Yes. Miserably the night before last the ducks were attacked. When I went out for chores I found two dead and three injured. All head injuries. The night before last. Classic mink. I hate the bastard mink. I know to lose a few ducks is nothing in comparison to world events but this is a farm journal blog. It was a blow.

My original idea had been to have the ducks live in the stock trailer at night. I should have known better than to leave them in the barn that long. But the bastard mink has never hunted in the barn that I know of. So I have shifted the ducks into the old stock trailer for might-times. The stock trailer is my best solution but I am not entirely convinced that a mink cannot get in either. Can they jump straight up a tin side – like cats?

They do jump – but mainly hunt on the ground. And usually they live alone. Except maybe the spring. Was it spring when I had the last troubles?

So last evening BooBoo and I and terrorized every burrow we saw along the ditch and took extra night walks late. I slept with the windows open.

The ducks slept in the stock trailer and Boo and I were ready to go hunting at the first sound of a disturbance. Boo knows what I am hunting – we have done this before. Sometimes a lot of harassment and smelly trampling along their tracks will make a predator wary – maybe even move them downstream.

But sometimes we need to hunt. A knowledge as old as methuselah. A farmers knowledge.

I hate the bloody bastard mink. So when I heard the screeching of the chickens, who I had locked down as tight as ever last night, Boo and I were out that door and streaking across the field to the hen house before I was even fully conscious. Bare legs in gumboots and nightie, hair flying, dragging on the first warmie that came to hand – one of Johns hoodies.

I heaved the chook house door open, banged on the light and saw a black shape dart across the floor, a dying chicken at my feet and I hissed. My kill it command sounds like a hissy kss kss. Like a snake. Kss Kss. Angry. kss kss.

Boo sprang forward at that command grabbing at the mink who screamed then darted under the layers box. I got my stick and began poking at it to bring it back out from under there and within reach – it screamed at us again and tried to escape but Boo got it and killed it. The room filled with its stink and the chickens were a mob of screeching and Ton was barking from outside and Boo made not one sound as he finished it off fast. I commanded him to kill it three times to be sure. It was dead.

Two dead chickens – a white layer and a dead rooster. He was a big mink and had worked fast because it had to have been only thirty seconds from start to finish.

I disposed of the body, checked all the corners and watched the chooks until they were quiet again- I locked the hen house up again, checked the ducks – they were agitated but all ok, then cleaned up and went back to bed, the window still open – jumping at every sound.

Boo stayed out most of the night.

I wonder if that will do it. We will stay on high alert for a while yet, Boo and I. Gory I know but my job is to protect my flock and I have trained Boo as my right arm in this determination. And last night we did what had to be done. Minks are nasty senseless killers. Boo was extraordinary in that he waited for the command to kill then leapt through the throng of scattering birds and grabbed only the predator.

One down. I cannot pretend not to feel a certain satisfaction.

However – ( big breath) on another note entirely – Harold ( the organic farmer who is taking over the swamp – he also has a mill where he and his team grind the grains into flour – I will tell you more about that tomorrow) well he and I went down to a new local restaurant yesterday morning for a cup of coffee. They are not fully open yet just doing a very sensible soft opening with breakfasts and I talked to the woman who is owner/managing the brand new kitchen and she HATES wasting kitchen scraps so she has agreed to put them outside for me to pick up and feed to the pigs. I set it all up last night.

So every morning John will drive down the road in the cooking oil car – it is only a few miles – taking the clean buckets with him then he will exchange them for full buckets of pigs breakfast food. All outside. He does not even have to set foot in the kitchen. Though I am willing to bet he will wander in for a coffee every now and then.

She even gave me kitchen scraps she had collected already. Once home WaiWai snuck up on me while I was sorting the feeds out and ran off with a huge pancake. She reckons she will fill two buckets a day this is an extraordinary saving.

Harold set me up with the purge flour I told you about before, the wheat screenings ( basically everything left over after they clean the seeds) and some black beans that I will experiment with sprouting.

