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Blinkers

On going saga of ??Mink

Well, both traps are now set and once again the "Beast of Blaenwaun" as we've christened it (since we've never actually seen it   ) returned sometime yesterday eve/night and had a real good go at trying to get into the smallest hen house.   This one is raised up and has one small wooden door and a small wire mesh door.   He obviously spotten the hens through the wire and had a fair crack at trying to gnaw his way through the wood and remove the wire in the corner of the door.  Fortunately he didn't manage it and gave up.   The teeth mark are very small as is the gnawing and shreded splinters of wood, but he must have stood on his hing legs to reach it and which means he stretched up about 15".    No other signs and again he avoided his two usual routes where the traps are.     Such a worry cos we just don't know when he gonna appear now.  Used to be early evening, but after last Friday's attack in middle of the day - who knows  
Woodsmoke

Just persevere Mandy. Mink are what's known as 'neophobic', so they're very keen to avoid anything new in their territory until they've decided it's not an immediate threat. Once he's become used to the traps being there it's only a matter of time  
Blinkers

Thanks Woodsmoke.   I just hope we nab him before he slaughters too many more of my chooks  

Am going to move the 7 pullets that live in the small henhouse at night, into the middle size henhouse from this eve - hopefully they'll be safe in there although the door is just a drop down one, so I'd better try and secure it as wouldn't put it past the horror to actually manage to lift it up and get in.......mind you - he probably wouldn't be able to get out again!  
lottie

We caught a polecat in the fox trap---not a mink I know but same family so they can be tempted.
Blinkers

lottie wrote:
We caught a polecat in the fox trap---not a mink I know but same family so they can be tempted.


Hi Lottie - well it could even be a polecat.....just don't know.   Are you using a larson cage for the foxes?    Did you shoot it when you caught it?
lottie

I think it is illegal to knowingly set a trap for a polecat without a licence and any polecat inadvertantly caught in a trap meant for another animal should be released. Our fox trap is the one shown in the Mole valley farmers catalogue.
Woodsmoke

Yep, you're right Lottie. Polecats are protected, and can only be trapped under licence (as 0f 2007) However........it's very unlikely this is a polecat IMHO. They were so heavily trapped in the past & their numbers so reduced that their distribution is still pretty patchy. They're also a lot shyer than mink, & I'd be surprised if one was venturing close enough to take hens (not that they won't! I just think it's unlikely) It's far more likely to be a mink in this case, and as they're classed as vermin, no-one's going to be questioning why a Fenn's deemed to be appropriate in Blinkers case

And if it does turn out to be a polecat? Well in this case it's destroying livestock & all other options to protect them have been explored, so I don't think anyone's going to be pointing fingers in a hurry


Edit: Just done some checking, & although they're listed as having limited protection under Shedule  6 of the 1981 Act (i.e: it's unlawful to set spring traps for their deliberate capture, & any traps set must have reasonable precautions taken to avoid capture of non-target species.............mind you, if you're setting a trap for mink, how are you reasonably expected to prevent polecats from being at risk?   ) there's no lawful reason why they can't be caught in a live-capture trap & then shot or even kept in captivity.  Confusing I can only imagine that their inclusion in Sched 6 is to prevent every man & his dog from carrying out a widespread trapping campaign for them
lottie

I know polecats are rarer in the rest of Britain but west/mid Wales is their last outpost ,  my neighbours and me have had problems with them and poultry  and it's not unusual to see a dead one on the road--they aren't uncommon here. I notice that Blinkers lives in the area where there are still polecats as well.
bodger

Me too!

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