If you’ve seen skunks lurking around your living environment and you have a poultry farm, you are probably worried about the fate of your chickens when this animal finally attacks.
The first question anyone in this situation would type into their browser in a situation like this is, “do skunks eat chickens?” A skunk’s primary targets are little chicks and chicken eggs. With this information, you should know that skunks will not kill your fully-grown chickens.
This article tells you about skunks, how to identify their presence, their potential harm to your chickens, and how to prevent them from infiltrating your yard or poultry farm.
Skunks are nocturnal animals primarily active at night and inactive during cold winter seasons. There are four types of skunks; striped, hooded, hog-nosed, and spotted. They are commonly found in different parts of North America.
Skunks are well-known for the awful smell they produce in response to threats. While this animal enjoys being on its own, if threatened, it produces an awful smell from a gland under its tail called skunk musk.
This smell can cause nausea and sometimes stick for a longer time. Skunks can jump and climb, so you should know they have various ways of getting into your yard.
Do Skunks Eat Chickens?
The feeding habits of a skunk change with time, but they usually feed on insects, vegetables, fruits, worms, nuts, small birds and seeds, small reptiles, and small mammals.
However, it is essential to know that eggs are included in the diet of these animals, so the eggs of your chicken will be a target if a skunk infests your yard.
While they may target eggs, skunks rarely eat adult chicken as they are large and complex to hold down. Another target for skunks is baby chickens, as they are as small as any other mammal they consume; this is why a little stray chicken is more likely to be attacked by skunks than an adult chicken.
How To Tell If Skunks Have Been Bothering Your Chickens
For some people, detecting the occasional presence of a skunk in their chicken coop is easy, but for others, this may take some time to notice. Here are some ways to tell if skunks have visited your birdhouse before severe damage can be done.
Missing Chicks Or Eggs
It is one of the most apparent signs of a skunk invasion as the number of chicks and eggs in your birdhouse decreases.
There may be litters of broken eggshells as they may not consume the whole egg. With chicks, a skunk can eat it without leftovers, so that you may find feathers littered in some parts of your yard.
If a skunk by any chance attacks skunks attacks an adult chicken, you may find the carcass around as the skunk eats what suits it and leaves the rest behind.
Another identification that a skunk may have visited your bird farm is the lingering smell. They may spray when frightened; even if they don’t, their smell tends to follow them, allowing them to make their presence known.
As skunks enter and exit your yard, they may leave behind a trail to help you identify them. Skunks have five toes for every limb. However, more than this information is needed as other animals, like raccoons, have five toes for each limb.
Inspect the track, look for a reasonable spacing between each toe, and inspect the distance between the toes and the central paw pad.
The three middle toes appear to be close to each other. The print of skunks closely resembles that of paws, while that of a raccoon resembles a handprint. With this information paired with other clues you have gathered, you should be able to identify the presence of a skunk.
Before a skunk exits your yard, it may leave behind an unpleasant parting gift: its droppings. Skunk droppings are similar to that of a cat, and at times you may observe some undigested materials like insects, feathers, seeds, and other food items. These droppings may be in your birdhouse or the immediate area surrounding it.
The adult chickens in your birdhouse may get in the way of a skunk taking some eggs, leading to injuries.
If you are suspicious about this case, checking each bird for any injury is a great idea. While it may not always be a skunk that attacks your chickens, if you notice other signs of its presence, like smell or droppings, you can confirm that a skunk has been in your birdhouse.
Holes in your yard
After feasting on some chicks and eggs, skunks may also like to find worms. If your outdoor area has rich soil that supports the growth of worms, then you are likely to wake up to holes around as a result of this animal searching for worms.
How To Keep Skunks Away From Your Birdhouse
You can keep skunks out of bird house instead of harming them. These steps include homemade solutions and the best practices to ensure your birds are safe.
Get rid of attractants.
Several things may be lurking around that lure skunks to your birdhouse. Make sure to leave pet food or leftovers from your home correctly disposed of. Instead, get rid of these items in a tightly sealed trash can.
Do not leave eggs in your birdhouse if they are not to be hatched. The more eggs you pile, the more likely you will get a visitation from skunks.
The smell of a dirty birdhouse also invites this animal to your outdoor space, so be sure to keep it clean and in other surrounding areas. Reducing the insect population outside your house would be best, as they are another attractant. It is best done by using plants that repel these insects.
Deterrents are substances or things that discourage skunks from invading your yard. A popular one is using ammonia solution to keep this animal out as the strong smell of this chemical is similar to urine, which gives them the impression that a predator is close.
All you need to do is soak rags and store them in metal containers. These containers should be placed in various parts of your outdoor space.
You can use solutions like cayenne pepper, which repels them, plants or essential oils with strong smells, or a motion-activated sprinkler or alarm to scare them off.
Secure Your Chicken Coop
While you may feel like your coop is safe for chickens, there may be some weak spots that a skunk can exploit to Gin access.
Look for dents and bend and fix them right away, and if your coop is poorly constructed, you may need to build a new one that provides security to your chickens.
Use traps to keep skunks in place and prevent them from hurting your chickens. Do not use poison or any trap that can injure this animal. That is because your pet or kids may come in contact with the poisoned item or trap, which can cause severe injury.
An ideal trap is one designed to trap and not harm the skunks. When the skunk has been trapped successfully, you contact animal control to handle the rest.
This section covers additional questions concerning the feeding habits of skunks and how you can secure your chickens better.
Do skunks bother chickens?
Just like raccoons, opossums, foxes, coyotes, and snakes, skunks target little chickens for food. This animal uses its claws and sharp teeth to feed on chicks and eggs. They may hurt adult chickens and, in sporadic cases, kill and eat some parts of them.
How does a skunk eat chickens?
A skunk will only go for a target when it knows there is a good chance of success, so it starts by targeting the head or neck of the chicken before devouring the other parts of the body, sometimes they use its spray to immobilize and blind their target before attacking.
How do skunks get into the chicken coop?
They look for a weakness in your birdhouse and take advantage of it. Skunks are also excellent diggers, so they may dig their way through to access your chickens and eggs. That is why it is essential to secure your birdhouse properly.
Skunks can be a nuisance when they infiltrate your yard and make a huge mess, but they become even worse when they start eating your chickens. Skunks feed on eggs, trim chicken, and other things but rarely eat adult chicken.
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This article highlights all the ways you can identify the presence of a skunk in your birdhouse, their feeding habits, and how to prevent their infiltration. You can clean your living space, use deterrents and safe traps, or adequately secure your birdhouse.
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