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.