SKUNKS - Predators or just curious?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by honeydoll, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. honeydoll

    honeydoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    I think a skunk is trying to get into my chicken coop. We had some wire ripped off a bottom corner of our run the other night. We fixed and reinforced it. Every morning, around 2AM-4Am we smell a super strong odor of skunk. This has only happened this consistently since we got our chickens. Will skunks kill our chickens or try to get the eggs? Our coop is fairly predator proof but something pulled the wire off and every morning the roost in the run is knocked down. Are skunks hunters or scavengers? I wonder if they would kill and eat my chicks. I am not trapping the sucker, do not want sprayed. Not sure how to get rid of him, too close to neighbors to shoot, so I was wondering if they are a threat or not. We have oppossums and coons too, but I smell skunk strongest in the area of my coop every morning. Anyone know if skunks are a danger to chickens? Thanks for any help!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  2. RevaVirginia

    RevaVirginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Reva, VA
    Think the skunk would be after the eggs. Full size chickens probably are somewhat safe but little ones are more likely to be victims. Check out the learning center on BYC for info. I haven't had an issue with skunks yet so can't lend any more than I've read.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-skunk.html

    Good luck
    [​IMG]
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Skunks are opportunists. They can be a danger to chicks and eggs, less so to full grown chickens who can fight back. From the damage to your coop I would say it is not a skunk doing it. Perhaps something that was sprayed by a skunk recently? Skunks do not usually take such an active role in trying to find food. They are generally more of a pest than a predator.
     
  4. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    ARIZONA
    I think they are more scavengers at least all of the ones I have ever been around. They probably would really enjoy an egg if they could find one. They are probably trying real hard to get in there to eat the feed. We have a family cabin and there is always a family of skunks that love to live under the porch. We always trap and relocate them (30+ miles away up the mountains). We set a trap and in the morning there will be a skunk in there. I remember my grandpa invented the best way to get close to the cage. He would make a garbage bag costume out of the huge yard bags. Take one and cute a hole out of the bottom to go over your head like a poncho and then another he would cut the bottom open so he could step into it and make a skirt around his legs. Then he would tape the edges so it would stay on him. He carried a large garbage bag that he cut the side to become a long rectangle and when he walked up to the cage he would cover the cage with that so when the skunk sprayed it would just hit the garbage bags. In the back of the truck the cage would go and up the mountain. I think out of all of the skunks over the 40+ years of him doing this only 4 or 5 didn't spray everywhere.

    I think that the cage wire being ripped up is more from a raccoon. I think they are more determined like that. If that is the case then I would put some reenforcement in for my coop. Skunks are a pain but they aren't like a coon that will tare things apart to get in. You could have a skunk walking around looking for food and then a coon getting into your coop. Skunks really only spray when they are scrared and feel threatened. That could be why you are smelling them.
     
  5. NewRIRMom

    NewRIRMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Try some repel tactics. Soak some rolled up (long ways) rags in household ammonia and lay them around the area that is being destroyed in the late evening. The ammonia is a strong smell deterrent for most wildlife. As the rags dry the smell will go away. I would do this several nights. Trapping wildlfe will just create an open space for another animal to move in and usually doesn't solve the problem. Hope this works for you.
     
  6. honeydoll

    honeydoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    I never knew about the ammonia and rags. That's a great idea. I'll try that first and hope it works. I really don't want to go out to feed them and get sprayed, ugh that would not be good![​IMG]
     
  7. Fancypants4569

    Fancypants4569 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Prineville, Oregon
    I just copied and pasted this from another post because I dont have enough time this mornin to type it all out agian, but this is what I went thru with skunks...

