Onwards and Upwards

I am still trying to capture the murdering bastard who has caught and eaten seven of my chickens. Yesterday there was no mink in the trap but the cat food was gone. So last night John set the trap just to be sure. He has a very precise nature when it comes to these things.  I will check it after the morning milking. mink-day-023

I spent a decent portion of yesterday repairing the back wall of the chicken coop which is in the Rat House with my bits of wood, pieces of metal, flattened beer cans and old rusty baking trays using my mini sledge hammer and an old coffee tin full of rusty nails.  I found many little holes big enough for a mink and now they are all closed.


But the Rat House is a colander  – too many holes.. so as soon as possible I will begin to finish their gypsy caravan and shift them out of the chook house all together.  The plan is to clean and insulate the chook house and turn it into the delivery suite and nursery for the kunekunes that I will begin to breed next spring.mink-day-045

Although it does not look like I am winning yet, it feels like I am making advances. Though the little chook who was being drug away by the mink, as I was trying to get through the door, is not very happy. She would not get on the roost last night and was settled on the floor of the coop. If the mink did get in she would be first, and I could not bear for her to go through that again so she is in the dog crate on the verandah.  She is still in terrible shock and may not survive. But chickens are tough.


Spring is definitely beginning to come out from behind winters cloud. The relief is palpable. Though why you would want to palpate relief I do not know. Best left alone I think.  Just enjoy it.mink-day-053

This cheerful little box is a wildlife camera. It is motion activated. Lent to me by a friend, I have put it in the chicken coop, if The Mink does get in, we will be able to see where he comes from.  Though I really really hope he does not get back in. It is too awful.  Maybe the flash will scare him off?

So I will  check that later too and see what we come up with. Hopefully nothing. All I want to see is sleeping chooks.

We had  quiet night, no incidents, nothing got in, all was well in the chook house when I checked at 4am. Even the little brown hen on the verandah is still alive, much to her surprise.  Fingers crossed.

Queenie and baby. mink-day-001 mink-day-005 mink-day-012

Good morning. Daisy milked clean almost all day yesterday. I am still milking three times a day. But there seems to be some residual mastitis holding on. Her oregano oil arrived, so today I will begin to treat her with that. It is to be diluted with olive oil and inserted into the teat after each milking which is easier than it sounds. Oregano is a natural antibiotic so let us see how that goes.

I hope you all have a lovely day

Your friend on the farm



54 Comments on “Onwards and Upwards

  1. The camera will flash in infrared, so not much chance of it scaring the mink…my trail cams are like that one.
    Daisy’s baby is a photogenic little thing, isn’t he? 🙂

  2. The post was early than usual today. I’m guessing that means you didn’t get much sleep, dratted weasel! I’m glad there was no ruckus last night tho. I have learned so much about this creature from the Fellowship. Enjoy your morning coffee and happiness about Daisy! The Bobby is precious with those long eyelashes, so huggable. YAY for spring arriving. Our seeds have finally sprouted in the raised bed aka plastic kiddie pools. It has been so long since I grew anything from seed, after almost two weeks, I was sure that something was wrong with the soil mixture, etc. But the seeds came up! Your blog inspired me to try some backyard gardening this year, so thank you and thank you fellowship. Have a wonderful, early spring day.

    • Every morning before I walk outside I finish writing and set the post to publish at the exact time the sun rises and that is earlier every day.. But I am already out working before then. Daisy is milked at 6am and there is lots to do before that. So you are noticing the earlier dawn i suspect!.. c

  3. never a dull moment in your life – minks are so vicious and enjoy killing just for the sake of it. I hope you catch him, and hope his poor little victim turns the corner.

  4. Have you looked at the solar nite guard lights? I have one on each side of my chicken house. They are more of an insurance policy for me, because our chicken yard is fenced with electric netting, and we haven’t had any problems with predators (I hope I’m not jinxing myself now). But the nite guard lights have some very good reviews and testimonies. You could also attach them to your chicken tractors for extra security.

  5. Onwards and upwards. I’m adopting that motto today myself. I think that “poor” mink may feel the venomous thoughts of all of us who are outraged at his dirty deeds!

  6. Praying for a mink-free future for your chooks and lump-free milking for Daisy.

    If you want to read my password-protected poem, email for the password. I have been a tad contentious, and don’t fancy a terrorist attack in our quiet village!

