Saturday, December 08, 2007

they always come back

An advantage of having a few inches of snowfall each day is the ability to see who has been visiting the riverrim after dark. I went out early this morning to open the little hatch door of the hen house. I found these tracks at the gate to the run. Note the "tail" tracks.

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It was easy to see how the predator was trying to find a way in. There were tracks leading out of the stream bed and over to the gate. From there, it went to the left and traveled about 10 feet. At that point, it squeezed under the fence to the garden. The area was only about 3 inches high, and about the same in width.

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Once inside the fence, it made it's way through the kale bed, down to where the potatoes had been growing, and where the fence separates the garden from the chicken run. This small gate is how I have been letting the chickens into the garden to browse since the bobcat has been hanging around. And yes, I also saw bobcat tracks, but they were not around the chicken run.

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The varmint dug under the snow in what looked like an effort to slip under the gate. The hole was big enough...why it didn't go inside the run puzzled me, but there were no tracks inside the run this morning.

From that spot, it ran over into the old corn patch looking all along the fence for a way out. After circling around several times, it backtracked and went out the same way it got into the garden, and exited into the stream bed.

A mink has 5 toes...sometimes toe 1 is the smallest and does not register reliably...so

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I'm guessing a mink. A weasel doesn't like the water much. I've seen mink fighting with muskrat over riverbank territory...so I surmise that perhaps it followed the stream up from the river. Also, the only thing that was consumed of the poor Cochin was her brain. I know this sounds gruesome ...believe me, it looked worse. Besides, I cannot think of another critter that would be so small and so vicious. Anyone care to weigh in with a guess?

12 comments:

Judy said...

When I told the man about the way you found the cochin, that was the first thing he said....Mink. My neighbor has a stay alive trap if you want to trap him and drop him off up river. Notice I said up river as I don't need him down here!!! Let me know about the trap.

Sue said...

I agree- mink. Really fascinating how you followed his whole route through the yard.

I like the new blog banner!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am not good at identifying critter tracks but Julie Zickefoose
is. You might ask her to take a look. Her blog is http://www.juliezickefoose.com/blog/index.php

Very interesting that you were able to follow the critter by its tracks.

wyldthang said...

Hi cyndy! Maybe you could call "him" (ha, "girls" don't eat brains, eh?) Hannibal? Maybe if you moved the latch higher up on the gate he'd have more of a problem getting in--just kidding!

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Wyldthang re latch: Don't know about minks, but sheep can open gates...

cyndy said...

wyldthang re latch:

the latch on the bottom of the gate is for the racoon to use...as for the mink being a "he"...didn't you read the message "he" left in the snow?

judy said...

Yep, I thought mink when I read it too, Now more than ever. Nasty things.

Leigh said...

I think my heart would skip a beat if I found those outside my chicken coop. Interesting for some sleuthing, but worrisome for the chickens.

pacalaga said...

I have heard that minks are mean mean little things. I'm opposed to wearing fur, but I suppose it's convenient for fur-lovers that such nasty little critters are so soft...

Leslie Shelor said...

Mink for sure. I've lost a few chickens over the years to these guys. They don't seem to go for wholesale slaughter, usually just going for one at a time.

Dawn said...

I believe your visiting critter is a mink.

CresceNet said...
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