63 chickens taken in island polecat raid

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A Benbecula woman has spoken of her disappointment after losing 63 chickens in a series of polecat raids on her byre.

Linda Macdonald had been made aware of a polecat on the island after a family friend’s chicken flock was decimated.

But it was while Linda was away on holiday with her husband Roddy that the polecat struck her own flock, taking more than 60 in a series of raids.

“I was absolutely devastated when I heard,” she admitted.

“I was so attached to them, as I spent so much time with the chickens and looked after them so well, so it was like a dog lover losing a dog.

“We knew there was a polecat in the area but until it hits you it is difficult to guess how it will get into your property.

“The polecat managed to squeeze in under a two inch gap on the byre door. Since then it has been fixed and the chickens have been locked inside pretty much ever since.

“They have been in for almost two weeks now as the weather is so bad and they don’t deal well in this weather. I think we will keep them in until the bad weather passes.

“I had set traps all around to try and catch the polecat, but as yet all I’ve caught have been rats.”

Others in Uist have been hit by polecat raids too and a friend of Linda’s was left with only one chicken after an attack, resulting in Linda adopting the lone chicken which survived.

She added: “It’s just one of those things but it does affect what we are doing.

“I have two sets of chickens between my own and the others which are part of the Rent-A-Hen scheme which is going really well and has really taken off.”