Weasels are brutal and can kill and eat almost half of their body weight daily. So, do weasels eat chickens?
Weasels can kill and eat chickens and animals up to 10 times their size from the research.
They also have a fast metabolism and are always set off by movement.
If they see something move resembling prey, their instinct to kill sets in, even when they’re full.
Weasels feed on rodents reducing their level of reproduction. As a result, some prefer weasels around their homesteads.
They play an essential role in controlling the rodent population. The chances of attacking the flock are minimal when they feed on rodents.
Fewer rodents invade your coop, barn, or home, helping your garden thrive.
But remember, if the population of rodents lessens, weasels will remain with no food to munch on. Therefore, weasels will turn and eat chickens.
Chicken owners only need to take auxiliary precautions to keep the chickens safe and not harm the weasels.
How Do Weasles Kill?
Weasels are very bright and cunning. Their tricks and cleverness make them predators. Honestly, their prey cannot match their exceptional schemes.
They not only kill for food but also for fun. Weasels kill until nothing is left to kill.
These intelligent animals bite the back of the chicken’s neck, among other parts.
Weasels have slender bodies and can easily pass through chicken wire, narrow holes, and small runways. This can be irritating to poultry owners.
Reasons Why Weasels Kill Chickens
Weasels are the cleverest predators. They are chicken killer experts, and they kill for food and fun.
They’ll turn to your chickens if they don’t see any meat. Weasels prefer to eat small animals, such as rodents to chickens.
However, if they find it harder to get food or become more hungry than usual, they’ll eat your chickens.
Weasels may lack enough food when a mamma weasel has a lot of babies to feed.
They also hunt chickens during winter seasons when another game is rarer.
In addition, while passing by the coop, they may hear the movement of your chickens, which can activate their killer instincts.
As a result, they turn to your flock, killing even adult chickens and leaving them untouched because it’s fun.
What Do Weasels Look Like?
Weasels have long slender bodies with comparatively short legs. They have chestnut-brown fur with wite-cream underpants.
In addition, they’re not much bigger than mice and voles, measuring about 20-27cm long.
The slender body with short legs gives them a unique, rolling gait in which their bodies bend upward.
Besides, they can easily swivel around their prey, delivering a lethal bite to the back of the head and perforating the prey’s spinal cord.
Weasels have long necks, small heads, and rounded ears. They’re closely related to ferrets, polecats, and minks.
How Do I Identify If A Weasel Has Killed My Chicken?
It is straightforward to identify a weasel killing. If a weasel has never attacked your flock, you may wonder, in the first place, the kind of killer predator that leaves carcasses behind.
Their killing instinct is activated by motion when your angry chicken flap and squawk.
They will enter your coop and go on a killing spree. Weasels will even kill more chickens than they can eat. They leave chickens in a bloody mess.
Weasels are most like the culprits if you wake up and find the backs of their chicken heads and necks missing.
They kill on a spree and eat as much as they can. When complete, weasels will dig a hole and store the leftovers, saving them for another day.
You’ll find feathers and chicken carcasses in your coop or areas where your flock forage while free-ranging, mostly when they kill for fun.
A conclusive sign of a weasel attack is a chicken carcass with ripped-off heads that are neatly piled up.
Weasels also pull out the intestines and may not eat them wholly. An acrid odor in the air indicates that a weasel attacked your flock.
Besides, check if your coop has any holes. Weasels can get through tiny holes and kill your chickens.
We recommend sealing any hole in your chicken coop to deter weasels and other small predators from gaining access to your chickens.
If you ignore it, then your flock will pay the price. Note that movements trigger weasels’ instincts to kill.
If your flock flaps around, they will cause the wily predators to kill until there is no chicken left, taking as much as possible to their den for later.
What Else Do Weasels Eat?
Primarily, weasels eat rodents such as mice, rats, and voles. Rodents make up 60-80% of their diet.
However, they also munch on shrews, frogs, fish, chipmunks, birds, and insects.
According to research, weasels eat about half their body weight in meat daily and eat everything that looks like prey to them.
They tend to attack even animals up to 10 times their size. Their killings are always successful because of their cunning and brutal killing techniques.
When they kill, mostly during winter, they’ll save extra food to eat another day. They dig and store the meat near their dens.
How To Protect Chickens From Weasels
Below are some of the ways to keep away weasels.
Creating An Enclosed Run
As much as weasels are nocturnal, they also hunt in day time, particularly during the summer.
If you suspect weasels are in your area, don’t assume your flock will be secure free ranging.
Your chickens will be at a higher risk. At no point should they Sqawk nor flap since they can trigger weasels’ instincts to kill.
Overall, ensure your chicken run is enclosed correctly; no throughways to allow the predators to get in.
You can use an electric fence to deter the weasels. Electric netting prevents weasels from tearing through or under a strand to access your coop.
Secure your Coop
Never assume that a well-enclosed chicken run is enough to protect your flock. Weasels are very clever and will change their trick of accessing the coop.
Therefore, ensure that the pen is also secure.
Raise your coop high, about 8-12 inches. We recommend using stiff wire mesh to seal holes, cracks, weak points, and open spaces near the windows and doors.
This keeps mice and rats from burrowing and making homes beneath your coop. They may invite weasels to the chicken coop.
If you prefer not to raise your coop, dig and bury the hardwire under the ground, discouraging burrowing. Above all, regularly check for weak spots and secure them appropriately.
Using Motion Activated Sprinklers
Most chicken keepers use sprinklers as a scare factor to keep predators away. Motion-triggered sprinklers scare the weasels away.
They automatically turn on when a person or an animal passes by.
Keeping Your Homestead Clean
Most wild animals get attracted to piles of debris, brush, tall grass, and garbage.
Predators may move to temporary or permanent shelters and provide cover; predators will roost while pursuing the flock.
Therefore, clean up your yard! Trim tall grass or the brush, and remove the garbage, wood piles, and motley litter.
A clean home will also help you see wild animals moving around– enabling your reaction on how to scare them away rather than kill them.
Installing Solar LED Deterrent Lights
Solar LED deterrents lights also work well, scaring the weasels away. The two red lights perceive the eyes, mimicking that of a giant predator, so they get frightened and run for safety.
Setting A Catch And Release Trap
There are laws in some countries that protect wild animals, including weasels.
Killing them might be an offense. A proper way to handle them is to set a trap and get them off your property by relocating them to another place.
If you feel uncomfortable trapping them, contact the wildlife service department to help trap the weasels without harming them and moving them miles away from your home.
This way, your flock will be safe and sound.
They majorly feed on rodents. However, weasels turn to your chickens when there is nothing else to eat.
Sometimes, they get on a killing spree for fun, especially when your flock triggers their instincts to kill.
Therefore, you must ensure your chickens are well protected at all times.
We recommend that you follow the protection measures highlighted above.
For instance, ensure that your chicken run and coop are secure, use motion-triggered sprinklers, keep your yard clean, install deterrent lights, and set up live traps.
All these tips will help keep weasels away from other predators.
Also, frequent checkups will help you realize the weakest spots and open places that enable weasels to enter your coop. You can seal them before you incur losses by weasels’ attacks.