I don’t know if it was divine intervention or lucky timing on our part, but we narrowly escaped disaster with our chickens last week. After coming home from church, we discovered a set of small tracks throughout the chicken run – and even up the ladder leading into the coop!
It turns out, a weasel had paid the chickens a visit, but I think we happened upon the scene before any carnage could start. Needless to say, the chickens have since been confined in the safety of their coop for the last week as we try to rid ourselves of the varmint.
I know a lot of chicken-raisers say you can live-trap and relocate weasels, but considering their voracity and the damage they’ll do to the flock, I’m not fooling around. We found a couple of big rat-traps in the barn when we first moved here – still in their packaging. That was our starting point. Rather than setting the traps and hoping for the best, I made a couple of modifications to (hopefully) increase our odds.
With some of the scrap wood left around from the renovations, I made two boxes – as wide and slightly longer than the rat-traps. I drilled a large hole in one end of the box and several small holes on the other.
I also made a small change to the rat-trap itself. I cut the lid off a tin can and pop-riveted it to the trigger of the trap. This makes the trigger almost as big as the business-end of the trap itself.
The idea is to direct the weasel directly onto the trigger of the trap via the large hole. The other end is baited with a raw chicken liver. If (and when) the weasel investigates the bait, there’s nowhere for him to step but on the modified trigger of the trap.
We set the two traps around the coop where it’s tracks are concentrated. After a light snow, we can see that it also visits our barn with some frequency. For the chicken’s sake, I hope we get it soon.
Speaking of which – the girls surprised us with an early Christmas gift yesterday: our first egg!
Not sure who was responsible, but considering the cool temperatures and being cooped up for the last week, we didn’t expect this at all. Now we just wait for Egg No. 2 so Vanessa and I don’t have to split the first one.
So interesting!!!!!!!! I’ll be watching for the outcome!!!!! We just caught 2 mice in the basement!!!!!! 😦 🙂
Mylanta..I can hear Vanessa squealing with delight upon finding the egg! I do hope your crafty trap rids you of those pesky rodents…. Love you both so much!
Maybe you should get a patent for this trap! Longing to see what happens next:):)
This brings back memories of when we had a herd of Rhode Island Reds.
I fondly (just kidding) remember my father dumpser diving behind the local IGA for tossed vegetables to supplement the girls diet. We also raised chickens for meat and had an incident with a mink that cleaned out much of one summers production.
Hoping everything went over well with the weasel traps! My parents have a nice flock of chickens and every now and then they have issues with racoons, opossums, and the occasional stray cat trying to get into the coop.
And YAY for your first egg!!! 🙂
Not sure about catching weasels, but a small piece of fudge candy (Do they sell fudge in the USA?) attracts mice quickly, it cannot be slipped off the mouse trap-bait release spike easily, meaning mice need to tug it free and that’s what makes it so deadly. You’re chickens do look well, its nice to see chickens given some love and respect, Regards a Limey from England, Respects to all and an Happy New Year 2016.
Thanks for that, Bob. For what it’s worth, the weasel has proved to be smarter than I gave it credit and the trap has yet to serve any purpose other than decoration. That being said, we haven’t lost any of our birds to predators – including the weasel. From the tracks in the snow, there’s evidence that it still calls our farm home, but I’ve been told that weasels can become conditioned to people and livestock to the point where they pretty well ignore our hens. That’s what I’m going with. Hopefully it will agree to that as well. Cheers.