June 24, 2011


Terrible news has come from across town.  Three chicken coops have been invaded by a weasel and the flocks had been wiped out.  I got news yesterday from Viola that her flock was attacked in the night.  She had a mixed flock of about 20 girls.  Only 3 escaped harm.  When she arrived at her coop, she noticed bodies and feathers everywhere.  Thankfully, the children were not home.  Not knowing what to do or where to start, she ran to her neighbor’s house.

Together, they began to clean up the coop and run.  As she was picking up the bodies, she had discovered that her beloved rooster, Dusky, was still barely alive.  Slowly dying, she held him.  He was probably responsible for saving the lives of her three remaining girls, her Hamburg and two buff Orpington pullets.  Dusky had always had a sweet spot in Viola’s heart and now, he was near the end.  He passed on as Viola was desperately trying to reach her husband and physician friend to help ease Dusky’s transition.

Thoughts are that the same weasel is responsible for Viola’s tragedy.  The birds were left, no bodies were taken.  As I have been talking with Viola, she believes that the weasel was able to access the chickens through their pop-up door.  You see, Viola and her family are moving a few streets away.  She had been busily setting the new coop at her new location and the old home is now vacant except for the chickens out back.  The dog is away and so are her cats.  They are already at the new house.  The night of the attack, she did not lock the girls up.

Viola’s loss is a terrible reminder on how important it is to lock-up our flocks and do our best to prevent predators.  Weasels can be tough.  Even with doors locked, they can fit through 1 inch openings.  Please take the time today to examine and investigate any tiny openings in and around your coop and run that you have been meaning to fix.  Your flock’s life may depend on it.

Today, I am helping Viola to rebuild her flock.  Her remaining girls are safe in her garage.  She is taking the Hamburg to the vet today for a foot injury that most likely occurred in the invasion.  She is placing an order for new chicks and we will be taking a visit over to my friend’s farm where she raises Silkies.  I am happy to be there for Viola who inspired me to take the first step on my own adventures with backyard chickens.


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19 thoughts on “Weasels”

  1. I know, I was at a complete loss for words and what to do! I thought by blogging about it today, maybe we could help save someone else's flock. I cannot imagine what she is going through.

  2. Poor chickens and my heart goes out to Viola. Predators each have their own attack styles and some just go on a rampage. Raccoons are another one that seem to get into a killing frenzy.

    I hope the chicks help mend her heavy heart.

  3. Thank you to all of you to post such sweet thoughts for Viola. I will be sure to pass each and everyone along to her. Be sure to tuck your flock in tonight! Hugs 🙂

  4. Thanks Deb. Sad news but she has told me now what she plans to do differently this time around. I would like to feature her again on a Tour de Coop. Hopefully those cute fuzzy chicks will take the edge off her sadness.

  5. When I was little..my mema would go into the new hen house with a lantern at night..papaw would go around with a flashlight nailing up boards over all the places when light was escaping.This is why weasels and coons. We still do this when putting them in a new house.
    I am sooo sorry for her.Praise God the children didn't find them.Your such a good friend to be helping her out!

    Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  6. OMG – as much as I feel my coop/run are predator proof…..I still worry about that happening here.
    Pass on my sympathy and concern to Viola. She has tons of chicken keeping support out here.
    Thank you for reminding us to always be vigilant.

  7. Debra, I certainly will let her know. Don't forget about burying the hardware cloth soon too! These predators are vicious around here.

    Thanks for your support Teresa. I appreciate your comments 🙂

  8. I suspect that what attacked the flocks was a fisher cat. They tend to kill every animal in sight – other predators will take their dinner and leave. Fishers will kill and then take the carcasses and store them in a tree. Fishers used to be deep woods animals but have discovered how abundant food is in the suburbs – especially domestic cats, dogs and chickens. Fishers can climb fences and rip off hawk netting over your coop. I've more about them on my blog. http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2009/07/unwelcome-visitor/

  9. Terry, you could be right, arent' they also in the weasel family? They did finally do a postmortem and found puncture holes on the necks. Her Hamburg is now on antibiotics for a bite on her ankle. Fishers are vicious. I had one here lurking around my coop during last winter. It woke me when it started "crying". It was so eerie! I flipped on the outside light just in time to see it slinking down the driveway. Thank you for your link and more great info about this subject! So glad that you stopped by 🙂

  10. Weasels, as small as they are will kill everything in sight just for fun. They usually grab the head first ( sometimes removing it) and enter the chicken from the vent eating only the intestines usually.. They waste everything else- sometimes just killing and killing for the playful sport of it..They are VERY clever, can flatten themselves to fit through the smallest cracks and are very fast and agile.. I just lost three of my favorite hens this week, sadly ( because I'm a wildlife rehabber) I've been told they are impossible to catch ( I can assure you of that!) and that poinson may be the most viable option.. Its also recommended that the entire coop be moved….Fischers usually tear the face off their preyto disable and unarm it (sorry for being graphic) but they usually eat the head,sometimes wasting the body, but more often eating it.They usually stick to woodland prey and are far too large to fit in the average coop. Weasels however will kill an entire flock…


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