Predator attacks and identifying them

Monek Marie
Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

I live near a creek so I have every predator imaginable. I have learned to be prepared for most beasts until this last week.

I went out to feed my chickens in the am and could see loose birds and ducks and then I saw my pens. Two had been overturned and one had the roof ripped off. I was lucky - only 4 dead but of course my favorite birds. My first thought with pens being flipped was a bear or a herd of raccoons.

I had to retire one pen and fixed other two the best I could and wrapped wire around them to help keep whatever it was away. The next morning the wire had been removed and hardwire ripped out of the smaller pens and doors ripped off. My smaller new birds were the ones being attacked. The second night was horrible. I actually do not have a total on the birds and many were being raised for meat birds. They were just attacking the small chickens and left the ducks and rabbits pens alone

I could not find foot prints but knew it was not a weasel or mink but the pen damage was too much for a raccoon or group of them. I talked to friends and we decided it was a fisher, one of the nastiest predators you can have. They will kill pets and small livestock, even pigs. Thye usually do not leave until everything is dead. They are protected here so I had to ask permission and get a permit to hunt it. That takes too long when your animals are being brutally killed.

I had friends take some of my birds and moved a few into the basement for a few days

I now have a exterior fence surrounding my animal area and am still redoing the smaller pens - reinforcing them. I also changed my rabbit area and made it more secure.

Part of me would love a livestock dog but it just does not fit in to the plan right now.

I have heard Turkeys and Donkeys help keep some predators at bay or even a goose.

Its been 5 days since I have had any injuries but I know it will be back. The last night after I removed most of the animals it just smashed the already damaged pens more. I have redone most pens or they sit empty until I know they are safe.Its looking a a bit like Fort Knox in my backyard now.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    @Denise Grant My condolences on your losses. Can you run an electric fence around the perimeter of your cages/pens? They are not that expensive. You can get ones that will run off a solar charger if you are too far away from power.

    A large, older gander is a good idea if you can acquire one. They are so vicious. I have seen them attack large dogs, coyotes, humans and even vehicles. Large, older tom turkeys can also be quite nasty, going after anything that gets close to their hens. I'm not sure how protective a donkey is but I do know they are an excellent warning system.

    While you may need a permit to hunt or trap the animal, check into regulations a bit further. In my area we are allowed to shoot anything that is endangering livestock. Unfortunately, in my area livestock only counts for 4 legged creatures. But your rabbits have 4 legs. :)

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I may electrify the outer fence area @torey . I'll see how the newer system will work.

    Our area is strict. I have to have a permit for a fisher in my county. They are so vicious and strong.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am so sorry. @torey is right, many laws make an exception for self-defense or protection of livestock and, depending on where you live, there could be a trapping season. Two of the few animals I am afraid of are big ganders and turkeys.

    Backyard Chickens has a couple of good forum thread on the subject. Hope you find a solution soon.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    My goodness! I've never heard of a fisher and I definitely never want to have to confront one. Fortunately, we don't live in fisher territory, but I am terribly sorry for all the problems.

    We do have regular weasels. They waited and waited and waited until just the right moment when the snow drift was up so high the electric fence tipped a bit. It was just enough for them to get in while we were gone for a few hours. They were savages - just popping the heads off the chickens and leaving them to die. A slaughter.

    I hope they leave your area soon.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @frogvalley I had not had an issue in 6 days but the damage has been done and unless it gets caught somewhere else it will be back.

    Fishers were brought in to our area to control a porcupine population explosion. But once they were under control the fisher still had to eat. They are just plain vicious and nasty. Thye also carry a lot of germs, prone to rabies, ticks and fleas.

    Yes, weasel and minks are also nasty and can get in such a small hole. I constantly check any coops and pens for areas they can enter.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great links @Tave . I checked them out earlier and they give great information on this predator.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    @Denise Grandi Check in your area to see if there is a licensed trapper. We have people in our area that are referred to as predatory trappers. They will come in and trap any animals that are endangering wildlife, livestock or the environment. They have all the permits in place already. We have a lot of problems with beavers here, creating dams, flooding hay fields and roads, destroying water fowl habitat, etc. Predatory trappers are widely used to manage the beaver population. Predatory hunters are also used to deal with larger danger animals. We recently had one in our area to take care of a very old tom cougar that was unable to hunt wildlife and had started killing small livestock on local farms. They also take care of necessary permits.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2020

    Great idea @torey . Thank you!~

    We also have beaver issues here and they can create an issue very quickly. The game commission will help with that but if they start to build a dam its a bit trickier to get help

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    So sorry for your losses @Denise Grant You certainly have a lot of predators there. I hope you can find something that works for protection. A donkey is good for larger predators although not sure how it would do against a bear if they are about. I agree with the gander for the likely size of the predator or the turkey tom. Sometimes it seems like we need 24-hour armed guards to protect our animals lol.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,541 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is one advantage to my fisher issue. It has scared away and and all other predators for a bit.

    I had a squirrel issue and ground hogs and they are all gone.

  • Momma Mo
    Momma Mo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    The last predator that killed one of our chickens was a hawk. It wasn't able to carry her off, but the damage from the talons was too much for our hen to survive. We also had a skunk kill 2 full-grown ducks a couple of years ago.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,602 admin

    I'm afraid that a turkey or goose would not work against a fisher. A donkey goes after dogs & dog like animals. I don't know if they would go after a fisher.

    We can also dispose of wildlife if it is endangering livestock in my province, as Torey said about hers.

    Tave mentioned a trapper. I second tracking one down one by calling your county office or by word of mouth. Most trappers won't trap or shoot unless it is the season for the best pelt or that pelt is worth something, but you might find someone anyway.

    BYC (the link above) is always a good resource.

    I suspect those other animals you mentioned have not been scared away. They will have been eaten. Around here, when a fisher shows up, they generally eat all the cats in the area & move on. They have a huge range.

    We have not had one in our yard. We have mink. One, our dog killed after a scrap. We weren't home to watch. She had some blood around her muzzle, but absolutely no marks on her at all. The mink was dead and there was a huge, deep hole where they had fought. We had another after the dog passed and it killed most of my birds, about 75% and of course, they had finally been built up to where I wanted them to be and of course, it took my best as well. I almost stopped having birds. It was absolutely devastating. We never could get that one. I hope an owl ate it. It deserved that. I would have worn it proudly.

    We had a badger once, but it didn't do any harm. We have had rats for a time a bear once, and occasionally skunks, but foxes are our worst predator. Coyotes don't come into our yard.