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What am I dealing with??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lamoka, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. lamoka

    lamoka Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Western NY
    I have started losing chickens to some type of predator. I live in a rural area of Western NY. First hit was just after sunrise something got in and killed two hens one was decapitated. When this attack occured I did not have the pop doors closed as I have not had issues with any predators getting into the run. After losing the two I started closing the Poop doors well I get home from work tonight and find something has killed another hen by decapitaion. The only access in to the coop is about a 2 1/2" maybe 3" gap in the eaves. I searched the henhouse thouroughly to be sure the critter was not still in the coop and it was not. I suspect weasel but I was not aware they could climb my other thought is Pine Marten but they are not commen and they are pushing the size limit to get in. Whatever it is has to have the ability to climb 6 foot walls to get in and then to get back out. I am sure it has to be something small as the coop is very tite and the carcasses are not chewed on except for being decapitated. Any ideas on what you think it is or how to deal with it is greatly appreciated Tomorrow I will be putting hardware cloth over the openings in the eaves but since it has attacked after sunrise I am concerned for them when they are in their run.
     
  2. KaterCheek

    KaterCheek Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 5, 2010
    Arizona
    Sounds like raccoons to me. Would it be too expensive to borrow a night-vision camera and find out for sure? Maybe put out powder or mud and see if you can get prints?

    So sorry for your loss!
     
  3. lamoka

    lamoka Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Western NY
    Thanks Kater I would suspect Raccoons to but tonights attack occured after the pop doors were closed by my wife and there is no way they could get in with the doors closed and bolted I have two game cams I plan on setting them up but they are older ones and wont catch anything smaller then a racoon. It looks like its going to be a long night I am waiting for it to come back. Maybe I will get a chance to dispose of it. I dealt with Red Foxes this summer when they where free ranging but I have never had anything get in the coop this is frustrating.
     
  4. t8562005

    t8562005 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 14, 2012
    It's a weasel or a mink, just dealt with one a couple months ago and it had to climb to get in one of the pens.
     
  5. chick4smiles

    chick4smiles Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Adirondacks
    This guy killed one of my girls and left another in pretty bad shape last Thursday just before dawn. I'm currently nursing the survivor back to health (hopefully). [​IMG] A similar situation...I was leaving the doors between the run and the coop open at night because we never had any problems with predators.
    I felt the need to trap and get-rid-of the culprit because I figured they would just keep coming back for more and it was only a matter of time before one of us forgot to close a door again. We set the trap Friday night and caught the killer.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. lamoka

    lamoka Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2010
    Western NY
    Well I just got home from work and found a nasty little mink in the live trap needles to say he is taken care. Hopefully he is a loner but I have tightened up the coop so hopefully this crisis is over. Thanks for the ideas I have had chickens for some time and have dealt with coyotes, fox, raccoons, posums, and hawks this is the first mink and hopefully the last.
     
  7. littleoak

    littleoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 26, 2010
    Ashmore IL 61912
    I have been keeping poultry for 30 years and have never been successful catching weasels or minks in live traps. Can you tell me what bait you used and how you set the trap up? This would sure beat sitting out with a rifle at night waiting for them to return.
     
  8. chick4smiles

    chick4smiles Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Adirondacks
    We set up a live trap borrowed from a friend. My husband set the trap just outside of the run on the ground. The girls were locked up safely in the coop the night the trap was set..and every night since the incident.
    The bait was a raw pork bone...there was definitely some fresh blood on the bone. Maybe the marrow bones at the grocery store would do the trick? (we call them "leave-me-alone-bones" for the dogs). I think you can just barely see the bait behind the picture of the ermine. We had just butchered some pigs so it was handy.
    I'm definitely not a trapping expert, but that stategy worked for us!
     
  9. llandry

    llandry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2012
    jersey shore, nj
    I had no idea these animals existed! They look like ferrets!!! Sorry this is happening to you. We were having a stray cat kill a few of our chickens and it was so sad and frustrating. We finally caught it and built a really secure run for them during the day time.
     
  10. FenikT

    FenikT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 5, 2012
    I used to run across an occasional mink in my conibear traps when I trapped muskrats as a teenager in CNY 30 years ago. One mink could wipe out a muskrat den overnight. I also saw several of those white weasels on my travels through the woods. Did the live trapped one in the photo have a black tipped tail?
     

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