Weasels & free range chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Howlingwindfarm, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Howlingwindfarm

    Howlingwindfarm In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2018
    I've been on BYC for years but have never made an account until now, so hi and thanks for all the advice and info I've gleaned so far!

    My question is, will weasels take chickens out of the pasture during the day, or will they wait until they're roosting? I know there are weasels on my farm. I'm building a fortress as a coop. I do have 3 dogs who hunt small animals and they will be in the same yard as my chickens. Do I need to also make a weasel-proof run? I really don't want to keep them caged all the time.

  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Chickens are most vulnerable at night, and need a totally safe coop. It's best to also have a safe run, for times when the birds have to be in; snow, hawk visitations, or other predator issues that come up.
    If your dogs are actually safe with the birds, and out there 24/7, that will be a big help.
    Nothing is totally perfect!
    A weasel- proof run will also be rat proof, a very good thing.
    Cost is always an issue, but the safer you build, the better.
    I don't think I've had weasel issues here, but then again, maybe some of my losses to hawks could have been to weasels, or mink, during the day.
  3. oregonkat

    oregonkat Crowing

    Oct 5, 2012
    Southern Oregon
    We have weasels here and I can tell you that they are merciless. Weasel proof your run avoid the terrible misery that comes with finding your precious hens torn to threads. The thing to remember about weasels is that, like raccoons, they are very clever. They will find a weakness or a tiny (like 2 inches) hole and capitalize on it. Hardware cloth 1/4 inch is best everywhere. Good Luck.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    A weasel in the coop at night will likely kill everyone!
  5. McBriec

    McBriec In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2018
    I have no experience with weasels, but would imagine that a weasel would be very unlikely to attack chickens which are being guarded by three dogs. Groups of dogs are usually a deterrent to most predators.
    Trish1974 likes this.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My losses to weasels have involved only confined chickens that were either in a henhouse or a 4 x 4 x 4 four pen in a field. Confined, even during the day, chickens are at serious risk unless they can fly up to a location above where the weasel can reach and know to do so until weasel leaves. In a pasture setting, my birds are obviously wary of anything weasel like, but do not always keep their distance great enough to be safe. If a weasel where to attack, then it would likely get only one chicken as the others would see the threat and then avoid the weasel that is not well suited for a chase in the open. When the weasel is getting chickens in a hen house, I think the weasel is there first for rodents and may be working those for a while before actually going after the chickens.

    Dogs do seem to be very effective against weasels but make certain dogs are up on their shots as weasels are hard to kill without them biting you first. We had a round with parvo a few years ago and think a weasel dogs killed was the source.
    Folly's place and Trish1974 like this.
  7. ForrestGump

    ForrestGump Chirping

    Feb 19, 2016
    Napavine, WA
    grass hay (4).JPG My understanding is the weasels mostly hunt at night. I don't think they pose a threat to chickens during they day when they can be seen.

    My precious cats killed a weasel and left it for me last week. I was shocked at how small it was - very skinny with tiny teeth. It could easily slip through the 1 inch chicken wire if that is what the coop was built with. It was only about 8 inches long (much smaller than a rat). I hope one does not get into my coop. My cat got extra praise that day.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    There are several species of weasels, including a very tiny one. And mink, larger. Night time protection is most important!
  9. Molpet

    Molpet Crossing the Road

    I have weasels out during the day ( see my avatar) The dog and cat kill them and so far no weasel attacks.. The coop is 1/2" hardware cloth so they are safe at night. During they day they are out in poultry yards, the smallest yard is 50' x 50'. The only atack I have had is coopers hawk
  10. itsasmallfarm

    itsasmallfarm Crowing

    Oct 27, 2016
    i trap my weasels we have around here, caught a short tail weasel and a mink. this last winter.
    Molpet likes this.

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