Putting the hens to bed during the winter months is quite a job, one minute you’re cleaning and filling drinkers, the next you’re having trouble seeing in the dimmming light, the days are so short and we’re not even into December yet! We have a small group of bantams (10) down the bottom of the garden, putting them to bed is something of a trial. Having only recently added some youngsters, there is always squabbling as to who perches where. In addition we also have a brahma cross male who roosts in the same coop, he recently acquired an admirer, a lovely female Lohmann Brown, so you see it can get a little difficult.
This particular evening we had the usual commotion, only this time they were jumping out of the coop, the nearby young brahmas were going bersek, wanting to get out of their run. ‘What now’ I thought, it certainly sounded and looked urgent. Brian and I had a look around, but could see nothing untoward and we began encouraging them back to their coops again. A complete waste of time, they were having none of it! I left Brian to it, whilst I went back up the hill to attend to the marans, japanese bantams and our other bantams. Not long after I left he called me back to tell me what he saw. Behind the bantam coop and shed was the remains of an egg, in the torchlight Brian had seen a weasel carrying an egg in it’s mouth, it apparently dropped the egg to the ground and starting eating it. The odd thing was it wasn’t that bothered by the torchlight, but unfortunately it had disappeared by the time I got there.
So that’s what it was all about, no wonder they wanted to leave and fast. Later the same evening Oliver, one of our cats went out for the night and next morning he left us his prize, the weasel, left on the doorstep. Well done lad. I’ve always been taken by how small they are, it’s hard to believe the damage they can do. Seeing this little dead body reminded me of the terrible damage a weasel can do to hens.
A while back, it must be around 6 or 7 years ago now, the lower bantam coop had in those days a lovely group of Silver Laced Wyandottes, with a very loyal cockerel called Sampson. It was a grey February morning and I heard Sampson creating very loudly. I hurried down to the coop to find Sampson and his girls all out in the run cackling like mad. I opened the coop door to find blood in both nestboxes. It seemed this weasel had crept into the coop to find two females both in nestboxes, essentially trapped in the coop, very easy for any weasel.
He even managed to drag the bodies outside and tried to pull them underneath the shed. As the gap was less that 2 inches, he didn’t manage that, but both bodies were firmly stuck underneath and took quite a bit of effort to remove. The following day we heard a very loud high pitched screech from our neighbour’s croft, it slowly became apparent what the noise was. We saw Oliver our male black cat appearing through the long grass of our neighbour’s croft with a weasel in his mouth. Justice done I think!