So the pigs and the cows ate well last night.

What started out with the bad ended up with the good. ( anyone new to the blog would look at that picture, above, and wonder what the heck that was all about).

Hopefully after last night my birds are a little safer – I also wonder sometimes if a mink would take a piglet when they are sleeping under the heat lamp away from their mother. They are much much smaller than a twenty pound duck. I don’t know.

Ok. Now I will go out onto the farm and begin again and hope things are still ok out there after last nights attack – let’s hope.

I will update you in the comments.


83 Comments on “BASTARD MINK

  1. Foxes and mink are all of a piece; senseless destruction of life, rather than killing to eat. Well done Boo, and I can’t believe the speed you reacted at to catch the bastard mink. Great news about the scraps from the local restaurant; I used to do something similar in NSW, but ended up picking out the over-salted fries and great greasy dollops of mayo which I didn’t want to feed to my chooks – not such a good class of eatery!

  2. You have the damnable mink and we have raccoon attacks. Our barn is old, which houses our chickens. One day we will build a new chook house, but for now we use what we have. We kill like you, in the event of an attack, but we also take preventative measures by trapping and relocating raccoons. We haul them 20 miles away. This is prime time of year for attacks, coming out of winter torpor and being hungry and all… mating. Doing battle isn’t pleasant, but it’s part of protecting your flock and being a good steward of the animals. I could feel my adrenaline rush as a read your story. I know all too well this unpleasant part of keeping fowl.

    • we only had maybe 5 backyard chickens when we lived in the Portland OR metro area. But we had to battle those damn raccoons too. We would trap them and relocate them also. Nasty devils…not cute at all!

    • Those raccoons will respect you a lot more if you start to kill and eat them rather than simply live trapping… The meat is incredibly tender – very pork-like in appearance and tastes amazing.

  3. Even when they are a bit gory, I love your descriptions of things. The imagery and descriptive writing you weave is so enjoyable to read.

    Also, the kitchen scraps look just beautiful. I too hate wasting food. Seeing it added to a healthy compost heap or given to appreciative creatures makes me so much happier. And I am sure WaiWai the pancake absconder agrees. 😉

  4. What an awful night? Why do minks kill, if not to eat? Senseless is right. I can’t believe the owner of the restaurant will collect two buckets of wasted food. Sad, but true lucky for you : )

  5. I remember an old tale about leaving the dead body out as a warning to other critters but that is a bit gory and stinky! I’m trying to figure out how to grow some seeds from a good pepper plant I had last year. All winter we had great pickled hot peppers to add to our meals. Morning miss c… 🙂

  6. I’m sorry to read of the return of the murdering Bastard Mink & I am glad that this one will kill no more. I hate to say it but I think those open slats in the stock trailer are not too high for the enemy mink to enter. I sure hope I am wrong about that. The good news of the new restaurant & its overflowing bounty is welcome & it may become John’s regular coffee break too.
    I tried to post yesterday to tell you all that the bears have come out of hibernation, Mama & 2 big half grown cubs visiting me on the first day of spring — in my fenced back yard. I watched them get over it down the back corner. At least you & Sheila won’t meet any bears up there in Illinois I hope. WordPress wouldn’t let me post. I hope they will today. Let’s see.

    • Bears! How exciting and bringing her cubs into your backyard – how naughty!! No bears here thankfully but how exciting for you to see your bears from the safety ( I presume) of your house!

  7. Oh, so sorry about your attack on your birds, how awful. Glad you have Boo. My nemesis is a Red Tailed Hawk that figured out how to get through my net cover on the pullet pen and get two Javas. I then covered it with fence wire and it somehow got in that and killed a third Java and couldn’t get out. My girls were hunkered down under the coop, I didn’t dare go in because that part of the run is only 4 ft and I didn’t want a frightened hawk after me. Finally chased it out. I should have kept a couple of my old hens to teach these younguns to follow me home when necessary. They are almost 21 weeks old and I still can’t free range them because they don’t come to me. When the shrubs have leaves and they have cover, they will get to roam. When your predator is a protected bird, you can’t remove the predator. Life on the farm.

