Predator - what was it?

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chickenfan
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Predator - what was it?

Post by chickenfan » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:32 am

I had something attack one of my booted bantams this morning. On hearing her clucking c5.30am I rushed down with my dogs. It was almost dark but I thought I saw something leave on top of the run. The hen was immobile against to the side of the run in shock, presumably because something had tried to pull her through the 2" mesh, and the feathers around her neck are a bit soiled but she is otherwise unharmed. Is this likely to be a mink or rat? I can't find any holes a fox could have got in.
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by bigyetiman » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:11 pm

Hope your bantam is ok. I presume from your post you got a general impression of size as you saw it run away, it could be either, or stoats and weasels they can be deadly around poultry and determined to. If they are about where you hail from they can do a lot of damage.
I knew someone who had a rat drag a hen through a fairly small hole, as the body wouldn't fit through it literally chewed the hens hen and neck off
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by chickenfan » Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:19 pm

Thankyou Bigyetiman. Sounds gruesome re the rat. I couldn't really see the size of the animal on the roof of the pen as it was almost dark but it was smaller than a fox. I don't think a rat would have run upwards? But maybe they do. I know there are one or two rats about.

'm glad whatever it was didn't harm my hen
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by bigyetiman » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:42 pm

Glad bantam is ok.
Don't underestimate a rat they can go upwards, easily. swim up pipes and pop up in the toilet. If you have one or two there are probably a lot more about especially if you have seen them. They make rabbits look like slow breeders
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by Margaid » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:59 pm

Mink can also be pretty determined. One pulled a full grown Welsummer hen through 4" square sheep netting - not from the run, she was free ranging near a stream. On another occasion it tried to pull my Welsummer cockerel into a 6" drain pipe down to the stream but he managed to get away, minus a few tail and other feathers.
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rick
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by rick » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:22 pm

Hi Chickenfan,
I get the impression that whenever chickens are attacked in a run they tend to be at the edge where they are 'cornered'. It can be very difficult to make a rodent proof run, I keep adding more 1/2 inch mesh to mine but some bits are laborious. Lining the lower 3 feet was relatively easy and has, at least, made the mice (as we have here) have to go to more effort than just wandering in and out at base level. Worth doing as much as you can, I think. There are other places for a rodent (or other) to find a meal that may be a little easier.
Linden is well and sends his regards :)
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by chickenfan » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:58 pm

Thank you so much for the message Rick. I'm so glad Linden is well and good to hear about him! It could possibly be a mink or even a pine marten (sighted not far away) as well as a rat. I've no idea how to control these. I've put snap trap boxes without any success and gather if you use poison it is carried by rats and dropped along the way to cause secondary poisoning to other species. I've got rat-proof feeders but developed a rat problem when I raised chicks last year and they spilt their food.

Interesting that rats and mink don't kill their prey before they drag it away. I think stoats and weazels might kill their prey before transporting.
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chrismahon
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by chrismahon » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:37 pm

I've seen a weasel dragging a live baby rabbit twice its size across the road Chickenfan. They are very small, powerfull and could easily get through 30mm mesh.
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by chickenfan » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:52 pm

Thanks Chris. Its a worry, especially if they come in the daytime when the birds are out and about.
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Re: Predator - what was it?

Post by rick » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:23 pm

I know that my crew would trade some of their security to roam in the wild acres (if they thought like that). But (and I'm not being flippent) didn't I hear somewhere (from Chris or Dinosaw?) that alpacas make good guard animals for chickens? I can't think how else you keep out the preditors from an open area in the countryside.
... Other than miles of high quality electric fence of course...
It's a risky time of year for the truly free range hen.
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