TL;DR Mink chases chickens, dogs chase mink, no one catches anyone.


Sunny Saturday morning. Sipping my coffee and hanging around the barnyard, chickens breakfasting and softly conversing amongst themselves, when an ungodly yowling and snarling shatters our peace. What the heck?!?

In reply to my unasked question, a bolt of dark chocolate lightning erupts from under the Silkies’ coop and shoots towards the creek, triggering a wave of explosive chicken panic as it flashes down the line of coops.

Mink!!! Must have got pinched by the wire as it tried to force his way up into the Silkie pen.

I yell for dogs and K sends Liza. Then she runs for the big house, to get Chance. We all like to laugh at poor inept Chance, he usually just can’t compete. But there is one thing he is way better at than Liza, and that is rooting out little furry critters. It’s his proud ratter dog heritage.


Over the next half hour, stealth alternates with panic as the cursed mink tries again; not once, not twice, but THREE MORE TIMES. We spend each few quiet minutes hunting, me in observation mode, piggybacking on Chance’s senses as he reconnoiters. He dashes here and there, sampling the breeze with his quivery nose, and then stopping stock still and listening so intently that his hunting flag of a tail gets forgotten and slowly subsides down.

Every time he catches a fresh whiff or hears a minky slither his tail snaps back up, signalling both its direction and his progress.


In these intervals Liza loses interest quickly, preferring to stand and stare hypnotically at the Silkies while Chance terriers up and down the creekside, busy at his work.

Then we catch another glimpse of manic furry plushness, twitching and flipping under a ledge, around a corner, through a pallet, behind the feed cans; feverish red eyes searching for a way in; so desperate to sink sharp fangs into hot, tasty chicken that it keeps coming back, even with human and dog defenders right there!

At each sighting Chance and Liza hurl themselves after the mink; growling, barking, furious hell hounds at first, simmering down to stereotypical bumblers as they get blocked by dense bush; outsmarted again by this crafty wild thing throwing them effortlessly off its trail.


After a tumultuous half hour that leaves the flocks terrified but intact, and me weak-kneed and needing more coffee, the mink finally gives up and departs, perhaps to try its luck at the next coop on down the valley. As its scent fades away, Chance relaxes with satisfaction.

Everyone has their special talent, and loves the chance to excel, right Chance? Good job ratter dog!!!