.22LR for varmints?


July 1, 2011, 03:26 PM
I found out today that something got into the chickens last night and killed half of them. I live out in the country, so it could have been anything from coyote, raccoon, possum, fox, whatever. I'm thinking it was sometrhing smaller, since there is no real obvious damage to the hen house or the surrounding fence.

I'm a bit irritated by this, to say the least, and I want VENGEANCE!!! :fire::fire::fire::cuss::cuss:


Anyway, how well would .22LR against what is likely one of the forementioned varmint animals? We're talking about a range of MAYBE 25 yards.

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July 1, 2011, 04:02 PM
Yup 22 long will do the job. most any ammo. Aguila makes a 60grain 22 round. that works out to 25 yards. after 25 yards, the VERY long lead bullet tumbles. But for a farmer going into a chicken house with a 22 revolver. to dispatch unwanted varmint at 20 ft or closer It will make quick work of the lil animal.

July 1, 2011, 04:05 PM
Headshots or lung shots will easily take out any of the aforementioned varmints at 50 yards or even better.

July 1, 2011, 04:12 PM
How were they killed? Racoons tend to rip them apart and often eat the heads, coyotes take the whole chicken as do foxes.

July 1, 2011, 04:16 PM
use the remington yellow jackets. they are truncated hollow points that are on the move out of the barrel. they feed well and are pretty accurate too.

July 1, 2011, 04:31 PM
Not much of them was left over, some blood and feathers, a little bit of unidentifiable guts. Neighbor says he saw a coyote not long ago.

I'm gonna have a heart to heart talk with my rooster, Cogburn. He does a fine job keeping my dogs away, but he failed this time.

July 1, 2011, 04:35 PM
Get a donkey. They'll stomp the guts out of a coyote.

o Unforgiven o
July 1, 2011, 04:37 PM
How do you think it got into the pen?

July 1, 2011, 05:01 PM
I'll take a closer look when I get home from work. Wife says there is a small gap in the fence where it connects to the coop. Don't know if whatever got in there worked a hole through the fence, pulling it away. This seems most likely. Though we've had a lot of wind and rain, so storm damage isn't completely ruled out. Looks like I'll be spending the evening staking out in my yard aiming for the moles, gopher, ground hogs and now whatever killed my chickens. Wish me luck, I'm going to war!

July 1, 2011, 05:21 PM
When we ever have any varmint problems, we bait a live trap with cat food. Yes, CAT FOOD. We catch skunks, opossum, raccoon, and occasionally our own cats, but that's why it's a live trap.

Place the trap near an entrance to the chicken house with the chickens locked inside, or possibly near the hole in the fence. If you find any dens or large (4" or larger) in the ground, set it by that.

We have been catching varmints off of our dairy farm for years. Sometimes we've caught the vermin within 3 hours. Once they are in the trap, shoot them with a 22 or shotgun. If it's a skunk, try for a one shot kill in the head, and dispose of immediately before they start to stink.

If you don't want to invest in a live trap, i still would suggest using cat food in a pile as a cheap bait. This probably won't work for coyotes or fox.

Your .22 will work nicely if you decide to get one.

I understand you want to know about what will kill the animal, I'm trying to help you catch the animal. You can also use an instant kill trap as well--Just make sure chickens/pets won't get into it.

I believe traps work best because you don't run the risk of scaring the animal away to come back another time. It will be dead ASAP.

Ky Larry
July 1, 2011, 05:32 PM
Mom had the same problem with a bear. It tore the side out of the hen house, killed all the chickens, didn't eat them, but it did eat the cracked corn she kept for feed. The game warden trapped it and took it back to E. Ky.
Sounds like a weasel or fox may be your problem. Both can be humanely killed with a .22lr. I'd try Mini-Mags if they shoot accurately in your gun. However, nothing beats a 12ga shotgun for critter control. Good luck.

Cop Bob
July 1, 2011, 06:03 PM
Sounds like a plan... the little 22 will work juz fine....

Live Traps? I though this was a shooters forum..? I think if he wanted them alive he would have posted in Mother Earth News.... just sayin..

July 1, 2011, 06:08 PM
A simple .22LR will take any of the animals you mentioned, with the only stipulation being that a shot on coyote should be kept limited.

I would suggest trapping as well - that is how my relatives have always done it.

My personal instinct would say your pest is likely a fox, coon, or opossum. The coyote would likely have done more damage, and weasels are becoming rare in most places these days.

Live Traps? I though this was a shooters forum..? I think if he wanted them alive he would have posted in Mother Earth News.
The live trap just keeps them alive until you can get a look at them and decide their fate. Unless your the type of person who likes to kill or main pets, then the value of that should be obvious.

Even if the caught animal turns out to be the culprit of the misdeeds, a live trap keeps the animal contained so a swift and accurate killing shot can be make. The animal is just doing what nature designed it to do; there is no reason to vilify the beast, or to make it suffer.

