We got it. (WARNING: graphic photos to follow.)
Which is to say, The Man got it, the damned weasel that killed so many of our girls. My heart is still broken, but I am feeling a sense of victory I wasn’t sure I’d feel.
Weasels are not easy to catch. They are very small, and very clever. They will evade an open trap, and will steal bait from an enclosed trap without setting it off. We saw this night after night, much to our frustration. The Man has spent a lot of time on the internet researching how successful hunters have caught this predator, and I went to Tractor Supply yesterday to get a different kind of trap.
This trap, inside a weasel box, baited with fresh chicken liver, is what caught our chicken killer.
This trap uses heavy plastic, a brutally-powerful release snap, and a hair trigger to get the job done. Weasels have a great deal of finesse, but this trigger is so sensitive, it goes off at the slightest disturbance. I carried the loaded weasel box to the back of the coop with the respect one would give nuclear waste.
Yes, outside the coop. The weasel was killed outside the coop. Does this mean s/he couldn’t get in? The identical trap inside the coop was untouched. We made two changes yesterday: we removed the poop pit and I filled the inner door track with sand. Did we cut off its method of entry?
Not so fast. The bait to the Havaheart trap inside the coop was gone, and the trap was sprung, but there was nothing inside. Now, on the advice of the internet, The Man set the Havaheart last night with the bait twist-tied to the side of the trap; it’s possible it was eaten from outside the trap. It’s also possible it was eaten by a non-weasel.
We will not be letting down our guard anytime soon. The remaining eight hens will continue to spend the night inside the crate (sorry, girls), and we will continue to set traps, just as we did last night, for at least a week. I will not lose more hens. I won’t.
Contrary to threats made earlier this week on the Heedley’s Hens Facebook Page, I will not be feeding the corpse to the chickens. My fury has boiled down to a deep, abiding sadness; tears come easily these days. I feel satisfaction today, and a sense of victory, but my bloodlust is gone. This wass a living creature, doing what nature created it to do.
That said, I do get satisfaction in the knowledge that The Man found it still alive. Oh, I haven’t mentioned that part? Yes, alive. If you ever have the opportunity to test drive one of these snap traps, you will understand my shock. I thought it would take the weasel’s head clean off its body.
But, no; The Man found the weasel will alive and writhing, and dispatched it with his air rifle. So, when I think of Coraline, and Haley, and Trixie, and Abby, and Maisie, and Dorothy, and probably even my darling Buffy, I can know that this creature suffered for hours before it finally died.
Please know, I am the kind of person who rescues worms off the road after a rainy day. I have a very soft heart, but I am glad it suffered. When my mind calls up images of my girls’ chewed necks and lifeless bodies, and I doubt my memory will ever surrender those images, I can now add this one:
The wound look remarkably similar to those on Buffy and Coraline, and I am feeling an Old Testament satisfaction.