Skunks Don't Always Leave Behind Their Scent

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rechellef, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Rechellef

    Rechellef Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2011
    So, I have lost three chickens to a mystery predator. The only clues that I had was that it was not a climber, was a digger and preferred my banties (Silkies). Well, I went to close up the chickens tonight and opened the main door to the coop to make sure everyone was there and lo and behold there was my Silkie Roo Elvis laying in front of a nesting box with a bloodied head. I thought for sure he was dead and when I looked in a little further, a skunk poked his head out of that nesting box. I tapped on the side of the box with my flash light and the skunk politely ambled out of the coop (which does have a solid floor that he cannot get into after the door is shut). I scooped up Elvis and took him into an animal carrier to tend to him. I thought for sure it might be a skunk, but everyone kept on telling me that it couldn't be because there was no odor. However, this creature left no odor even while exiting the coop and never left one when he killed three of my other birds. Therefore, no odor does not necessarily mean a skunk isn't your culprit.

    Now, I will set a trap for the stinky pest and an wondering how to handle him once he is trapped.
     
  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Texas
    depending on what area you are in, your local animal control may just take care of it for you (the city I live in requires you to put a plastic trash bag over the end of the trap if it is for a skunk). If that is not a possibility, skunks are actually pretty easy to handle in a trap. Do you plan on dispatching him in the trap? If so, talk softly to the skunk while you are doing it. I know, sounds silly, right? But it makes him more calm to know where you are in proximity to him, and lessens the chances of you getting sprayed. I have been inches from skunks in traps. As long as you keep the situation quiet and calm, they usually won't spray. Of course, he is going to be upset when he first gets trapped, so you are going to have to give him maybe an hour or two (or longer depending on the individual) to calm down.
     
  3. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have trapped and dispatched a good number of skunk that never sprayed I was mostly using 220 conibear traps ,I was setting them over the mouth of the skunks dens and not using bait of any sort
     
  4. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    Gently throw a blanket over the trap and the skunk won't spray. Transport to a spot, remove the blanket from the door and open door. Dispatch after it leaves the trap.
     
  5. WILDaboutCHICKENS

    WILDaboutCHICKENS Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 21, 2011
    Texas
    For the record, I "gently threw a blanket" over a trapped skunk once and got sprayed very nicely [​IMG]
     
  6. kgdubois

    kgdubois Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2011
    West Texas
    I have had this same experience, at least three times since getting my birds seven months ago. Skunks do not have many natural predators so they are often not agressive. If they do not feel threatened by you, they will not spray. I have herded a pair of skunks out of my coop while holding three injured pullets in my arms & my flashlight in my mouth, kicking sawdust onto them. They picked up their tails when I first went in, but once they realized I wasn't going to hurt them (at that point) they just walked out. Of course, my hubby was waiting about 20 yards from the coop to dispatch them with his shotgun...HA!

    If I suspect a skunk is nosing around, I set a livetrap with some sort of dinner leftovers/scraps. I usually catch them on the first night. Sometimes it turns out to be a coon instead, and if so, I take them to our pecan orchard about 5 miles away & let them go (I have a soft spot for coons, as I have had many as pets over the years, and adore them). I will shoot a coon that I actually catch in my birds, but only if I see it there...I know, I know [​IMG]

    I keep a 50+ gallon, plastic trashcan near my coop, which I fill up with water if I catch a skunk. I also keep a blue tarp around, and I'll drape it over the livetrap, then put the skunk in for a little 30 - 45 minute swim, which keeps them from stinking up the entire area for weeks. I have never had one spray when using this method.

    Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  7. maizy'smom

    maizy'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2011
    Philadelphia suburbs
    Quote:This is SO funny! We were just discussing this on Thanksgiving! My brothers and I have all dealt with have-a-heart traps and dealing with pests. I was recalling the time I caught a possum, then a ground hog, then another ground hog, all in the space of about three days. When I put the trap back out, I forgot to clean it and re-set it, and that very night, I heard a commotion outside....and wasn't it a skunk! I found myself thanking God that I hadn't re-set it! What would I have done with a trapped skunk? Then my brother the landscaper told how he had released one from a trap and found that, since it did not have enough room to lift its tail, it could not spray. Then I remembered a PBS nature program that said many skunks can't or won't spray unless they can do a hand-stand, and lift their tail and their whole back end off the ground. So, maybe that's the trick, to not give them enough room to fire up their working end. (?) Just a thought......

    mm
     
  8. aprophet

    aprophet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    chesapeake Va.
    maizy'smom :

    Quote:This is SO funny! We were just discussing this on Thanksgiving! My brothers and I have all dealt with have-a-heart traps and dealing with pests. I was recalling the time I caught a possum, then a ground hog, then another ground hog, all in the space of about three days. When I put the trap back out, I forgot to clean it and re-set it, and that very night, I heard a commotion outside....and wasn't it a skunk! I found myself thanking God that I hadn't re-set it! What would I have done with a trapped skunk? Then my brother the landscaper told how he had released one from a trap and found that, since it did not have enough room to lift its tail, it could not spray. Then I remembered a PBS nature program that said many skunks can't or won't spray unless they can do a hand-stand, and lift their tail and their whole back end off the ground. So, maybe that's the trick, to not give them enough room to fire up their working end. (?) Just a thought......

    mm

    I would,nt put a lot of stock in this I have been sprayed by several that could not lift their tails they probably prefer not to spray themselves , there is a learning curve on "sweet talking" them if you have a choice 15-25 feet away and a .22 is a good way, if you google skunk acetone and syringe you will get an alternative to guns​
     
  9. littleoak

    littleoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had several skunks this year. So far, the trapped ones haven't sprayed. I think not being able to lift the tail is true. After the skunk is shot though, the odor gland releases and the stink comes out. I do have several friendly buzzards that visit for the skunk feast after it has ripened a few days.
     
  10. calicokat

    calicokat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    I also mistakenly thought "it can't be a skunk since there's no smell" -- only to discover that a skunk was exactly what was digging under the coop and coming in at night. At first it was content to eat the eggs that DD hadn't collected (and it was easy, because the silly girls were laying them on the floor.) I tried beefing up the perimeter of the coop with piles of bricks, but predator just found openings and dug back in.

    But that last night, he took the meat bird who was too big to get up and roost - that ticked off the DH [​IMG] Still not knowing what we were dealing with, I surrounded the coop in hardware cloth covered by30 lb. concrete paver blocks. When DH left for work at 10pm - he spotted the little rascal digging at the corner where the pavers met up - trying to get in the coop again. It was then that we knew what we were dealing with. DH shot him, and yes, as the other poster said, then there was an odor!

    If it's a digger, think skunk. That could very well be your predator!
     

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