What is getting into my henhouse???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nieceharr, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    Hi,

    We use the deep-litter method, and this is our first winter with our chickens. We buried 6x6s in the ground, built the henhouse on top and used hardware cloth (something like that - metal, 1/4") all under the letter. The coop is completely covered - top to bottom and the hardware cloth is buried a good 18" underneath. I thought I made a great fortress for our girls (and roo).

    We have found 3 holes in our henhouse so far. We would cover one up and another one would appear. I found a trail through the snow into the woods on the other side to one of the holes. This hole is big enough to fit a tennis ball in it.

    What could be making these holes? I think it's too big for a mouse and I'm afraid to think what else it could be.

    How on earth did this/these critters get in??

    We stuck foil in the holes for now and will find out how they got in when we clean it out in the spring. In the meantime, I now take their food out at night to deter any other visitors. Thanks.
     
  2. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    I had something doing the same smaller hole, and lost a banty hen to it. The vet's best guess was a mink! It seems to have finally moved on. If I'd caught it, I'd be wearing mink slippers right now!

    I'm amazed anything could even get into your fortress, it sounds very secure!
     
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Howell Michigan
    Sounds like a weasel or mink to me.
     
  4. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    I use a radio 24/7 on a talk radio station. I have not had anything come close to our coops so far. Maybe that would help? The radio is a $5 radio alarm clock.
     
  5. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Australia
    Rats make big holes & if you havn't lost any birds yet, it may be that as I'm sure a mink etc would have taken a bird.
     
  6. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    I haven't lost any birds yet - thank goodness!! I'm also thinking that it's a rat as well - and am shuddering at the thought - but as grossed out as I am about that, I am very grateful that the critter is not harming my chickens! I heard that rats can chew through wood - but a 6x6?? I can't wait until Spring to find out how they are getting in. No new holes last night. I stuffed foil in the big, tennis ball sized hole.

    The other day, an egg was fairly close to one of the holes. Despite the fact that we have 3 nice nesting boxes, a few of our girls like to lay on the ground - under the boxes. This egg wasn't anywhere near where they lay. We must have missed this egg before we closed them up for the night.

    Is there anything else we can do? I take the food out at night and make sure that there are no eggs. What can I do in the Spring to make sure this doesn't happen again next winter? We are pretty new at this - our chickens aren't even a year old.

    Thanks.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Sounds to me like one of those dangerous little "Peligros" to me. Kinda surprised that you'd have one as far north as Connecticut.

    Vicious little critter found mostly in the Southwestern US and Texas. They can attack a human, dog, cat, chicken... they are like a cross between a wolverine, weasel and miniature Mexican wolf all wrapped into one terrorist little animal.

    I'm certain most of you have never heard of them but those of us in the southwest, southern California and Texas have. In fact, if you drive many roads out in the country side of the desert out here you will see signs all over in big red letters that say "Danger - Peligro".

    Yup... vicious little critters that can eat right through that hardware cloth...[​IMG]
     
  8. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    Mink and weasels don't carry them off, they just kill and eat.
     
  9. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Quote:[​IMG] spent most of my life battling them in Texas!
     
  10. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    Yup, tough little critters those Peligros. You should never leave a Chihuahua or house cat unattended in a backyard if you're out in the boonies, those Peligros will dispatch them every time.
     

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