  7. Baby Herefords are about the cutest calves ever. I meant to mention this before and I don’t know if it is still available but seeing the dip cup on the fence a few days ago reminded me of this. There use to be a blue teat dip that was marketed to try on cows that were chronic mastitis cases. The formulation is different from the iodine dip and the theory was that it would cling to the teat better and form a seal at the end. Some cows have poor muscle tone (for lack of a better phrase) in their udder and the teat opening stays open too long after milking allowing bacteria to enter. I noticed from the pictures that Daisy’s udder lacks good suspensory ligaments (which is totally her parents’ fault) and doesn’t affect her ability to produce milk. But it does show a lack of good muscle structure in her mammary system. I don’t know if you have ever had the mastitis cultured to find out what type she has, but if she is getting an enviromental mastitis she may improve when she gets out on grass.

    • I have also seen slings that hold the udder up when ligaments are stretched.

    • that quarter was damaged when she was young from a steer sucking on it, I would not know a suspensory ligament if I fell over it, sometimes i wonder what the hell i think i am doing farming with so little knowledge.. from what you are saying though i should find a new breeder and not raise one of daisys calves as a replacement..or quit. I send a sample to the vet periodically, I forget the name of it but it is almost impossible to eradicate, though i am also sure she will get a bit better on grass. c

      • Tendency towards mastitis is genetic in cows. Also in sheep. Breeders’ records are so important and must be verified.

      • No not necessarily that you shouldn’t keep any of Daisy’s calves. Body construction wise she appears to be a nicely made cow. When you pick a bull to breed her to you would want to get someone to help explain his type performance results (they may not be called that anymore). You would look for a bull that throws heifers that are classified high in the mammary system scores and I think now days there is some data on udder health too. It has been so long since I was involved that I am not up to speed on what the performance tests cover now days. It would be important not to feed a heifer (or any heifer you would wish to keep as a milker/breeder) of hers milk from that damaged quarter to be extra safe. You are doing a wonderful job of working on the mastitis and clearing it from her infected quarter. If she was to develop a blind quarter (the mastitis would cause the infected quarter to stop producing milk possibly forever) it may not be a bad thing. She is milking very well now with only 3 good quarters. You have said that you were thinking of another heifer or cow in addition to Daisy. When you pick it out ask to see her mom and any sisters, grandmom and so on. Fish a little to see why they are willing to sell that heifer. Ask about health problems. You shouldn’t quit because of what you don’t know. You should quit if you don’t want to learn to make better informed choices in the future or if dealing with Daisy’s chronic mastitis becomes too much for you and her. Daisy’s udder could just be a bad roll of the genetic dice. She may have gotten the bad traits of both parents. It happens.

        • Forgot to add that many a good looking heifer has been purchased with high hopes only to turn into a not so great looking cow. She milks well, her attitude is pretty good, she calves easily and she is otherwise healthy. It is possible if not for that steer she would have been just fine. On the other hand she could still have this mastitis problem without ever meeting the steer. It is one of the risks/hazards of having a milk cow. I hope the mink takes the bait and gets trapped so you can rest.

          • Yes, I do wonder about that quarter going blind (though every day it is milking more and for longer now and I am as stubborn as that cow) .. if it were to taper off though is there a way to allow that to happen without risking massive infection. c

  8. Man oh man when something is wild with wee ones they will do what it takes to feed them. Best of luck getting your old buildings closed up tight mine are new and I can not keep up. I am still writing up piece for you 🙂 Happy Easter.

  9. I am pleased there were no incidents last night. You just need to keep singing that song about making mink coats. Louder. LOUDER!

  10. Progress! I hope you catch/deter the murderer. I know it was a relief to not have another dead chicken today and may it stay that way. Lovely to see Ton looking so healthy and that is one beautiful Bobby. Happy Friday.

