This morning I went to get in my car to go to work, and as usual I dropped my bag, keys, etc. in the car and then walked up to the coop/run, talking to the girls as I went and scanning the run as I did my morning "head count." All are there, plus one extra-- a SKUNK! The hens didn't seem panicked, and were clamoring at the front of the run like usual, begging for their morning scratch while Pepe LePue toddled around behind them, snuffling up bits of scratch left over from yesterday, I guess. I froze, backed up and watched from a safe distance while calling my husband on the phone and trying not to sound hysterical.
Pepe toddled up the ramp into the coop, and I could hear him banging around in there. Again, chickens didn't seem panicked, just going about their morning business, and some even followed him in. I get the feeling he's a regular breakfast visitor. And I think I need to apologize to my hens for all the times I"ve blamed them for breaking eggs and eating the contents.
BUT, more importantly-- is it NORMAL for skunks to be out and about at about 8:00 am? It's not, right? Or do you think he was just heading to bed? We live in a suburban neighborhood of old Victorian homes, most with carriage barns behind, and in fact part of our barn is our coop, so I KNOW we have more than our share of healthy skunks and raccons around. But do you think I should be concerned that he's rabid?
AND HOLY CRAP-- HOW DO I GET HIM OUT?! I had to leave for work, and how the heck would I have gotten him out anyway? I figured if he got in, he could get out again, and if he did so on his own terms the likelihood of either myself and/or the ladies getting sprayed was much less, so I reluctantly left for work.
Now I realize that we've had a security breach, and if Pepe LaPue got in, Ricky Racoon could also get in, so that will be addressed tonight. But in the meantime, I just needed to come here and do this: and this and finally this
and ask if this is normal skunk-chicken behavior? Should my hens have been afraid? We've never had problems with predators in the past, and honestly, my chickens weren't acting as if anything was out of the ordinary. To skunks pose a risk to chickens? I'm afraid to go home and check, though I know that's silly-- they way they were acting, Pepe has been there before.