Skunk in the henhouse...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jossanne, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    Friday evening my hubby and I were getting ready to go out on a date. I decided I'd better check eggs before we left with a reminder for the kids to be sure to close the chicken coop at dusk. Our birds free range during the day, so the coop door is open from sunup to sundown. On the outside of the coop, I have a door that can be raised to look into the nest boxes to gather eggs without having to enter the building. So I opened it up, started gathering eggs, and noticed something strange in the nest box. I thought, "That's weird, I don't have a black and white chicken." It took several seconds for it to register that it was a skunk laying there, sleeping! [​IMG] I carefully closed the nest box door, called my husband to come out and help, and he brought two of our sons with him.

    So it's almost time for the girls to go in to bed. We had to think quickly to get that stupid skunk out. Baiting it with dog food didn't work, and banging on the walls didn't work. My husband went and got the .22, and shot the skunk a couple of times from outside the hen yard. You can see through the chicken wire, through the bird's door into their yard, and into the dark nest boxes. But the skunk didn't die, and got down into the wall by the nest boxes. I hadn't ever thought of bad things being able to get into that hole in the wall. Finally we got the bleeding skunk scared back out of the wall, and into the nest box again. My hubby opened the nest box door, grabbed the skunk by the tail [​IMG] , and flung it out of the hen house where he was able to finish it off quickly. [​IMG] We had the problem solved by dark, and the chickens were sure desperate to get into their house by the time it was all over with! [​IMG]

    We ended up not going on our date on Friday night, because we weren't sure how much skunk smell was clinging to us. [​IMG] But we were sure glad we got the skunk, anyway! We'd lost two welsummers to a skunk in the previous few days because we'd gotten home late one evening and didn't get the coop closed before dark. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I hoped that killing that skunk would solve the problem, for a while at least, of skunks in the hen house. [​IMG] I hoped it had only been one skunk who had discovered the easy prey. But the next morning, there were two places by the coop door where something had tried to dig in. [​IMG] Glad our coop doesn't have digging access! Anyway... one skunk down. Our dog killed another one two nights ago.

    A friend suggested putting coyote urine around the hen house, because it keeps skunks and raccoons away. It sounded like a good idea, until I remembered that my dad used that same stuff to bait traps to catch coyotes when I was a kid. It seems like that's going to lure the coyotes to the hen house, and I'd be trading one problem for another. Any thoughts on that subject? [​IMG]
     
  2. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    [​IMG] [​IMG] Sorry but I had a skunk spray my GSD at 2 am next thing you know I am bathing a dog at 2:15 am! Hope you get them all gone!!
     
  3. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 14, 2008
    No offence meant but your husband is either very brave or ??????
     
  4. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    HA HA NYREDS, he is very brave, and we were very desperate. At this point, the sun was almost down and the hens were knocking on the coop door... we weren't sure what else to do. The way the skunk was in the nest box, there was no longer a clear shot from outside the yard. But I stood a long way back, cuz I wasn't gonna get sprayed with him!

    You know, sometimes I start feeling like a total redneck... [​IMG]
     
  5. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    Quote:ChickenPeople, I feel for you. We had our dog sprayed by a skunk at 10pm on Christmas night, and next thing you know I was bathing him at 10:15pm! What a way to end Christmas!
     
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Quote:Hi Jossanne. I'm so sorry you lost birds [​IMG] Are you sure a skunk was the pred? Were your welsummers adults? From everything I've read, skunks pose little threat to adults, though there are reported exceptions.

    So as to tread carefully re: the BYC predator rules, I will give wide berth re: the shooting/killing of a sleeping skunk. My wish for your birds is certainly that they are always safe and sound. And I do realize dealing with a skunk can be a tenuous affair. What concerns me about some posts though, and I do understand it's hard to assess emotion from the written word and from emoticons, is when it appears the person thinks it's funny to inflict pain on another being, even a pred. It really troubles me. A lot of impressionable people out there could glean from such apparent reactions that it's cool or funny to kill critters so I'm hoping we can all be a little careful about how we write about such matters. Protecting our feathered friends is sometimes a necessity but if I ever had to harm a pred I would feel pretty solemn about it. I try to pred proof like mad so as never to have to confront a pred in my bird's universe. That said, I have had irresponsible neighbor's dogs break in and thankfully have never lost anybody though during and after it's a heartwrenching feeling. I have never harmed the dogs but I have gotten very tough on their people, with ticketing and bills.

