• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Protecting free range chickens from swamp rats, weasels & mink

 
Jennifer Whitaker
Posts: 43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm working on moving my husband and I to a property we bought in Kentucky. Recently I went out to the property to do some clean up and start planning where stuff will go. In talking with my neighbors, I am told that there is a big problem with very large swamp rats (R.O.U.S.s for those of you who have seen the Princess Bride ), weasels and mink. Apparently they will clear out a large number of chickens in short order. If I want mine to be free range, what's a chicken lover to do I would even go so far as to adopt a Great Pyrenees dog as I hear they are naturally terrific protectors of livestock and we have an opening for another dog anyhow. Anything other suggestions?
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They make warm coats and mittens

Just kidding...sort of

Dogs work--BUT we had a big problem with our dogs. They were WONDERFUL guards for all the animals we had when they were growing up, but chased off or killed any type of animal we tried to add later. And they eat a LOT.

We went to accepting some chicken losses. It was cheaper to replace chickens than to feed dogs.

 
Jennifer Whitaker
Posts: 43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The fact that they make warm mittens is a good thing but I figure whatever trap catches them will also catch the farm cats. We make our own dog food as it is so feeding big dogs on the cheap are already our specialty. However guess what one of the ingredients is... Chicken. :-/ I hope that doesn't back fire...
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 401
Location: Otago, New Zealand
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer Whitaker wrote:The fact that they make warm mittens is a good thing but I figure whatever trap catches them will also catch the farm cats.


Nope. Mustelid and rat traps use tunnels, which no self-respecting cat would stick its head in.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Or live traps, that way you can choose what to do with the catch.

 
Jennifer Whitaker
Posts: 43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I guess I'm going to have to. Just keep them going non stop, hopefully will make a dent in the population...
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
1
forest garden goat trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Our Egyptian Mau cats catch rats and weasels so maybe a different breed of cat on the farm might help.
 
Kyle Burdick
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Scott wrote:Or live traps, that way you can choose what to do with the catch.



Be sure you check your local and state laws before transporting live animals. Especially predators like mink and weasel. Most natural environments are already at an equilibrium for the number of predators they can support. Moving them into another animals territory just means they will be pushed out again, or they will fight till one of them is dead. I vote for the tunnel (kill) traps.

Besides trapping, I've had good luck with electric netting.... which lots of folks don't like. No mink or weasel kills so far. We did have two killed by owls though. And its not exactly free range obviously. But I like it.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kyle Burdick wrote:
R Scott wrote:Or live traps, that way you can choose what to do with the catch.



Be sure you check your local and state laws before transporting live animals. Especially predators like mink and weasel. Most natural environments are already at an equilibrium for the number of predators they can support. Moving them into another animals territory just means they will be pushed out again, or they will fight till one of them is dead. I vote for the tunnel (kill) traps.

Besides trapping, I've had good luck with electric netting.... which lots of folks don't like. No mink or weasel kills so far. We did have two killed by owls though. And its not exactly free range obviously. But I like it.



Good point. I was thinking of catch and release for the cats, not the weasels, but you are definitely right about knowing the rules.

What a landowner can and can't do can also change with the amount of land.

Electric net is a good way to protect the coop at night.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic