Out here in the country we like to keep a few chickens to provide us with fresh eggs and a couple of months ago we found one of our flock with the neck tore out laying on the floor of the pen, obviously a weasel had set up shop nearby and decided that our chickens looked like an easy meal. After loosing a couple more to the same predator we caged them up at night in a cage with small enough mesh to stop said carnivore, that being about ¾” as it seems that they can squeeze through 1' holes as our lack of success in trapping them in the following weeks with a large live trap proved.
After a few weeks we again let the chickens out at night, it being a major hassle to cage them each night and the heated water supply not being suited for the smaller cage, and thought for a while that he had buggered off. But no, it was not to be within a week he was back reducing our flock again and even killing our Pea hen. At that point I gave up, opened the pen to the yard and let the remainder (2 hens and a Peacock) roam hoping that they could escape execution, but that move also was in vain as we now just have Mr P remaining, he having abandoned the pen entirely and making his home on the edge of the bush by out garden shed.
At this point none of us had actually seen the rotten little killer but a couple of days ago my son was getting some wood from the woodshed attached to the bird pen and saw a long white skinny animal with a black tip to his furry tail, yep, we have an Ermine.........
I don’t really care how nice a fur coat he has, he is still dead meat if I can ever catch him, and my efforts in that regard continue. Over the years I have had, and dealt with, foxes & racoons taking domestic birds but this guy so far has out smarted me being able to get into, and out of, just about anywhere or anything. Back in the bush I have great tolerance for our wild animals and in fact encourage them with brush piles and minimal disturbance but when they migrate up to the house, sorry but they have to go!
Its always a tough balance between the wild and human habitat but having provided and maintained a bush area for our wild critters I feel no compunction to put up with their invading my space even though I know I have invaded theirs. Each of us must find their own level of tolerance but when wild life starts endangering health, domestic flocks, pets or even children, as has happened recently in some cities then perhaps one has to 'bite the bullet' so to speak and take action.
And that’s the way it looks here in these wooded hills as the hunt continues.