Protecting chickens from weasel attacks in a coop is critical for one primary reason; a weasel in your coop will often kill every chicken inside. If it doesn’t, it will soon return to finish the job.
Protecting chickens from a second weasel attack.
Many of the myths about weasels make them seem far more difficult to battle than they are in reality.
Weasel attack myth #1: Weasels kill for pleasure and sport.
Weasel attacks are not made by psychopathic, blood-thirsty miniature monsters that kill for sport. A weasel in a chicken coop will kill as many birds as possible to remove the dead for storage.
The problem is, the entry point the weasel used to access your pen is probably only just large enough for the predator to use. Unable to remove the dead, the weasel often leaves a bloody pile of bodies bearing some unusual-looking wounds.
Your coop has now become the weasel’s food storage area. It will return, killing any remaining chickens and consuming those already dead.
It’s important not to anthropomorphize predators, especially weasels. The weasel doesn’t know what a coop is or why so many chickens are in one place. A weasel in your pen has no other desire than to hunt and meet the calorie requirements of its (relatively high) metabolic needs.
Now that you understand why the weasel kills and leaves birds behind, you’ll understand how to prevent a second attack.
Related: Read this article on how to kill a fox that is eating your chickens.
Weasel attack myth #2: Weasels drink chicken blood.
Weasels kill by wrapping their bodies around their prey and biting the back of the head or the neck. A pierced skull or spinal cord injury is a standard indicator of a weasel attack. The resulting blood loss is neither sucked nor lapped by the weasel. Instead, if undisturbed, this is where the weasel begins consuming its prey.
If the weasel has enough time before you discover the attack on your coop, it will eat its way down from the wound.
Weasel attack myth #3: Weasels dance.
Weasels do not perform a “war dance” or a “death dance.” The darting, hopping from side to side, and incredible twisting a weasel makes is simple pre-attack behavior. Like a mugger checking his surroundings for witnesses before approaching a victim, all predators engage in pre-attack behaviors
Weasels use these motions to confuse their prey and determine where areas are open for a strike. Then, they will continue these wild gyrations, and keep closing the distance to their target, right until they strike.
How to confirm a weasel attack killed your chickens.
The only way to protect your flock from another attack is to confirm the attacker’s identity.
Weasel victims will be inside the coop, with bites only to the neck and back of the head. And, a weasel will only consume the head and neck.
It wasn’t a weasel if any birds were missing or any bite wounds found on any other part of the body.
Protecting chickens from a second weasel attack.
Take the following steps to prevent and stop further attacks from the same weasel.
Locate where the weasel gained entrance to the coop.
The weasel could have come in from any opening the size of a quarter or more. So grab a quarter before you begin your search and use it to confirm the potential danger of any gap you find.
Before scanning the outside of the coop, check the walls and floors inside. There is a good chance the weasel did not realize it could not extract its prey through the opening it came in. But, if you are lucky, the weasel left one bird near that opening.
Decide if you are protecting chickens or getting sweet, sweet revenge.
If your goal is only protecting your chickens from further weasel attacks, seal up any holes you discover.
If your goal is to catch and kill the intruder who slaughtered your flock, it’s time to set a trap.
Killing the weasel that attacked your chickens.
The surest method of preventing a second weasel attack on your coop is to kill the one that got in last night. Weasels are highly territorial animals. The size of their territory (20-30 acres) and their defensive nature, the exhibit protecting that land mean there’s probably only one weasel living within range of your coop.
That one weasel knows there is food stored in your coop, and it will return. Remember, it was unable to remove anything it killed the night before. So if it ate last night, it is hungry again. It is famished if it didn’t get a chance to eat last night.
Guess where it is going tonight?
If you set the right trap in the right place, to its death.
Kill the weasel, not your pets!
A squirrel tube trap is the best trap to use when killing an invading weasel. Buy the one below, and you can safely reuse it inside the coop as an emergency device later.
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You can either set the trap outside or inside. It’s designed to prevent your chickens, cats, or dogs from coming anywhere near the dangerous parts. However, setting inside so that the weasel comes in the same hole it entered before is recommended.
Follow the instructions to arm the trap, and place it singly against the opening in the wall. The scent of food (or leaving a chicken carcass near the end of the tube facing away from the hole) will help entice the weasel to make its entry.
Once the weasel enters the tube and steps on the pan in the middle, the weasel is killed. Disposal is simple, and the trap and be reset and reused immediately. Your only job now is to seal up that last hole.
Other ways of protecting chickens.
If you can safely hunt foxes, my book tells you everything you need to know to remove them at night—when they are most active.
I also highly recommend https://www.backyardchickens.com/ as the ultimate source for flock protection and security.