Raising backyard chickens comes with many dangers. One of them is the predators that prey on the chickens. One of the predators to be aware of is a weasel. These are small and quick animals that eat other animals. Is one of the animals that weasels eat is a chicken?
So, do weasels eat chickens? Yes, weasels will eat chickens. Chickens aren’t their primary food source. Weasels will usually prey on rodents and other small animals. When these small animals become scarce, weasels will start to look elsewhere for food. If they see chickens, they will attack and kill them to survive.
Do Weasels Kill Chickens?
Weasels do kill chickens, but only when their main source of food isn’t available. This food source includes mice, rats, and other small rodents.
These creatures don’t usually hunt chickens since chickens are much bigger than them. Weasels also know that they might get hurt by the chicken.
Out of desperation, weasels will attack and kill the chickens. This is especially true if the weasel is a female with young ones. They will kill the chickens to keep their young alive.
When weasel attack, they will bite the back of the chicken’s neck. Their long teeth will puncture the neck with just two bites. This is the reason why most people assume weasel suck blood from their prey.
Can Weasels Get Through Chicken Wire?
When it comes to weasels, the chicken wire doesn’t do much to protect the chickens. The problem with chicken wires is the open gaps.
Weasels have a slender body that allows them to squeeze through a gap in the chicken wire.
A 2×4 chicken wire fence is too large, and the weasel can fit through it without any issue.
However, you can prevent the weasels from getting into the coop by placing hardware cloth around the entire perimeter of the coop.
This is the hardware cloth that I recommend, which you can buy from Amazon. It has very small holes that will deter the weasels from trying to get into the coop.
How To Protect Chickens From Weasels
Installing a chicken wire and also using hardware cloth will help protects the chickens, but that won’t be enough. If there are no small rodents available, weasels will try to do anything to get into the coop.
Therefore, extra measurements must be taken. This means the chickens should be brought into the chicken coop every night. Weasels will usually hunt at night for prey and a chicken that is not secured, it will make them an easy target.
Since there are other predators that hunt at night, a way to ensure that the culprit is the weasels that killed the chicken is to look at the biting.
Weasels use two methods to kill their prey. The most common one is biting the nape of the neck which leads to a severed head or beheading.
In addition, the intestines and other organs will get pulled along with the neck. Weasels are brutal when they kill chickens.
Place The Floor Of The Chicken Coop Higher
When the floor of the coop is higher than the ground, it will prevent mice, rats, and other small rodents from gaining entry to the coop.
Weasels follow these small mammals, and they will try to get into the coop if there are rodents in there.
By lifting the coop about 6 inches off the ground, it will be enough to keep rats, mice, and the weasels out of the coop.
Seal All The Gaps In The Chicken Coop
Weasels have a slender body which allows them to squeeze through the narrowest gap. Also, they can squeeze through cracks and holes as well if it’s not larger than their skull.
Therefore, check for holes and cracks on the side, top, and bottom of the coop. Weasels are good climbers and able to get into the coop from the top.
As for the fencing, bury it about 12 inches deep into the ground. Weasels have claws that give them the ability to dig into the ground quickly.
Use Motion Activated Sprinklers
Sprinklers will go off when the weasel or other predators come near. Upon getting sprayed with water, the weasel will take off running.
It’s best to place them all around the fence, and when it sprays water, it should cover all ground from sprinkler to sprinkler.
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler is a bestseller on Amazon. It’s able to detect motion day and night, which means it offers full protection for your chickens.
Use Electrical Fence
An electrical fence is an effective method of keeping the weasels out of the chicken coop.
Make sure the electrical fence only puts out enough volts that will stun them. Too much volt will kill the weasel and that could attract other predators to your chicken coop.
Patriot PE2 Electric Fence Energizer is a product that I recommend for keeping small animals like weasels away from the coop. It comes with an adjustable voltage, so you can control how much shock you want to use.
Set A Trap For The Weasel
The last method is placing a trap for the weasel. Most people don’t want to use a trap since it’s inhumane. It will cause the weasel to suffer a lot of pain before dying.
Therefore, you can use a cage trap to catch the weasels. It will hold them in there securely until you’re available to release them back into the woods.
What Other Predators Eat Chickens?
Owls are a danger to chickens as they can swoop and kill them within seconds. This predator only comes out at night to hunt, but they do hunt during the day as well. If a chicken is within range, the owl will swoop down and kill the chicken. For an adult chicken, they will cut the head off the chicken and take away just the head. For smaller chickens, the owl will take the whole chicken back to its nest.
Foxes are another predator dangerous to chickens. These animals hunt at night and will eat just about anything they can kill. A coop that’s not secured, a fox can easily get in and attack the chickens. Foxes will attack and kill all the chickens that they can catch. They will then take one chicken with them back to their den.
Skunks are opportunist eaters and will eat chickens. This animal will usually come out at night to hunt, but they are known to be active during the day as well. They will usually only go after the chicken if they know they can make an easy kill. Chickens that are left to roam freely have a higher chance of getting attacked by a skunk.
While chickens are not the primary food source for weasels, they will try to attack and kill the chickens if no other food is available. Make sure that the chicken coop is set up to prevent the weasels from entering.