    • Yes. We must protect hawks but your poor chicks. I saw someone string wire in random ways above the Coop netting and the reflections confused the hawk. You can also hang shiny dvds the shiny disks reflect light and confuse the birds too. Or bells. Anything that moves and reflects light. Hopefully this would train the hawk to distrust the area. However – once the predator has found the lunch bar then we are in trouble. As I am.

    • Someone once told me to use camouflage netting over the top of my chook pen because hawks can’t see through it. I didn’t go there because a) my pen was huge and b) I was nowhere near an army surplus store, but it might work…?

  8. What a champion you have in Boo! I hope for calm for some time ahead and nothing else lurking in the night. And to have good news and food savings on the other side of this horror…perfect!

  9. Celie & Boo 1 – Mink 0 👍.
    Sad about the ducks. Will you be able to increase duckling order? Let’s hope they and the skunk clear off soon. Waiting to hear more about Harold and his crops on the farmy. Laura

  10. Sounds like an eventful evening. I enjoy reading about your life on the farm. It may have been gory, but I’m glad to hear your fowl will be safe from one more preditor.

  11. It was spring the last time. And I always call them Bastard Mink, in your honor, ever since then. Good for you and Boo for getting one.

    • Missed this yesterday- had to look up Friday to see what happened- I assumed it was theBastard Mink. Horrible! Good boy Boo! I don’t have any chickens but have a bird feeder – have a problem with hawks swooping down and getting birds that feed on the ground- doves and once a cardinal. I will have to take down the feeder for awhile when the snow melts because of bears. Here in rural Michigan I ave heard of owls getting ducks and chickens and even pets. Coyotes are a big problem here- I never let my cat outside at night! Hopefully the mink was the only one. So happy that your farm animals are getting all that “tasty” waste!! In the winter I take it out for the wild creatures in back- no minks though!

  12. I always heard that the three S’s are the way to handle protected predators…. Shoot, Shovel and Shhhhh. I don’t know if this is true…Jus’ sayin.

  13. So sorry to hear about the return of the mink. You and Boo did a good job! We had problems with raccoons and mink when we had layer hens and also meat birds. We haven’t had any of those for awhile. So glad Boo is well trained!

  14. Horrible experience, but good for you and Boo for being ready to do battle and WIN! I’m sorry about your chickens and ducks. I know real life involves honest living and dying but somehow a sneaky mink whose instinct is just to kill is so strange. I think the food scraps from the new restaurant sound fantastic! And I can’t wait to hear more about your grain guy. I’d forgotten all about that. Brilliant writing today. Hope today is filled with better news.

  15. I’m just sick about the ducks. Such sweet innocent creatures. With their voices enjoying themselves in the Instagram.
    And Wow about Boo! What an asset he is to the farm. When you got him that day at the Fair it never occurred to me he would be so critical to you. I just thought he was another beautiful companion. Duh!
    And I have to laugh out loud at WaiWai. A pancake! A healthy pancake, mind you! Just hilarious. He’s taken a page from Tima. I’m so happy for you and the woman who is grateful to find a good use for her leftovers.

    • Yes! I am especially happy about this new restaurant – it is right there by the highway halfway between Chicago and Champaign so I hope it does really well!

  16. That must have been so upsetting. I had no idea Mink were so senseless. It’s horrible that they kill for pleasure and not for food. It’s no wonder coats were made of them! Boo does not look like a killer, he is so soft and kind, I was surprised to read that he kills on command, you gotta do what you gotta do.
    What a great find with the new diner, I generally save my scraps for soup.

  17. Good boy Boo! Wow what a night. I think I would secure the trailer openings with some chicken wire maybe?

  18. My heart was racing reading that account. Bastard mink! So amazing that Boo knows exactly what to do on your command. Can you get back to sleep after that? Nice work getting the nasty job done! You are their protector and there is no time to hesitate. Will the injured ducks recover? I hope so.

