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My neighbour has just had two of her chickens killed inside their run, both corpses left in situ. 
The large chicken was killed in the henhouse, throat ripped and left there. The smaller bantam was headless, partially pulled under the edge of the run where a very slight dip had been scratched out, the body became wedged and eventually abandoned.
Obviously not the handiwork of a fox, my neighbour went online and has decided a stoat or weasel was the attacker. I have seen small, elongated, brown animals running across the road locally, and always assumed they were stoats or weasels, I cannot tell the difference from a distant and a fleeting glimpse, but have never heard of them killing chickens.
Very upsetting because the young daughter found the carnage when she went to check for eggs.
Hopefully, the predator having been thwarted will not come back.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    They'll keep coming back. Weasels [in particular] can get through very small spaces.
    It's just how it is if you keep chickens. We had one at the last house who used to hide inside a piece of drainpipe to get rabbits as they went by. 
    The only thing guaranteed to work is electric fencing. That was the regular advice from poultry farmers up here who showed their stock at agricultural shows.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 846
    edited December 2022
    I had a cracking view of a stoat a few weeks ago in the garden centre of B&Q Dundee of all places!
    I was the only customer there, and just caught a flash of brown running along a row of plants on a shelf about 3 foot in the air. My first thought was a rat, as i was in the middle of a city. As i turned the corner into another row of plants, i got a clear view as it ran across the ground about 10 feet away. It was brown and white as it was changing into its winter colouring. A fantastic wildlife encounter.  :)
    Sunny Dundee
  • My neighbour has already put lumps of granite rock along the bottom of the chicken run wire.
    I will warn her to be more aggressive in her precautions. I was upset to hear what had happened because I buy my eggs from her.
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,240
    From the few I've seen, stoats are more grey in colour, whereas weasels will usually have a more pronounced white 'shirt front'.  Stoats are smaller, too.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,129
    edited December 2022
    Um … I think you’re confusing them @nick615 because you’re in Ireland where there are no weasels … only Irish stoats, which are sometimes wrongly called weasels by the Irish.

    Weasels are quite a bit smaller than stoats and have shorter tails. 

    Stoats always have a black tip to their tails, which are longer relative to their body length than a weasels’s tail. 

    The line where the white belly meets the rusty coloured coat is wavy on a weasel and straight on a stoat. 

    And if all else fails just remember that weasels are weasily recognised whereas stoats are stoatally different.  😉 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    I was going to do that joke @Dovefromabove :D
    We used to have a little family of them where I worked. The cover and habitat in the fields there were perfect for them. Thinking back - they may have been stoats rather than weasels as they were bigger, but I don't think they had the black tail tip, so maybe not. A long time ago though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The ones I have seen running across the road in front of my car were definitely stoats. 
    Where we live is amongst fields with lots of banks, hedges, and undergrowth so ideal habitat for wildlife.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,954
    That's suitable habitat for both, but it's slightly irrelevant. They're both very skilled hunters, although in my experience, weasels are the ones more likely to tackle larger prey. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 3,015
    Apropos of nothing really, I took a photograph, quite accidentally, of a stoat defecating on the edge of the water feature in the garden. Apparently it's rare to get that type of pic. 
    I also took one of a stoat dragging a mousetrap, with a mouse, under the edge of a raised veg bed. 
  • You were lucky to have your camera with you. So often there are chance moments but no camera.
    I saw an elongated small black animal loping along the bottom of a bank when driving home one evening. No idea what it could be. Checked online and found it was a mink. They used to record any seen but have now stopped. They used to trap them but that seems to have stopped due to lack of funding. 
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