- topicPredators And Pests
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Skunk - Chicken Predators - How To Protect Your Chickens From Skunks
Skunks may kill and eat domestic poultry and their eggs. They pose only a little threat to adult birds, but prize eggs as a tasty treat and will often break up a nest when the opportunity avails itself. They are very shy, with very poor eyesight. Primarily a nocturnal creature, skunks will usually respect a farm with geese, a good dog or farm cat. Let your nose tell you if a skunk has been in the hen house. Both striped and spotted skunks can raid chicken houses. The worst offender is usually the spotted skunk because it can climb easily to gain access.
Striped skunks suffer from poor vision at a distance of more than 2 or 3 feet. A keen sense of smell enables then to easily locate foods, which vary with the season. Not a particularly swift animal, skunks don't need good distance vision to locate prey species which have little or no mobility.
There are 4 different types of skunks: the hooded skunk, the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, and the scarce hog-nosed skunk. The most common of the four is the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), which has a sleek black coat with two white stripes down the back and one white stripe up the forehead. Its eyes and ears are small, and although its vision is bad, it has a keen sense of hearing. The white spots and white stripes across its black fur can identify the spotted skunk. Skunks are members of the weasel family, and spotted skunks look very similar to weasels because they are much smaller with more narrow faces than most skunks. Both the spotted skunk and the striped skunk can be found across the Great Plains. Adult skunks are about two feet long, including a 7- to 10-inch tail. They weigh 3-12 pounds, depending on age, sex, physical condition and time of year. Males on average are 15 percent larger and heavier than females.
Skunks can be found in southern Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico. They are found in a wide variety of habitats, and are common in many urban areas, but prefer open or forest edge areas, where they forage at night, using their long front claws for rooting out food.
Method of Kill
Skunks occasionally kill poultry and eat eggs. They normally do not climb fences to get poultry. If skunks gain access, they will normally feed on the eggs and occasionally kill one or two fowl. Many times the skunk will remove the head from the chicken to drink the blood. Eggs usually are opened on one end with the end crushed inward.
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