Prized for its luxurious, chocolate-brown fur, the American mink occupies semi-aquatic habitats across most of North America. Like its relatives the otter, fisher and wolverine, the roughly cat-sized mink is a member of the weasel family. Strictly carnivorous, mink feed on a variety of terrestrial and aquatic animals, primarily small mammals, fish and crayfish. Ferocious predators, mink will not shy away from attacking animals larger than themselves, occasionally raiding farms for domestic poultry. Mink kill by biting their prey through the neck or skull. A chicken bearing the marks of small, closely-spaced canine teeth -- particularly on the sides of the head or neck -- often signifies mink predation.
Things You'll Need
- Chicken coop
- Metal flashing or tin
- 1-inch-gauge fencing
- Live trap (optional)
- Rodent bedding (optional)
- Sardines (optional)
Physically exclude mink from poultry housing by utilizing a coop built on a cement pad, with a roof and lockable door or latch. Cover the lower interior walls with metal flashing or tin to prevent entry from mink chewing through soft wood. Similarly, cover any holes or openings larger than one inch.
Protect poultry behind a perimeter fence or within an outdoor pen during the day. Utilize small gauge (less than 1 inch) fencing, approximately 5 feet in height. Bury the fencing a foot underground or fold outward to prevent tunneling under.
Secure chickens in their coop before dusk, releasing them well after dawn, to minimize encounters during the mink's peak hunting times.
Feed chickens only in their outdoor pen, not their coop. Mink often use burrows or gnawed openings created by rats and mice seeking leftover feed. Keep rodents away from the chicken coop.