How to Identify Chicken Predators: Weasels

September 9, 2019

This less common chicken predator is one that shouldn’t be written off just because it’s not as common as the fox, raccoon or birds of prey.  Chicken keepers that have weasels should always be prepared to deal with this vicious predator. This is the fourth installment of our 4-part series in how to identify chicken predators: weasels.

Identifying Weasel Attacks

            Weasels, although small, are notorious for being both ruthless and hard to deal with.  Weasels will leave chickens in a bloody mess.  There will be feathers, blood and chicken carcasses left behind.  Weasels will often kill for fun and attack in large family groups.  A classic sign of a weasel attack is chicken carcasses with ripped off heads that are neatly piled up.  They will also pull the intestines out of chickens and may or may not eat part of them.  Another tell-tale sign of a weasel attack is an acrid odor that lingers in the air.  When you’re trying to identify a predator that attacked your chickens, check out your coop.  If it seems really secure and you can’t figure out how the predator got into the coop, it could be that the predator was a weasel.  They can fit through tiny spaces and will to get to your chickens.

See more posts on how to identify chicken predators:
How to Identify Chicken Predators: Raccoons
How to Identify Chicken Predators: Foxes
How to Identify Chicken Predators: Birds of Prey

Preventing Weasel Attacks

            Weasels can get into coops that are secure by most standards. They will dig under the coop walls.  Prevent them from digging under the walls of the coop by burying the walls of the coop or burying metal wire around the walls of the coop.  Weasels can easily fit through holes that are as small as an inch in diameter.  If you live in an area where ferrets, fishers, mink, or martens live, use a sturdy wire fence with small holes to make your coop.  Normal chicken wire might not hold up to a weasel attack.  Repair any holes in the coop wire as soon as possible with hardware cloth. You can trap weasels using a live trap and cat food, tuna or a can of sardines.  However, weasels are territorial and will almost always return to their home territory after being relocated.

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More about Shelby DeVore

Shelby is an agricultural enthusiast that shares her love of all things farming with her husband and two children on their small farm in West Tennessee. She is a former agriculture education teacher and is also the author of the blog Farminence, where she enjoys sharing her love of gardening, raising livestock and more simple living. You can see more of Shelby's articles at: www.farminence.com

1 Comment
    1. Hello Shelby,

      I loved reading your articles on How to Identify Chicken Predators. I was also wondering what a skunk and coyote kill would be like.
      I live in South Dakota and we also have them as predators. I do think it was a weasel that got my chickens though. I will have to do some work on my chicken house before I get chickens again. Thanks for your info.

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