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skunks living under coop and stealing all the egs

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mary51100, May 7, 2017.

  1. Mary51100

    Mary51100 Just Hatched

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    Hi !

    For 3 years now we've had skunks living under the chicken coop and eating all our eggs. Our coop is made of wood and we've reinforced all the sides with metal strips but those skunks get in by chewing the wood underneath and squeezing in. We've caught several with a have-a -heart (the fattest most well fed skunks ever) and relocated them but this is getting tedious and different ones keep coming back.

    I read somewhere, but of course can't find it now, that red lighting will keep them out of the coop. Has anyone tried this? Does anyone have any other suggestions? Our coop is big and we don't want to make a whole new one and truthfully no one wants to go under the coop to get them out of there.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.
     
  2. jolly wattles

    jolly wattles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe pull the wood floor up install hardware cloth then lay wood floor back down?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Relocation is a hot topic on here, it starts a lot of arguments. Some people will insist you have to kill, others favor relocation. I’ll try to avoid the emotion when discussing it.

    It’s probably illegal to relocate where you are unless you release them on your own property or have the land owner’s permission. But each state has different laws. There may or may not be a legal way to relocate where you are. The best way to determine that is to talk to a wildlife official in your state.

    Animals like skunks can return to a den from a long way away, many miles. That’s especially true of a mother with babies. I don’t know how you are relocating them but there is a real chance you are just catching the same skunks over and over. Personally I kill every skunk, raccoon, and possum that I trap, I know they won’t return, but you will get some support for catch and release from some people. I especially don’t want to bump into a skunk in the dark when I’m down there closing up for the night.

    A way exterminators sometimes solve the problem of skunks or other animals living under buildings, like people’s houses, is to trap them all and then close it off so the animals cannot return under the building before releasing them or doing whatever they do with them. Mike Rowe had an episode on that involving skunks on his “Dirty Jobs” show. I don’t know what your coop looks like but it probably would involve installing wire around the perimeter. Skunks can dig quite well so I’d use an apron.

    If your only worry is them eating your eggs and the only way they can get in is through the floor, you can install something they can’t chew through, like wire. But I’ve seen skunks out during the day. They just might come in through your pop door. Most are primarily nocturnal though, staying in the den during the day and going out at night.

    Skunks generally prefer eggs to a chicken, but they will occasionally kill a chicken to eat. Most of the time they will not take on a live chicken, even at night, but it does occasionally happen.

    It’s possible you can have more than one skunk living under there. You may not be able to trap them all at the same time, plus how do you know you have them all? One way to help with that is to block off all the perimeter except for a main entrance if your coop is elevated a bit. Leave it that way for a few nights so they all get used to using that entrance. Prepare the ground at that entrance so you can scatter flour and see tracks. Then after you see tracks going out at night, install a one way swinging door. They can push their way out but they can’t get back in.

    Hopefully this will give you something to think about in how you might be able to handle your problem. Good luck.
     
    SueT, aart, azygous and 1 other person like this.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! RR gave great advise here. Find out what your DNR recommends, and what your state laws are regarding relocation, and how prevalent rabies is in your state's skunk population. They are a high risk species! Mary
     
  5. Mary51100

    Mary51100 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I think we've come to the realization that we need to make improvements in our coop. My husband plans to remove he sides about two feet up from the bottom and put new boards and hardware cloth. Then we'll start on the floor. UGH!
     
  6. Mary51100

    Mary51100 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your very informative post Ridgerunner. I had no idea it was illegal to relocate anything. I guess because we live in a very rural area with lots of forest we just figured it was the natural thing to do. I also didn't know they would travel miles back, although my husband says he can tell they're different ones from their size and markings. We've definitely had more than one living under there at once; we caught two at the same time in the have-a- heart.

    I guess we've got to do some hard renovating with the coop. We've never had a problem before 3 yrs. ago. They've chewed everything. I was hoping the red light idea would help. Sounds a lot easier!
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't relocate Varmints unless you relocate them to Varmint Valhalla.

    By taking on the raising of chickens you have promised your flock to protect them, the chickens that is, not the varmints.

    Skunks have 4 legs and they use their legs to good effect to get around.

    A rock python on the other hand is lacking any functioning legs and they have recently shown that they will return to their former home range even if they need to slither 125 miles to get there.

    In my humble opinion people who makes a habit out of catch and release skunk trapping have a poor opinion of themselves.

    Folks, its not about you but about your chickens.
     
  8. Mary51100

    Mary51100 Just Hatched

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    Chickengeorgeto, there is a better way to post without putting in things like "In my humble opinion people who makes a habit out of catch and release skunk trapping have a poor opinion of themselves".

    I have no problem with killing as we have often killed raccoons who were harrassing the chickens but with the skunks it was easier to trap them, throw a tarp over the trap, and move them, than to stand close enough to kill them without getting sprayed. Not that I need to explain this to you.

    I think you should stop using your personal psychology to prove your stupid point.

    Ridgerunner certainly was more helpful and proved the point. Thanks for nothing.
     
    Richard Pryor likes this.
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    In that case your opinion of yourself is high enough that you feel no need to shine up your self image by demonstrating to others your supposedly "Superior" morals. I congratulate you.
     
  10. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How big is the coop? If it's not as big as a barn, raise it. Get it up about a foot and a half, or more. You can do this in stages. Lift a corner, put a block under it, than jack and repeat with the other corners, until you get the coop to the desired height. They sell high lift jacks at TractorSupply. It will do the job. You have found out the reason, coops should be up off the ground. Gotta be able to see what's going on under there.
     
    bobbi-j and Ridgerunner like this.

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