Stoat or weazel?

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chickenfan
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Stoat or weazel?

Post by chickenfan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:27 pm

I have recently found my seemingly healthy, in-lay Araucana flat out dead in my pen in a field. I am wondering now if she could have been killed by a stoat or weazel? I have just been speaking with someone that has lost one bird after another without any noticeable mark on them and they say it is a stoat or weasel.

I am wondering whether to rapidly move my birds back home.
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rick
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Re: Stoat or weazel?

Post by rick » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:40 pm

A good idea I would think, if you can and have any doubts.

This may seem like an over the top idea but I bought a wildlife camera for about £100 recently and it is really good. Its over the top in my situation but in yours it could be a great way of keeping an eye on what’s going on away from view of the house. The camera is triggered by a built in infra red motion sensor and takes pictures or video day or night. Very similar to a normal digital camera to view on the computer. Just a thought (from a tech junkie!)
If you wanted to give it a try you could borrow mine for a couple of weeks.
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dinosaw
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Re: Stoat or weazel?

Post by dinosaw » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:34 pm

Chickenfan, I would agree with Rick that you are better safe than sorry if you have had strange occurrences with eggs and then this.

With regards to weasels and stoats these animals kill with a bite to the back of the head or neck, so what this person is saying doesn't sound right to me, there will be marks, perhaps they just aren't looking. Of course chickens can die of fright but the chances of multiple deaths this way is unlikely. Stoats and weasels are also, like foxes, surplus killers, they will kill what they can and store the extra food for later. A stoat is certainly capable of dragging off a chicken carcass, a weasel perhaps less so.
chickenfan
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Re: Stoat or weazel?

Post by chickenfan » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:39 pm

I didn't look all that closely at my Araucana's head below the feathers. I just assumed when I picked her up with no feathers missing that she had died. I have found there is a small joint gap in the skirt fencing where a stoat or weasel could have got in. I've also been surprised that my field birds have been laying so few eggs, so I wonder if they are stressed. Its not very satisfactory having them away from home and not really knowing what is going on, and my dog to alert me to any dangers, but I can't keep cockerels at home.

A stoat wouldn't be able to drag off a carcass because of the pen. It would have to eat the bird inside the pen. The egg issue has been in my garden, not the field.
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dinosaw
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Re: Stoat or weazel?

Post by dinosaw » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:39 pm

Was the Pom out by herself?, Stoats and Weasels like Foxes will kill whatever they find in the hope of storing it away for later, so in theory would have attacked any birds present at the time.
chickenfan
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Re: Stoat or weazel?

Post by chickenfan » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:24 pm

Hi Dinosaw, Pom was with a group of 4 other birds including a cockerel and was the biggest. Perhaps I am worrying unnecessarily about stoats but I haven't had a bird drop down dead before.
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