Many farmers encourage weasels on their farms. After all, these long-bodied, short-legged mammals kill rats and rodents, which are a menace to our food grains.
However, if you have a chicken coop, you may not want a weasel around. Weasels could easily kill chickens and once they develop a taste for chicken meat, they may keep coming back.
So how do you keep weasels out of your coop? Can your rooster protect your flock from these predators? Let us find out.
Can A Rooster Kill A Weasel?
A large rooster might try to warn his hens about a weasel attack. It might even try to fend off the weasel. Roosters have sharp claws and beaks, which they won’t hesitate to use on a predator such as a weasel.
However, weasels are skilled climbers and fast runners. Their flexible bodies allow them to slip in and out of small spaces with ease. They also hunt in families and tend to go on killing sprees as they need to eat a lot in the winter. A large weasel could also easily kill a small rooster.
Do Weasels Eat Roosters? Do Weasels Eat Chickens?
Yes, weasels are considered one of the most dangerous predators of chickens and roosters. Although they mainly feed on rats, voles, and mice, they could develop a taste for other meats, including poultry, especially if their other food is scarce. In the absence of rats, weasels could start stealing and eating chicken eggs. They may even carry off a small chicken or rooster.
Once a weasel has tasted chicken meat, it will develop a taste for it.
Weasels have to eat a lot in winter because they have very little fur and fat on their bodies. Consequently, they need to eat almost half of their body weight in calories, daily. This means they are always on the hunt. If your coop is easily accessible, a weasel could easily enter inside and start killing roosters and chickens.
Weasels also like to hoard food to eat later. It isn’t too surprising that after a weasel has killed and eaten a couple of chickens, it might kill some more to store the dead birds in their dens to feast upon later.
Can a Rooster Protect Your Flock From Weasel Attacks?
A large rooster such as a Brahma, Cochin, or Jersey Rooster might try to defend itself and its flock from weasels. It might flap its wing and peck at the weasel with its beak and claws. However, weasels are fast runners and climbers.
They can easily slip out of tight spots and may escape the coop only to try again later. Weasels also usually come out at night when the birds are sleeping and are usually more vulnerable. (Do note that weasels can hunt during the day as well since they have to eat to maintain their daily calorie intake to survive the harsh winter.).
Also Read: Can a Rooster Break a Hen’s Neck
Will a Weasel Steal Hen Eggs?
While weasels mostly eat rats, voles, insects, frogs, and small birds, they may turn to hens and chicken eggs if other food is scarce.
Weasels need to eat a lot of food and as a result, they are constantly hunting. If your coop has gaps or is easy for a weasel to climb into, it will gladly eat the eggs and the birds.
Once a weasel has developed a taste for chicken meat and eggs, it will come in again and again to eat the remaining birds and eggs.
What Does a Chicken Killed by a Weasel Look Like?
Weasels leave behind a lot of mess and gore after going on a killing spree. You might see feathers, innards, chicken heads, and feet lying all around the coop after a weasel attack. Weasels search everywhere for prey and if there is snow on the ground, you will see weasel tracks outside the coop.
Weasels are small but they can do a lot of damage. They can easily enter the coop in large packs and attack the birds. They are skilled climbers and their long, flexible bodies enable them to easily enter tight gaps.
Weasels aren’t satisfied killing one of two chickens only. After they have eaten their fill and drank the blood, they might try to carry some chicks back to their dens. Weasels are known to stockpile almost 30-40 dead animals in their dens for lean winter periods when food is scarce.
One surefire sign of a weasel attack is a pile of chicken heads lying around the coop’s floor. You might also find chicken intestines lying around, as most weasels don’t eat the innards. You will also find chicken feet and feathers all over the coop.
Will Weasels Eat Dead Chickens?
Yes, weasels will gladly eat dead chickens. These animals have very little fur and fat on their bodies. So, to survive the harsh winter, they need to eat daily. They also eat dead prey.
Once a weasel has accessed your chicken coop, it will go on a killing spree. It might eat a couple of hens and eggs and then carry some of the dead birds to their dens.
This may not always be feasible, though, since they may have to move through tiny gaps and even scale walls. If that is the case, they may leave the dead birds behind and try to come back later to the coop to eat their previous kill.
Also Read: Can a Rooster Kill a Hen?
How to Keep Your Chickens and Roosters Safe from Weasels?
Here are some tips to help you keep your chicken coop safe from weasels:
Modify Your Fences
To prevent weasels from entering your coop, add some reinforcements to it.
- Seal and caulk all the gaps in your coop walls. Install sturdy wire fences with tinier gaps to deter weasels, ferrets, and raccoons. Add heavy crates and boxes to block the gaps that you cannot seal.
- Use automatic doors for the coop that shut down after dusk and open only at a pre-set time in the morning.
- Bury metal wire under the fence around the coop to deter weasels from digging and climbing under the fence.
- Remember, normal chicken wire cannot hold back weasels. Use hardware cloth covering around the coop’s windows and all around the coop. These are virtually indestructible.
Set Traps to Capture Weasels
Use some smelly bait, like tuna or sardines, and set weasel traps like this one inside the coop. This will trap the weasels. Try to relocate the trapped weasels at least 10 miles away from your area.
Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Install motion-activated sprinklers around your coop. The spray of water will condition the weasels to avoid the area around your chicken coop.
Key Takeaways – Can a Rooster Kill a Weasel?
There is a small chance that a large rooster could fend off a weasel if it is hunting alone and not in a pack. However, the chances of roosters getting killed in weasel attacks are higher.
While weasels mostly won’t eat chickens, they might do so if their other food (rats, voles, etc.) is scarce. Since weasels need to eat a lot to survive the harsh cold, they could attack your chickens for survival.
We hope this guide gives you an insight into the weasel’s dietary habits and keeps your flock safe.