Chickens don't have it easy, there are a number of predators that will attack them and steal their eggs given the chance.
If you know that you have weasels in your area, you're right to question - do weasels eat chickens?
The answer, unfortunately, is that yes, weasels, stoats, minks, and other small mammals in this family will kill and eat chickens!
Do Weasels Eat Chickens?
Weasels do eat chickens, yes. It's not a scene you want to come across, either, if they've made it into your coop during the night!
These predators are small but they're fierce, and they will go after anything that's smaller than them - including chickens.
They're very crafty, weasels are able to get through small gaps, are great at climbing, and are very quick.
Stoats, Minks, and Polecats Are Also a Problem!
While talking about weasels, I thought it was worth mentioning stoats, minks, and polecats, too.
These are all part of the same family as weasels and can look very similar, and they all pose a threat to chickens!
So, if you have any of these animals in your area, it's important to take steps to protect your flock.
How Small a Hole Can a Weasel Get Through?
You might be wondering how such a cute, small animal can cause so much damage to your chickens.
The truth is, weasels are incredibly crafty creatures and can get through very small holes.
In fact, a weasel only needs a hole that's about the size of a quarter to get into your coop!
So, if you have any gaps in your coop, no matter how small, it's important to fix them.
This will also stop small rodents from getting in and any other predators, so it's good practice anyway.
What Attracts Weasels Into Your Yard?
There are a few things that can attract weasels into your yard, which you'll want to avoid if possible.
Like most predators, the smell of anything that can possibly be eaten is going to attract weasels.
This means if you have garbage bins in your yard, you have to either move the bins or lock them up tight.
The same goes for your chicken's feeders and any food you're leaving out for them.
The general odor from a coop might attract weasels, and that's hard to stop. But removing any possible food sources is going to make a difference.
If weasels are sneaking around in the night and can't get access to your coop or any food, they're going to find somewhere else to go!
Do Weasels Eat Chicken Eggs?
Weasels love chicken eggs.
If they have access to your coop and can find a nesting box, it's likely that a weasel will find it and help themselves to the eggs.
If they find eggs, there is also a chance that they're going to attack your chickens.
So, again, securing your coop should be your number one priority.
Where Do Weasels Live?
We had weasels coming in and out of our yard a few years ago, and I was never able to figure out where they were living - despite taking a good hard look.
As it turns out, weasels are very good at hiding!
They will make their dens in abandoned burrows, rock crevices, tree cavities, and more.
If you're trying to find a weasel's den, the best thing you can do is look for fresh tracks in the mud or their droppings.
This might help you figure out where they're coming from and give you a better chance of getting rid of them.
It's really not easy to find a weasel den though, I wish you good luck!
How Do I Keep Weasels off My Chickens?
The best way to keep weasels (and other predators) away from your chickens is to have a secure coop.
This means making sure that the coop is well-built, with no gaps or holes that a weasel could squeeze through.
You should also make sure that the chicken wire you're using is strong enough to keep weasels out.
You can also use a wire mesh with small holes to keep weasels away from your chickens.
Another way to deter weasels is to use a security light outside of your coop.
Weasels are nocturnal creatures, so they're going to be more active at night and are often spooked by strong lights.
If the problem is really persistent and weasels are damaging your property or actually getting to your chickens, trapping them might be your best option.
I recommend leaving this to professional pest control experts, but you can pick up traps for a reasonable price and have a go yourself.
Weasels might look cute (at least I think so), but they are small and ferocious predators that can and will kill chickens given the chance.
They're very crafty and can get through small gaps, so it's important to make sure your coop is super secure.
You should also take care to remove any possible food sources from your yard, as this is the main thing that attracts weasels.
Image credits - Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash