Can any predators fit through 1x2'' welded cage wire?

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MuddyFarms

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This is the first time I have ever lost kits outside of the nest boxes, and I believe we have some kind of predator issue causing it. We have lost two on the floor of the cage and then found two far away on the floor of the barn. One had been eaten and the other was still alive and able to be saved. They have been found over a week's time now, and from two different does.

Is there any way that a weasel or other predator could fit through the standard 1x2" welded wire on a cage? There is built-in baby-saver wire on the cages. After we found the one eaten on the barn floor, we used zip ties and wire to close up the cage doors fully, made sure the feeders were completely full, covered the gaps beside the feeders, and still had a kit end up outside the cage. I had thought that only a mouse could get through that size wire, but maybe there is something else as well? Whatever it was ate the kit very precisely. It skinned at least one leg, partially ate the hindquarters, ate the organs in the chest cavity, and ate the brain. We do have some very small weasels (stoats, maybe?) here, so I am considering those as the most-likely predator?

This link shows pictures of my setup and cages:
 

MaggieJ

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MuddyFarms, I'm sorry to have to say that 1" x 2" welded wire will not keep out weasels or rats. It might not even keep out mink. Raccoons will reach into a cage, lure young rabbits by wiggling their fingers, and then drag what they can of the rabbit through the wire, eating it as they do so. Not pretty.

I'd say the most likely predator is rats. They are relentless when their numbers make food sources insufficient. Have you watched for their droppings around the rabbitry?

Buy a box of Plaster of Paris and a bag of icing sugar -- you may call it confectioner's sugar. It is a soft powder that mixes easily with the plaster. Make a 50/50 mix. Some people add a bit of an attractant like anise or vanilla extract. Place in a container with a rat-sized access hole well away from pets. This will kill any rats ingesting it.

There are many ways to kill rats and we have numerous threads about them if this doesn't work. But it is cheap, safer than commercial poisons, and should bring some results within a week or so.

~ Maggie
 

MuddyFarms

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Thanks for replying, MaggieJ! Boy- that is not good news about the wire, but exactly what I needed to know. These kits were only a day old when it happened the first time and are about a week old now. Definitely trying the powdered sugar/Plaster of Paris mixture- it was the first thing we bought after we found the one that was eaten since I knew that was often suggested on RT. Thanks for telling me about the anise or vanilla extracts; I did not know that could help. Very glad to have all the threads on here about getting rid of predators like this! We are also trying to secure the barn as much as we can, and we set up a live trap as well.

I do have a picture of the droppings we have found. I should look up photos to see what they could be from (assuming it is from the predator, as we do have mice on the barn floor at times).

Thanks for your help with this!
 

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MaggieJ

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A weasel can get through anything the size of a quarter. So yes, a weasel can get in your cage. They like the delicacies of their kill and almost always return for more. You might consider a live trap. Use the dead kit for bait.
Yes, it could be a weasel or even a mink. If you have a live trap, Muddy Farms, it would be smart to hedge your bets and do as Buknee suggests.

My reasoning is that you would not have rodents like mice or rats around if your main predator is a weasel. They will normally exterminate the rodents before attacking even infant rabbits.
 

MuddyFarms

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Thanks for the info @Buknee and @MaggieJ - once we figured out it was a predator issue we got right on the live trap with the dead kit as bait. We have been trying to seal off the barn as much as possible (including some likely hiding places) and have not lost any kits the last couple days. What both of you have said makes sense, and I definitely appreciate your knowledge here! Maybe the Plaster of Paris/powdered sugar mixture is working...
 

Buknee

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Make sure the trap doesn't have too large of wire or a weasel will get out. Also, if it's not long enough, the gate closes on their tail and the get out. The good news about weasels, they are most often solo.
 

MuddyFarms

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Make sure the trap doesn't have too large of wire or a weasel will get out. Also, if it's not long enough, the gate closes on their tail and the get out. The good news about weasels, they are most often solo.

Definitely. We learned that watching little chipmunks escape from the live traps with ease. They would even squeeze between the door and the wall on the bigger ones. Hadn't thought about their tails getting them out! Glad to know weasels are typically solo.

Thanks for the tips; we have not had any more kits get taken out, so who knows what the weasel is doing now.
 

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