    My thoughts are not directed specifically to your post - it was just the catalyst for me to finally write about the topic. Please forgive this being the catalyst! I see a lot of posts with smileys and smileys having belly laughs etc. about what a pred or perceived pred goes through in the process of being killed and today I just carved out a few minutes to write about it.

    Be well.
    JJ
     
  7. bigstack

    bigstack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    First off, Congrats on protecting your flock!! And family.
    Racoons and skunks are notorious carriers of rabbies.
    The skunk wasnt there just to say hi and take a quick nap! Job well done.
    If you READ the post, the skunk wasn't sleeping in the nest when shot. I am against unnessecerily killing or harming any living thing, BUT I will do what ever it takes to protect me and mine!
    Secondly, We had a skunk get into our back portch through a cat door. She didn't make it out of the yard (44MAG) The next night the male came. I guess he was looking for her. I did feel bad about that! But I have several cats, dogs, and neices. SOoo He didn't make it either. As long as we all do what we know, think, and feel is right to protect our family and animals I see nothing wrong. It is when you mame, torture, and kill for fun or profit that there is a problem.
    BUT this is just my opinion and like every one else; I should have kept it to myself. So I appologize!

    Congrats on protecting yours! Glad all turned out well.
    God Bless!
     
  8. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    JJThink...
    Thanks for your thoughts. Point well taken. I did not think the skunk's pain or death was funny, but the whole situation was crazy, and comical in retrospect. Have you ever seen a desperate man grab a skunk by the tail??? Would you not laugh at that? Obviously, we wish we'd been able to get the skunk out some other way. We tried to get the skunk out some other way. We wish that since we did have to kill it, one quick bullet would have finished it off. Alas, it was not to be.

    I am positive it was a skunk that killed the two chickens, who were both full-grown. The lowest roost bars in the coop are maybe 15" above the ground, and the skunk must have gotten the girls off of that roost. We found them both dead inside the hen house with heads eaten off, and a strong odor of skunk in and surrounding the hen house. It must have sprayed in or very near the coop.

    Skunks have been a huge problem in this area in the past 8 or 9 months, and everyone has had many more than usual. It is a fact that a large percentage of skunks are carriers of rabies, and rabies has been a problem among other predatorial animals in this area in the last few years. Of wildlife species in the US, wild raccoons account for the largest number of rabies cases. Wild skunks account for the second largest number of rabies cases in wildlife in the US. When/if we come across more skunks in and around our hen house, we will kill them, and be very grateful that we are able to protect our flock.
     
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 17, 2007
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    Quote:My intent was to concentrate comment not on the killing of a pred or suspected pred but rather on all of us being careful about how we report/write/discuss hurting or killing anything. All sorts of folks, including disturbed or impressionable folks, are on the internet and can (and indeed do) get wacky ideas from smiley face creatures cheering or having belly laughs over hurting any living being or any other reference to it being funny or joyful. Many many people have posted similar to the OP's post, and in all likelihood most don't imagine what it could potentially cause someone else to do for far less logical reasons.

    I am not surprised there was a defensive response but ask you to think about this.

    JJ
     
  10. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Jossane, you are very wonderful to provide this response because this way anyone reading this thread hopefully can no longer get the wrong idea, or twisted ideas of their own (can't prevent that all the time of course, but we can try!)

    I am really terribly sorry about your feathered friends.

    JJ

    p.s. I haven't seen a desperate man grab a skunk by the tail but it does remind me of a time when my birds were in a coop that developed a rat problem. When we were ripping out all the insulation to get rid of any rat nests and then shore up the building with hardware cloth so no one uninvited could ever get in again, my friend Brian jumped it seemed 10 feet high when removal of a piece of insulation revealed the biggest rat that one could imagine! The tail alone was absolutely stunning in its length. Thankfully the rat ran off at the speed of light, never to be seen again! I know Brian's heart was pounding for awhile afterward while I laughed (easier situation of course, because nobody got hurt)! Hardware cloth did the trick, thank goodness. No more rats.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010

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