Mink raiding pond

whiskeysueNovember 14, 2010

Hi, I have used this site many times over the past 5 years to help with the operation of my 12K gallon pond, Koi and goldfish, inherited with the home I bought. I have been very lucky, till now, that the pond runs smoothly and rather easily given the size. Over the past two weeks, I have not been so fortune. A mink has discovered the pond and has raided 100% of my 4-12" koi, 80% 12-24" and totally mangled a 30+" koi. I have since moved my large koi, including the damaged koi, to a 200 gallon tempoary pond in the garage while I try to trap the mink. I am looking for help and advice after a very stressful week or two (for me and the koi).

I have 9 30" koi and 3 20" koi in the temporary pond. Currently there is just an aerator and I am trying to switch out buckets of water everyday. I cannot keep this up all winter and the ammonia level is already dangerously high.

So have 3 options I am looking for urgent help with:

a) board the koi somewhere, disadvantage being the cost ($70-100/mth)

b) buy a filter system and heater and try keep them in the garage. I don't know the cost of this yet but am concerned that the temporary pond isn't big enough for a long term solution. They are still very agitated when I go in the garage but settle after a few minutes. The white koi are showing distress via pink coloring. The water has been lightly salted.

c) the mink does not seem to have been around for the past week, from what I can tell... I can put them back in the pond and keep the trap operation + try to electrify the perimeter. This won't be easy as the pond goes underneath some decking and is rather large, I think I would likely accomplish 70-80% coverage. To top it off, I also have a dog and cat to worry about.

Has anyone been challenged with this sort of situation or decison before? Any suggestion or opinions would be much appreciated. It has been awful to watch this happen.

Thanks,

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serenae(6)

I'm so sorry to hear about your fish. I thought I felt badly because a cat got one of my small goldfish!

Is there any way you can place stiff netting or chicken wire over top of the pond, to keep the mink out? I don't know much about mink, so I don't know if that would keep it out until you were able to trap it.

If you decide to try and keep the koi in the garage for winter, you could make a couple of the DIY filters, which work very well and are inexpensive to make. You could move your pond pump in there, or else buy a cheap small one, and put in a pre-filter. If your garage is fairly well isolated, you may not need a heater if you have good water movement going on.

For a temporary fix until you got a filter system going, you could buy some of that water treatment stuff that gets rid of ammonia immediately. One brand is called "Interpet Ammonia Remover".

Also, make sure you stop feeding your fish for the time being. It will only increase the ammonia problem.

Again, I'm sorry this is happening. I hope you are able to trap the mink soon!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 1:55PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Since I never had a problem with mink I went searching and found great many sites online. Not many of them are particularly helpful to you as a pond keeper. The worrisome part is that they are not likely to go away unless you take some sort of action and in many places they are a protected species. That means you need to contact your local wildlife agency to get permission to trap and kill them so you don't have legal problems.

According to what I read, the only effective method is trapping which isn't always something the average person can do successfully or safely and can run into real money. Perhaps you can rent traps from a local animal control agency if you decide to do this yourself. If you don't want to go that way, your best bet would be to find a commercial trapper who could deal with a vicious and dangerous animal with some expertise. In any case, your best bet would be to take action as soon as possible before babies are born in the spring. Simply locating the den or trails would be a good first step.

Your pets are certainly in harms way, more from the mink than from the traps.

I wish you the best in solving this problem. I hope you will keep us up to date.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 2:52PM
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sandyl(Zone 6B -7)

My parents had a otter problem a couple years ago with their large channel catfish pond being invaded by otters. The pond is right off their back deck of the house and they live in the country so a 22 rifle took care of that problem real quick. The otter's would catch a fish and go to the pond bank to eat it, thats when my brother would pop them off one at a time.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 4:04PM
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whiskeysue

Thanks for your suggestions and support. As much as I wish I could pop off the bugger with a 22, I don't think my neighbors or the police would be too understanding. I did add some ammonia treatment to the water, thanks for that. I have also a live trap set up but haven't caught it yet... I have also contacted a pond construction company to install an electric fence around the perimeter. Has anyone tried this for predator control? I am hoping to put the fish back into the pond by the weekend - wish me luck.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 5:10PM
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mgeca

Mink are slinky characters that go places you wouldn't think they can. Under an electric fence seems like one of those places. There are exterminators who specialize in animal removal. We once had a squirrel in the house--down the chimney and past a nearly closed flue. I used a live trap with good bait to no avail. The exterminator came in, used the same trap and bait and caught it overnight. I think the secret is in placing the trap. It wasn't cheap but it was effective. And Sandy sure us right--they are really nasty and dangerous. Please let us know how you make out as critter control is a problem for ponders.
Mike

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 6:50PM
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mike_il(WChi)

Whiskeysue,
Where are you located? I have seen a lot of problems with mink in this area but it always is in the middle of winter. They normally won't come near houses and garden ponds until they are forced to because of a lack of food. I don't think an electric fence is going to be the answer. I would make sure that I also netted the pond as this will probably keep him out.
Catching him is not going to be easy. And I have seen quite a few professionals that did have a clue how to catch one. If you are going to use a live trap make sure that it has no human scent on it. If you can find the area that the mink is coming to the pond set the trap in that area. It has to be covered to make it look like a hole in the brush or like a cave. Then mink scent has to be used leading to the trap and in the trap. You have to convince this mink that the trap is the home of another mink. If you catch him either shoot in the trap or drown him in the trap. Do not try to release him.
Mike

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 10:20PM
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caddopecan

What you need to do is buy a good trap and use it every time the fish look disturbed. They will tell you when there is a predator fishing the pond. A swimming pool leaf net may work, but it is not a permanent solution. Bait the trap with a can of sardines, catch the mink, and shoot the mink with a .22 (in the trap). The mink will put out the word to the other mink that there are some easy pickings, and the problem will expand quickly. We have a problem with coons, and one time, before we broke the cycle, we caught and killed about 20 of them over a period of a month. Sometimes 2 in the trap. Some more advice. Buy a good trap. These animals are strong and will tear it up. The Pied Piper, Weatherford, Texas makes the best trap.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 10:43PM
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