July 1, 2011, 06:26 PM
I've inspected the damage, and there isn't much left. A pile of feathers, a severed head, a couple feet gnawed to the bone. Whatever it was was big enough to flatten the grass in the area. There is a spot behind the chicken house that is about 50'x25' that has been left to grow wild. It was like this before we got here and I haven't torn it down yet. The chickens were pulled into this area to be eaten.

There are coyotes in this area. I haven't seen too many foxes. Coons and possums are abundant. And I haven't seen a weasel in years, aside from the ferrets we keep, and they don't count.

At this point, having seen the left overs, and seen where it got in, I'm leaning toward the coyote.

Cop Bob
July 1, 2011, 07:04 PM
Misinformed, I think not, I did read the question... Insulted... another question all together.. His, (OP) question would a 22LR work for varmint control?... The OP never asked about live traps...

I would agree with the live trap completely in an urban environment... but that was not the question... As far as keeping them alive until I can look at them.. That target assessment would have been done just prior to the decision on it's fate.. If it turns out to be the neighbors cat... I'm sure that he would deal with that in an acceptable manner... You see, as responsible gun owners, we have a duty to ourselves, our neighbors, and each other to act responsibly..

Have a Wonderful day...

July 1, 2011, 07:30 PM
watch out it could be chupacabra, the allien bloodsucking varmint ;-)
in my back yard I use rem subsonic to take 20 - 30 yards shots, but for 30 and to 50 I prefer Wolf match they are also subsonic. The subsonic ammo is accurate and deadly on varmints

July 1, 2011, 07:42 PM
My bet is on a Fox or Foxes. My neighbor lost ten chickens in one night to a fox or couple of foxes. They can get into chicken coups pretty easily.

July 1, 2011, 08:03 PM
Well if it's a Chupacabra, I might get my pitcher takin fer the 'Nashinul Inkwirer'

What are the odds of whatever this critter is coming back two nights in a row?

July 1, 2011, 08:41 PM
Is there a chicken wire above the birds? If not, it could be a large hawk, eagle, or owl.

July 1, 2011, 09:36 PM
Yeah, there is a chicken wire cover over the entire run.

Jeff F
July 2, 2011, 08:31 AM
I feel for you man, I have been fighting the same battle here. Damn coyotes love chicken dinners.

May 8, 2012, 05:48 PM
It will work but it will take a couple shots to take out a coyote. The best gun for what you need it for is a 22 mag check out the marlin xt-22 magnum and the savage 93 FV. U will be dropping them like flies.

May 8, 2012, 08:13 PM
A friend trapped 20 coyotes last winter on her rural property, and is still trapping. The police trapped 12 in the middle of our town, a suburb of Charleston, SC, after one of them attacked a dog being walked on leash. Coyote have killed 30%+ of our state's deer herd, untold turkey, dove, quail, pets (they love cats and small dogs) and ducks. I like the idea of trapping and dispatching... Me? A 1997 Marlin Model 60 (new stronger recoil buffer), 22" barrel, and CCI's Stinger for up-close, Velocitor for up to 150 yards max.

May 8, 2012, 08:29 PM
Looking at the OP date, I am going to go ahead and assume one way or another his problem has worked itself out. Lack of chickens or lack of varmints.:D

May 9, 2012, 08:55 AM
I've been using a dedicated .22LR for midnight marauders for a few years now. I had to build one for the purpose. I was having a lot of trouble, spending a lot of time raising chickens to feed the local coons, skunks, possums, foxes, feral cats and coyotes, not to mention patching holes in the pen.

Regardless of Cop Bob's comments, live traps are also a very good solution.


The .22LR, even out of a pistol, can be very effective on smaller predators. Here's a target of opportunity. One shot through the boiler room at 35yrds did the job just fine.


May 9, 2012, 09:32 AM
Old post but good topic. It is probably either a fox, coyote or feral cat. I like the live trap because most of the events will be at night and I like to sleep at night. I have never seen a fox or feral cat sit still long enough for me to get a good shot. You should be able to keep coyotes out of a chicken coop as they are larger and less agile than foxes and cats. Is an electric fence feasible? I use one to keep coons away from biddies in the smaller elevated pen and it also works on the larger coop. I have not yet seen an animal, myself included, that likes touching an electric fence. I have killed all of the above mentioned predators with a .22 but I prefer a shotgun since they generally are on the move.

May 9, 2012, 10:01 AM
There ain't much a little 22 long rifle will NOT kill. You just have to put the little pill in the right spot. Every animal that walks in north america has been killed by the lowly 22 including grizzly bear. Poachers use 22 shorts at night to keep the noise down but then they use lights and shoot the deer in the eye at very close range. Think of the Ruger 10 22 if you do not aready have a 22. Semi auto ought to do the job on whatever needs killing. Good luck in your war.

May 9, 2012, 10:06 AM
With the economy the way it is, the culprit might be a hungry neighbor. ;)

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