  11. “pop goes the weasel”, the last line in the song has certainly taken on a different meaning now 🙂 Here’s hoping you win both battles (mink and mastitis) really soon. Laura

  12. Oh my C, there is always so much for you to deal with. I admire you so very much! I shall have to enjoy a glass of red wine in your honour this evening for all you do every day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • No when a cow has mastitis the usual sign is little flakes or solid strings in the milk. We had a metal cup with a screen over the top that the suspected quarter was squirted into to catch it. The udder is often hard, can be red and warm where the mastitis is located. A cows udder has 4 chambers/quarters. One can be infected while the others are just fine. Actual blood in the milk would be a sign of injury to the udder or possibly a blocked teat canal. Sometimes when a cow freshens her colostrum milk will look reddish colored, but it usually clears within a few days and the calf will drink it with no ill effects.

  13. Queenie’s bobby sure is a handsome one. Is Boo getting used to the bigger animals?

  14. I can understand that minx needs to find food for their young but taking your chooks is not the way to go….batten down the hatches….bring on the alarm lights.. and keep minx out…..

  15. Chickens are such nice creatures and right there with rabbits on the low end of the food chain. Rather a hard place to be. I’m sure she adores being in a nice place on the veranda…much better than the floor of the hen house. Good thing she has you to watch out for her…she would be easy pick’n next time for sure, left up to her own little chicken thoughts.


  16. We wound up nailing hardware cloth over all the little holes and cracks in the hen house. We also have slider windows with screens (old windows from remodeling the house) and nailed hardware cloth over those, too. We need to keep the windows open a crack for ventilation. I think all predators love chickens.

  17. You are the subject of the moment in New Jersey! None of us here has ever seen a wild mink or had any idea how brutal and disgusting they are: killing animals without needing their meat as food. But a whole bunch of us are rooting for you and the chooks.

  18. You are on the case and that predator will be caught. It’s just a matter of time. What joy to see the spring foliage.

  19. Sounds as if the mink is taking the cat food instead of the chooks. I know this not a final solution, but could you start laying out food further and further from the chook house? If the mink is feeding young, she may start taking it in preference for an easier feed for her babies.

    • An interesting thought kate, but feeding them only brings more in. The cat food is in a trap and still ignored.. I just need to work harder on filling in all the cracks and holes in this old building.. c

  20. Rotten little murderous thief, that weasel. Hope he/she is well and truly warned off and the dogs now have a collective image of Weasel as Enemy that will shield the chooks and all of their compatriots from further massacre. All of you, be safe! I’ve never heard it said about minks specifically, but hey, if one shows its furry face around the birds again you might want to find out if it “tastes like chicken”! Bonus: free fur collar. 😉

  21. Peculiar thing to wish for an Easter gift for you, but do hope you catch the rotten scoundrel and be able to sleep past 4am !!!!!! We have had ‘loving’ pictures of Boo with just about every baby animal on the farmy – love today’s with a very handsome Bobby and guess what replaced little Prince Georg’e ‘Mummy I love you’ pic on my computer 😀 ? Don’t know whether you have ever celebrated the holiday in any shape or size, but my very bestest wishes anyway!!

  22. I hope you’ve thwarted the little bastard, be it mink or weasel, Celi. It’s such a shame to wake up to that every morning. That camera is a good idea. You may have better luck once you know the critter you’re dealing with. We’re supposed to have a couple of beautiful days ahead. I hope you can spare some time to relax and enjoy them. Have a good night.

  23. I remember varmints getting into our chickens when I was growing up. My dad used to say that once they get a taste for chicken, they never give up and will work to find their way in no matter what. Did you find a smaller trap? Dad would set up 3 or 4 around the coop. One wasn’t enough.

  24. We had a large container that we used to fill with chook food prior to discovering that mice and rats LOVE places that no-one can reach especially when they are filled with chook food. It was inside the chook coop until I found one of my girls down the back of it apparently dead. She was the prettiest of our Wyandottes (silver Wyandotte) and as I hauled her lifeless carcass out I noticed that she was still alive! She must have been down the back of this “thing” for 3 – 4 days and was definitely on her last legs. Over the next 3 – 4 days it was touch and go whether we would have to euthanise the poor thing as she couldn’t walk. After 7 days (we were too sooky to euthanise her…luckily as it turns out) she got up and walked off, right as rain and she has now re-joined the flock. Chooks are, as you say, extremely resilient!

    Love the photo of your dog nose to nose with a calf. Our big black Bezial does that with horses and cows :).

  25. Glad to hear the hen is recovering. Thanks for looking out for her. Queenie’s bobby is a handsome fella, and growing up fast.

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