Mink Attack on Chickens
by Tom Tomlinson
Reports of fox attacks are increasing, but a recent predator attack on chickens by mink caught my attention. Sally had six hens and after receiving a visit during the night by an unseen attacker, sadly two of the hens had been killed.
This is the first strange part, as only two of her hens were killed even though the predator had managed to get right into the Hen House. Fox's don?t usually stop their devastation unless disturbed.
Secondly the attacker partially ate on the spot, this is also unusual as fox's due tend to drag their prey away.
The third and strangest thing was - there was no clue to how a Fox could have got into the chicken coop. We know they can get into small spaces but this one would have had to have been teleported in this time!
Was it Rats? No - these were big bluebell hens. Did the hens die naturally and eaten by other rats, mice or the other hens? - No there were no droppings - very confusing!
So we set up a Jessie's Hens predator cage at Sally's. On the very first night the predator cage was set we captured a very large male mink. This was a surprise to all of us as Mink usually tend to live near water (like lakes, rivers or even over filled ditches) and Sally was nowhere near water. Mink are vicious little predators and will attack and kill hens in the same manner as Foxes do and will leave the same devastation.
What is the answer? - Prevention, if you live within half a mile of any water source, you can assume a mink may visit your area. Especially when with food is harder come by in the Winter or in the Spring when there are extra mouths to feed.
Your hen house is a live larder for all predators. Make sure you check you hen houses regularly, close any gaps in wood or runs and make sure that nest boxes which allow collection from the outside the chicken coop are not easily opened.
Take care because the scene after a predator attack on poultry is awful!