Sunday, 23 October 2011

Wee Minky Bandits! You'll be Fur Slippers by Christmas!

How Much for a New .22?

Wild Mink. (Photo by Hugo.arg)
 I hope that things will soon return to normal here in Frugaldom, after the recent spate of sadness, family tragedies and then this recent invasion by what I am now calling the 'wee minky bandits'. Feel free to substitute your own phrase as you see fit.

Mid Thursday morning saw H out tending to the ducks while I was getting organised indoors, preparing to travel back up 'home' for my dad's funeral. There was a sudden commotion in the hen run, so H went running down to find out what the heck was happening.

As you already know, we have a stream running through Frugaldom, with a bridge leading from the main garden & orchard across to the hen runs, so it's several metres between
the two.

On entering the hen shed, H was confronted by a large mink in the process of killing the chickens. In the space of the few minutes it had taken him to get from the duck run to the hen run, the wee minky bandit had killed 4 hens and our blue cuckoo Silkie cockerel. The saddest losses were those of poor little 'Dumbledorf', our white miniature Silkie, and 'JayJay', our big blue hen. But the minky bandit was still in the hen shed! With nothing better to launch at it, H threw a bucket of water to chase it off, but had been a bit taken aback by the size of the creature.

Incredibly, Inky, Whites and Silkie-chic survived the attack with nothing more than a few ruffled feathers, so they were quickly relocated into the Pekins' run for safe keeping.

A total rethink is now on the cards, as we need to ensure the safety of the remaining poultry. The leaner months are approaching and the young mink will be spreading out, seeking their own territories, so a plan of action to minimise the problem is essential.

Mink are fairly large creatures (some more than 80cm in length) in comparison to the smaller ferrets, weasles and stoats, so you would think that they would be easier to keep out of the place. However, this is going to be rather difficult, what with their exploring any burrows they find and us having the burn flowing through our garden. Trapping them is said to be relatively easy, as they are so inquisitive, but they must be quickly and humanely killed. In true frugal fashion, if any get killed on this property, they'll be despatched in an appropriate way and then it could be new fur slippers for Christmas! (Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but this type of thing makes anyone mad.)

Thankfully, Floppity bunny was well secured in her hutch and the ducks were much further up the garden. Not being indigenous species, mink are like any other pests in this country - trapping is fine, but it's illegal to release them. As far as I am aware, their numbers have escalated in Scotland, starting from the time the animal rights' activists broke into the farms and released many commercially-bred animals into the wild. To this day, I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone can think it is the right thing to do. Granted, we should be grateful that it's mink in the garden and not big cats, but someone else always pays for mistakes of ill-thought out plans where others think they're helping a good cause.

There have been plenty of reports of big cats in our area over the past years, most probably sightings of captive animals that had been released, illegally, into the Galloway Forest. Unlike Alladale Estate, we don't have wild boar or moose, thankfully! But our immediate problem, which needs to be minimised for the purposes of damage control, are the wee minky bandits that I'd prefer not to have.

'Dumbledorf' was a bit of a star, so she'll be remembered by many.

NYK Media


  1. What a shame for poor little Dumbledorf and the others. Lets hope you can make the run safer for the rest of your flock and trap that nasty Mr Mink.

    Sorry to hear of your loss, travel safely. It would seem we are all having a tough time of it at the moment.

    Take care.

    Sue xx

  2. Sue, sorry to hear of your loss, too. It certainly seems like October has been a trying month for many, although I keep reminding myself that these things are happening all around us, every single day of every week, month and year.

  3. just found your blog and am sorry to hear of your losses. Mink are a pest, though I haven't seen any wild ones here in my part of Canada.

    Gill in Canada

  4. RIP Dumbledorf, you and the others will be missed, thank you for touching our lives.

    Sft x

  5. Thanks for the comments, it's going to be a whole lot quieter here without Billy, our blue cuckoo Silkie, and all the more sad as he was named after my dad, on accounts of his grey beard.

    Hi Gi8ll & SFT,
    There are many problems in this area with mink. Even on a friend's farm who rears hundreds of ducks, there have been countless attacks over the past few years. We were so concerned about the number of foxes here, however, that we'd failed to take extra precautions against the wee minky bandits. I'm hoping it's because the burn has been so high over the past few weeks. It seems to have been raining here for the past month!


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