    • The injured ducks are not happy. Their entities are all head and neck injuries. They are stiff and bloody. I filled the duck pond this morning so they could get into deeper water to wash – we will see – still alive this morning though

  19. O boo.. such a good boy you are.. Shake, Shake.. A good farm dog is worth their weight and then some! Good for you Miss C.. I hear you, I lost five in one good on the bloody weasil.. sneaky bastards is right, smaller then what you are dealing with my biggest farm male cats will hunt them.

    Dezzy’s training is coming.. but I do so miss my Freyja, now she was my hunter.. My command is a growly low” Geettt Itt…” and they are fast.. but so are the farm dogs.. Dezzy started mice and rat hunting last year.. this spring is being trained to push the wild turkey’s out and off the farm yards proper.

    Sorry about the losses.. congrats on the extra food, it will add up over a year that’s for sure.. glad for a little light in the day for you!

    • You are right – if does vary from dog to dog. Tonton will come out but wild horses could not drag him in to take on a mink. He just makes encouraging barking noises from a safe distance

  20. How dreadful! Hope that your super-hero Boo has scared the bejeezus out of any other would-be bird killers.

  21. Boo, Nanny Extraordinaire and Deadly Predator Killer all in one loyal, loving canine package. Love that Booboo! What a day, night you had. Beautiful veggies, sneaky pig.

  22. Well ~ what a nite for you and Boo!!! If there would be a video from start to finish ~~ I think you’d be a multi millionaire!!! And then you could build a couple of new barns!!! What’s the command for Boo to kill??!!! I would love to watch Boo in action!!! Hope there’s no more murders on the farm!!! That makes me sick. Hoping for some peaceful nites!! Hugs to Boo!!

  23. This is my first exposure to your story. Great storytelling. Reading it was an adventure. Thanks.

  24. You gotta do what you gotta do… as they say. Boo is the man, as they also say. And you are the Farmer. The new restaurant sounds fab, I love places with local food and good coffee.

  25. Wow! I can imagine how you feel, that darn mink! They are fast and sly. I hope there isn’t another one lurking about and maybe this has stopped a family from starting up close. Wonder how he got into the bus? The good thing is about the coffee morning and the food for your animals. That’s a real bonus. I will certainly read more and see how things go. This is my first time here and I’ve liked my read and visit!

  26. My dogs love to kill the weasels and minks and I am glad they do and I am a pretty peaceful person. Good dog, Boo. I work at a bakery/ coffee shop so my chickens get lovely bread and my gardens, lovely coffee grounds. I love free!

  27. I have a baby monitor (audio only) in the barn….it saved my chickens once because when the raccoon grabbed a chicken, I was out the door with my rifle. I wish I had a Boo! 🙂

  28. Oh those bastard minks! I’m so sorry it attacked your beautiful ducks but maybe now that this one was “dispatched” you won’t have too much more trouble. Fingers crossed but with you and Boo being so vigilant now, they may just move on! Didn’t you have a baby monitor also that you might be able to employ in the poultry barns? It is a mystery why some animals will kill other animals with no intention of eating them but even domestic dogs will do that. Maybe it is just the chase of the kill? Who knows?
    Lovely though about the food scraps not going to waste and a sociable cup of coffee to go with! 🙂

  29. We sometimes had visitors to the chicken coop when I was a kid in western IL. Dad would go our with the shotgun and hope to shoot the culprit. He was often successful. One very hot summer night, a ruckus around in the chickens. Dad headed out with shotgun and flashlight in hand. He approached the chicken pen and shined the light on top of a post where two bright eyes reflected back. Boom!! The gun blasted. It was no raccoon. Not a possum or mink. He had shot Old Tom our yellow cat. He felt bad about that.

  30. Good boy BooBoo! You two make a great team, and Ton the cheer squad! I hope this puts an end to the invasions. Best wishes.

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