Life at the end of the road

July 29, 2016

Pure carnage :-(

Filed under: animals, daily doings — Tags: , , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:56 pm

Any one for hens? having lost over 40 this last few months we’ve had enough of being a food bank to the local mink population. Tuesday night we lost at least 6 despite setting two traps, one of them under the hen house where the wee ***** seem to drag the corpses if possible. I wouldn’t mind if they ate the hens but more often than not there’s a pile of dead ones and then odd one with a few chunks out of its neck. They then seem to return during the day and try to haul them through the fence or decking. This they can’t do so we end with dead hens backsides poking out through the fence or decking. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.

Having arisen early on Wednesday morning to check the traps prior to catching the first ferry all I could do was bag the corpses and leave them for the wife to deal with. Personally I would have sneaked them into the back of the bin lorry that I knew would be awaiting the 8:25 ferry to Raasay Smile The hen lady was having none of it and said she’d get the incinerator going once more. It’s actually quite hard burning hens and in retrospect I should have skinned a few and frozen the meat for bait. There’s have been nothing wrong with eating it right enough, wouldn’t have bothered me but I knew far better than to suggest that to the hen lady Smile

In capable hands

Leaving my son in bed and my wifey to deal with the aftermath I set off for Inverness with me mam who was going to check out some new cars. OK, not actually new but ‘new to her’ if you get my drift, number 1 on the list being a Honda Jazz SI!!! I kid you not, some salesman at Arnold Clarke had convinced my 80 year old mum that what she needed was one of these.

Complete with spoilers 16” wheels, big bore exhaust, hard suspension, and of course the red SI badge on the rear Smile You gotta laugh really. Luckily I managed to talk her out of it and she got a nice EX model next door at Macrae and Dick, it was a nicer colour had leather seats, proper wheels, softer suspension and a panoramic roof. Sadly this took far longer than anticipated and I never made it home Sad smile

Now that wouldn’t normally bother me too much but then wifey phoned me to tell me she’d cornered a mink in the feed store attached to the hen house. She managed to keep it there and summon my son who eventually put a .22 through its throat.

 

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Of course, at the time I didn’t know that and just had visions of wife and child in a confined space with an angry predator and loaded fire arm. OK, it was only an air rifle but you get the gist.

By the time I finally arrived home at 9:30 on Thursday Mr Mink’s relatives had polished off another 6 and the barbecue was going Sad smile

 

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Feathers everywhere, the rest of the flock traumatized and another hens head pulled through the decking.

 

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They must be quite strong because it had broken a screw in the decking trying to drag the hen through it, my son had already repaired it when I arrived home.

Expert Advice

A kind blog reader had already offered expert advice in the art of mink catching, having used traps for sometime without success he’d been told what to do. You get a 6” plastic pipe, seal one end, bait it, smear veg oil around the top and set it at around 45degrees.

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Here’s one my son made out of 110mm pipe with the end of it in a drain that I know the mink use. It yielded no results but methinks the breeze blocks were probably not very ‘mink friendly and the pipe too narrow. So first job on my arrival home was the MkII version

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and a more natural entrance.

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Figuring that the mink had got a ‘taste’ for chicken I hacked one up for bait prior to putting it in the incinerator, wish I’d done more now.

In between the barbecue and setting mink traps I repaired a puncture on my mates quad trailer.

 

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The Land Rover ‘bead breaker and the tube with six patches, methinks it’s time for a new toob Smile

 

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My son and I also cut down much of the ‘cover’ in the hen run. This area has only been fallow since the back end of last year and already it was like a jungle providing perfect cover for our furry friend. on more than one occasion we’d found half eaten dead hens in here.

Friday

I can’t pretend that I wasn’t disappointed this morning to find no mink caught and one trap sprung but empty. A mink had most certainly been the culprit as the whole chicken breast was gone and Molly went daft at the smell but it was a folding cage trap and the wee ***** had squeezed out of it.

So, there was nowt for it, it was time to take my good friend and neighbour Bill Cowie up on his offer of some ‘fen traps’ on loan. Course my mate is ‘just next door’ in the sense that up until recently he was my only neighbour, albeit 6 nautical miles away  https://isleofrona.com/ My good mate also writes an amusing blog,

The Right To Roam

https://isleofronalog.com/2016/07/20/it-is-that-time-of-year-again/

I’m missing something here but if I went into red jacket guys garden in Derby where he said he lives at 8.30pm of an evening  ‘just having a look’ I don’t think he would be too happy……………when asked what he would do in a similar situation, he did say he would call the police …….

Smile Smile Smile

Sadly he’s right and with the ‘Road Equivalent Tariff’ it’ll only get worse  https://www.calmac.co.uk/ret/about Don’t get me wrong since introduced in October of last year ferry traffic has increased by 40% on some routes, which on the whole is great. However it does mean we get 40% more pelters on the roads and 40% more nappies and rubbish left by the roadside, not to mention my favourite, the bags of dog shit left hanging from trees in green bags!!! Then of course there is the cult of the ‘Bin Bag Fairy’ https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/the-first-nappy/

Where was I

Sorry, got distracted there, where was I?

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Oh, that was it, Bill offered me the loan of some ‘Fenn Traps’ and took six hens off our hands, all we had to do was catch them and get them to Rona, as if they hadn’t been through enough recently.

 

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Here’s what happens when you turn your back, the hoodies peck the eggs!!

 

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Not only has the mink decimated our flock https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_(Roman_army) (though that adjective barely compares to our losses), it has reduced the Fladda sea bird population to next to nothing!!! These cliffs and ledges used tom be full of shags, cormorants and fulmar, today we saw 1 lonely shag!

 

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A half hour boat trip later the hens were safely at Rona Lodge

 

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and enjoying their new mink proof run.

Bill as usual gave us the ‘Grand tour’ after which we collected the traps,

 

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let Molly out of hers

 

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and headed home. This time taking a short cut east of Fladda, sure enough, there were no birds there either!

Serious trapping

As soon as we got back home we started setting the traps using some whiffy venison mince that had got overlooked at the back of the fridge for several weeks. Probably better tasting than fresh but not everyone has a septic tank for a stomach Smile

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5 Comments »

  1. So sorry to hear of your loss. Hoodies and mink. What predators take care of mink? Hope you get the lot in the new traps, and egg production can begin again. Arnish Eggs are the best.

    Comment by SOTW — July 30, 2016 @ 8:07 am

  2. Sad for you – and i totally understand. c

    Comment by Cecilia Mary Gunther — July 30, 2016 @ 3:44 pm

  3. So sorry to hear of your chicken woes Paul we had French friends who were tearing their hair out with the same problems. They either build a prison but the little *uggers could find the smallest hole. Or over several weeks found or made one or stopped chickens for a couple of months no food and they moved on. Trapping removed one or two but others would take their place if there was a ready meal. They are a menace.
    It is horrible.

    Comment by Andrew — July 30, 2016 @ 4:35 pm

  4. I wouldn’t purchase from this source, but I might learn whether some of these were available via UK shipment. http://www.snareshop.com/searchprods.asp
    Notice the book about pipe traps!

    Comment by drgeo — July 30, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

    • Wow, that’s some serious amount of traps there Dr G.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 31, 2016 @ 6:11 am


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