    You asked how bad skunks can be and Im not trying to rain on anyones parade. I for one also think that baby skunks are precious, BUT they really do grow up to be little beasty's. I have to tell you what Ive been dealing with for the last couple of months, and skunks are more serious than some of you are thinking. They are not just egg eater, and Im saying this because I thought the very same thing when I started my chicken adventure Something was digging a hole under the fence no bigger than 4in x 4in, so I thought it was a weasel or something small. It got my daughter's 4-H Bantam cochin rooster Brody first, we filled the hole with a brick, the next night it happened agian in different spot and it got one of my blk australorp pullet. We ended up spending a couple hundred dollars the next day on brick, poles and wire to Fort Knox the chicken coop. We didnt get all the way finish, and it got another chicken that night. It tested the fence all the way were we had left off, dug under and got our little bantum cochin frizzle hen"Tinkerbell". My husband isnt into the chickens as much as I am,so he says...hehe, but he loved Tinkerbell and after that it was war. Now Im still thinkin its a weasel, and we almost had the hole chicken yard finished. We dug 2 ft down and dropped poles with wire around them that we then nailed to the 6 ft wood fence that encloses the whole chicken yard and coop. By this time my DH is wondering if the whole chicken thing is worth it Anyway, about midnight that next night my twin daughter,s are in bed and they hear the chickens screamin, one runs out with a flashlight and see's a skunk about to get her broody hen and she reached thought the door and grabbed it by the tail and flung it across the coop. It took off through a little hole on the last wall we had to fix. We kinda laughed after it was all sayed and done about my daughter under pressure becomes a skunk flinger, but told her not to do something like that again. But guess what, we confirmed it was a skunk wiping out our chicken's.
    Ok, through all this I talked to a wildlife specialist and this is everything he told me...Female skunks can have up to 8 baby's. So if you have an adult female with up to eight baby's and there is an easy meal somewere, she will teach those baby's everything she know's, so now you have 9 skunks that are thinkin chicken dinner. So every year when those baby's become adults, they breed and multiply. They dont migrate someplace else, they just stay very close to home, and before you know it you end up with an overpopulation that likes chicken meat. I asked the wildlife guy if he could take them out in the woods and relocate them and he told me no because they will hunt out someone elses home and just become someone elses problem, and I definately wouldnt wish what we,ve been through on someone else. I have since trapped 7 skunk's, 2 adults and 5 baby's, the wildlife guy came and took care of them as I caught them.
    If you are trapping skunks, use cantalope. I used canned catfood and caught a cat my first try, lol. The wildlife guy sayed fruit actually works best and it did, no cats after that Cover the trap with a dark sheet and cut a slit in the middle so you can poke the handle of the trap through so you can grab the trap with out the skunk seeing you. If you need to confirm its a skunk in there all you have to do is pull the sheet back just enough to see black and white. The wild life guy told me a skunk wont spray what it cant see, and out of the 7 we caught no one got sprayed. Well, I hope some of this helps out and sheds some light on the little skunk thats so cute it could be called Flower off of Bambi. I think their cute too, but they are devestating on my children, wallet, and the chickens themselve's. I sure hope all my pullet's start laying soon, so I can start sellin some eggs so I can put some money back in the wallet after the hundreds we spent on deskunking the property Plz, Plz, Plz, dont ever think that skunks are just scavenger or just an egg eater.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  8. honeydoll

    honeydoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    I am so happy you posted this. I wandered if they could be more of a threat than I've heard. None of my girls have been hurt but something is sure trying to get in. It seems no matter how hard you try to predator proof something always finds a way in. Nothing is 100%, you know. Hmm, I guess it's time to consider trapping. I think if I lay the ammonia rags down, ammonia evaporates pretty fast, I'd have to do that every night for a long time which at $1.12 a bottle will add up. If I stop laying rags out they will just come back, I'm sure. So trapping and dispatching seems my only real solution here. I hate having to kill wildlife, they are running out of land as it is. But I may have to...
     
  9. lleighmay

    lleighmay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    Skunks are opportunists. I have them in my yard and they've never been a problem, though I make sure the coop is secure. They eat lots of insects, grubs (including yellow jacket nests), etc as well as rodents so they're good to have around if they're not able to get to your chickens. They do have an odor even if they don't spray so you would smell it if they've been prowling about. I'm not saying they wouldn't eat a chicken, chick, or egg if given the opportunity, but they're not enterprising enough to rip your wire open and keep trying on a daily basis. Let's face it- they are not rocket scientists. Since your roost is also knocked down I'm betting raccoon- skunks are not climbers. If it were me I would fortify my fencing where the problem is and work on catching coons... if I caught a skunk I'd just turn it loose.
     
  10. honeydoll

    honeydoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 14, 2009
    Stark County, NE Ohio
    I've thought of the roost being knocked down as well, it is higher than a skunk could get, I'd think. Our run is fully enclosed so a coon may climb all over trying to find a weak spot, which could explain the knock down roost. I am so glad my DH put fencing top to bottom on our run, at first I thought that wasn't necessary, now I am relieved he did it that way. He was very thorough. Maybe there's a coon climbing and a skunk snooping. Probably both. I haven't lost a chick or chicken yet. Thank goodness for that, I just worry they will eventually find a way in.
     

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