It’s a Jungle Out There!


By: Beth von Behren on June 25, 2012 Print This Post

Bill Ruppert, Kirkwood resident and owner of Ruppert Gardens and Chicken Ranch, tells us that 24 of his 34 hens were killed two weeks ago by a mink.

Minks can be very destructive.

You read that right. A mink got through Bill’s two-inch by four-inch welded wire mesh fencing and brutally killed 24 chickens. Bill says his coop has protected the hens from raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, hawks, and owls since 2005, but the mink easily squeezed through the two-inch wide fencing. (Bill confirms that he found the mink there, and that’s how he can verify which animal culprit was responsible.)  He is in the process now of replacing the 2” x 4” welded wire mesh with ½” hardware mesh.

According to Bill, Kirkwood is not alone in mink attacks.  “Soon after our flock was impacted, a fellow Kirkwood backyard chicken rancher in the Lemp neighborhood suffered a significant loss of hens to the mink,” Bill said.  “Yesterday I learned the flight cage at the St. Louis Zoo experienced a mink attack, which killed three flamingos.”

Bill contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation and spoke with Riparian Wildlife Specialist Mike Arduser, who told him that minks are common to areas along the Meramec River basin. According to a page on the MDC’s Website, minks need permanent water and prefer woods nearby, so Kirkwood is an ideal spot for them.  According to this page on the site (click here), minks don’t kill for fun; they hunt for food but suffer from the eyes-are-bigger-than-their-stomachs problem, allowing food to spoil once they get it home (which may explain why Bill lost so many hens all at once).

So chicken keepers beware:  Bill suggests you re-evaluate your fence security to protect your flock.





Written by Beth

Beth von Behren is the Public Information Officer for the City of Kirkwood. She manages the City Website ( and writes/edits both the monthly "Eye on Kirkwood" (published on the last Friday of the month inside the "Webster-Kirkwood Times") and the every-other-weekly e-newsletter "Kirkwood Happenings." To sign up for the e-newsletter, send an email to