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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
As I put my hens to bed tonight I noticed my 5 yr old silkie (Pepsi) had been dragged under the enclosure fence and most of her head and all of her throat had been ripped out!!
There's nothing bigger than a mouse hole in the enclosure fence so it wasn't a fox...any ideas what did this?...and how do I kill it?
I imagine it'll have a taste for chicken now and will probably return until there's nothing left unless I stop it.
I would appreciate any help.
Thanks
Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm from northeast England,we have stoat,fox,badger,buzzard,red kite and polecat to contend with here...not very good odds if you're a chicken!
 

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Stoat or polecat. They can grab through wire if there's enough room for their paws to get in.

I've gone for 1/2" by 1" weld mesh on my run, dug it into the ground about 1/2 a foot and curled it into a skirt to stop the diggers.

Although I'm more scared of the cats getting my girls where I am.

I would suggest double-layering the existing wire some distance from the original wire to stop things reaching in. Polecats and stoats are not the easiest to catch.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help Emma,we get a lot of stoat around here, I'll try burying chicken wire around the borders,can't be going through the daily chore of picking up my headless hens!
 

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Oh I've tried to make my pen like a fortress as much as possible :) I used to keep rabbits and although my big rabbit used to chase predators away, I have an idea what works in the UK. I didn't even consider chicken wire when planning my run, it's useless here. I have slate and more weld mesh dug in under the doorway. I can stand up straight in my pen, and to keep hawks etc out I have corrugated clear plastic for a roof, on an angle for when it inevitably snows. It can be brushed off then.

We're in wales, on a hill. It WILL happen.

Quite happy to share tips on predator-proofing, just hope you don't have anymore visits :/

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You could electric fence it instead? I'm not going that far as my birds are in the garden and we have kids visiting regularly.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's been back!..blue haze bit the dust today.

Can't do anything until I'm off work at the weekend, then I'm on weasel patrol...the local gamekeeper has loaned me some fenn traps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just thought I'd update the thread,the morning after the 2nd hen got killed I smeared some of my ferret's poo around the hole that the stoat was coming thru and its not been back since...I think it must be the same idea as spreading lion poo around your garden to keep cats out..if they think something bigger is lurking about,they'll move on!
It could be coincidence but after googling stoat behaviour I believed it would just keep returning until there were no hens left so if anyone is in a similar situation,it's gotta be worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I suppose looking on the bright side,it's freed up some space..I can get some younger birds now as the silkie hadn't laid for a long while and she was a miserable,grumpy sod!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well it's back,despite my efforts the stoat has returned and its hungry!

Another 2 hens lost their heads today,my best layer,Betty the blue haze and one of my little cuckoo pekins - another really good layer.

Does anyone know if these little horrors are scared of anything?..in the way that cats don't like orange peel etc?...I'd prefer to see it dead but I won't have any chickens left at this rate!

Is there an animal I could put in with my chickens that would scare it off?...I thought my turkey might have had a go at it but I guess she's fair game too.

If all else fails my shotgun certificate should be through in about a month and I'll lie in wait for it and gladly shoot it dead.

This time last month I had 19 birds,now I'm down to 12 nervous,scared chickens that aren't doing very well at all!

Regards.
 

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Get a big rat trap. No messing around with one of those! Paws, nose, anything in the way gets snapped, or cut off. I have caught raccoons, weasels, and fox in them. Kills them outright sometimes, other times I have found a paw or part of a snout in it. Whatever the parts belong to never came back to claim theme, lol. I completely free range during the day, plenty of shelter for the chickens to hide under from flying predators. My entire yard is enclosed with a 6' privacy fence. Any predator that gets inside is fair game for the shotgun.
 
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