enough for a paw. They will dismember chickens and pull them through the wire, part by part. Hawks will even kill through wire that is big enough to stick their heads through. These experiences have happened to multiple people that have posted on the forum, if you want to do a search.

    Chickens have a tendency to nap up against the run wall, which makes them vulnerable. I would make sure to have the bottom couple of feet lined with a smaller wire. You wouldn't think a chicken would stick it's head through a hole in the wire and get it eaten off, but that's happened, too. They don't understand what a predator is at first and I guess they're curious. A dog or a fox can get them that way. It's amazing how many ways chickens can and have been killed by predators.
    1 person likes this.
  3. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    I agree with woodland woman. I had a weasel get caught in a havahart trap and it wanted to kill me when I held it up and looked at it. The extra money spent on good wire means safety for your flock and peace of mind for you. I also struggled with this question and decided that my girls deserved the best protection I could get. The only thing getting in my tractor is a bear or a human.
    1 person likes this.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The weasels I have seen -- I forget whether shorttailed or least -- were awfully darn small-diameter. I would not personally trust 1x2 mesh to keep 'em out, not the smaller ones anyhow.


  5. Dutchgirl

    Dutchgirl Not Dutch!

    Apr 1, 2008
    Weasel!!! arrgh. Last week I had three ducklings and a banty hen in a bin covered with an oven rack and a big pot, right outside my bedroom door. I got up when I heard nervous clucking and some peeping. I turned the light on and saw nothing disturbed. There was lightning, so I thought *that* might be making them nervous. I just got back to the other side of the bed, when terrified squawking and bumping began. I raced back the mere 12 feet to the door, flipped on the light, and pulled off the oven rack. I saw two ducklings and a terrified hen, all still bouncing off the walls. I saw nothing leave, even though I opened the top amidst the attack, it seemed. I thought maybe the third duckling was drowning, so poured off all the water in a deep dish. No duckling. How could it be gone!? How could a snake have gotten out with a duckling so quickly? I found the hen also had puncture wounds in her backside. Could a snake do that? I don't think so. This thing had to be small and as fast as lightning. I am surmising a weasel. The hen still trusts us, but the ducklings think we are the enemy, now---since I appeared when it was "going down"---and they had been so innocent and tame the day before. :(
  6. joan1708

    joan1708 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    DFW - mid cities, Tx
    You want 1/2 inch hardware cloth if - you don't want weasels, rats, mice or coons pulling your chics apart.

    Hardware cloth can be a problem with rabbits, if you want the poop to fall through the "holes" in the floor. I did not have hardware cloth in my rabbit hutch and had occasional rat problems. I don't know of a "perfect" solution for a rabbit hutch. I think if I got more rabbits, I would use the hardware cloth and "harvest" the poop a few times a week. You probably already know that rabbits poop in the same spot all the time. Its the urine that's more of a problem because it stinks and the bunnies "hike their butts" up, to spray it out of the hutch.
    1 person likes this.

    KINGBIRD New Egg

    Apr 12, 2016
    Well first lets start with weasel, long tail and short tail and weasels and mink. In the winter months weasels are pure white with a black tip on their tails. In the summer time they loose the white color and turn black from tail to nose. now that weasel also changes his name from weasel to MINK. Same little critter you can trap and sell the pelt for in the summer become protected in the winter months. Protected or not if they kill your chickens you can kill them anytime. That is the reason you never see a weasel in the summer or a mink in the winter.
    Next the fencing wire you are considering is too big to keep out the mink or the weasel. not to mention mice and rats. you need wire fencing that is welded every 1/4 inch. ANY small openings you have in the floor, walls , or ceiling will allow them to enter. All of the little critters and some bigger ones can climb and enter any small openings. If you have weasels or mink you will have dead chickens come the winter
    I have been fighting this battle for some seven years now. Every winter I go out to feed the chickens and find them all dead. They will not spare anything not even your ducks.
    I lost six of them the same night a few years ago. My neighbor lost over thirty hens in one night. Weasels are relentless they will not stop until every chicken is dead. So before you trust your coop make absolutely sure there is no way in. Trust me there is no other way. If your ground freezes deep like it does herein Maine beware of the bottom opening up a joint giving access to the critters...Good luck to you...

  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    You want you coop bottle tight ½" hardware cloth is adequate ¼" hardware cloth maybe a bit over kill but it would be what I recommend. I went over my loft with aluminum and sheets of steel after a weasel wiped out all my homers in one night January 2015. This year I am rebuilding my flock and seem to have my enemy at bay (as long as I remember to close the man door at night).

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