Skunks: predators, pests, or friends?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by polychickens, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. polychickens

    polychickens Out Of The Brooder

    95
    0
    39
    Apr 23, 2007
    At least two skunks have taken up shack under my chicken coop. I set out to try and come up with the best( least stinky) way to kill them. When I googled, I came up with several sites that said skunks are beneficial to have around becasuse they eat lots of rodents.

    Since I also have some outdoor cats, I think it's best if I trap and kill the skunks, and then bury a fence skirt around the base of the coop...to keep future residents out from under there.

    Does this sound like the right course?

    Polychickens
     
  2. Hotwings

    Hotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

    833
    1
    161
    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I have never heard about skunks being a predator of chickens. To me I think they would be attracted by the eggs. I would let a professional trap the skunks. Remember all those skunks that are road kill and how awful they smelled. I would think if you killed them they would still stink up the place. I have no idea how a person that would trap them would prevent them from spraying.
     
  3. Barb Schuetz

    Barb Schuetz Chillin' With My Peeps

    182
    0
    129
    May 24, 2007
    Viroqua, WI
    Yeah, I don't know that they'd hurt the chickens (other than any diseases they may be carrying that could possibly be passed on) but I wouldn't doubt that they'd go after the eggs. They spray as a defense mechanism and I think it would be next to impossible to avoid no matter how you approach it. Fortunately, the smell WILL dissapate. I think it would be better under the coop than on you (you can get away from the coop and it probably won't bother the chickens). I would dig a good sized hole somewhere far away, put some traps under the coop where you can easily access them (not live traps!) and dispose of them accordingly. Get a nice clothespin or something and keep some tomato juice on hand just in case [​IMG] Good Luck!
     
  4. seedcorn

    seedcorn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    NE. IN
    Skunks will kill and eat chickens. If you kept them fed, maybe they won't. I'd get rid of them ASAP before you have litter of skunks.
     
  5. usbr

    usbr Chillin' With My Peeps

    109
    0
    129
    Apr 25, 2007
    Skunks in a live trap usually dont spray, its only a thunk of the door shutting and that wont work them up too much. A leghold trap on the other hand is much more startling. I dont think instant kill traps are allowed anymore although a landowner/farmer may be granted additional rights to use them (you might want to look it up for your state if you want to use them).

    To get close to a skunk in a live trap, hold up a sheet or blanket in front of you so it cant see what is going on behind it. All they see is a 4 foot wide and 6 foot tall white blob moving tward them and they dont view it as a threat. This lets you get close to the trap. Animal control has a stick with a needle on the end so they reach around it and stick the skunk, he goes out and never sprays. If you dont have the cool stick, you have to attach a rope and slowly drag it to a sutable place to drown it or reliese it (shoot upon exiting trap).

    A skunk in a leghold trap is easier to shoot because of no cage around it but skunks smell like fresh shot skunks so I dont like to do this, I prefer the livetrap. Maybe it would work OK if you had a way to drag the trap to a sutable place to shoot the skunk but I havent found a perfect way to do that and learning with skunks is not my idea of a good time. They on occation can spray right at death if not shot perfectally in the head.

    Skunks will eat both chickens and eggs.

    Good luck.
     
  6. poppycat

    poppycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    283
    3
    151
    Jan 26, 2007
    My parents had Skunks under their front porch. They got rid of them by tying a towel onto the end of a long pole, soaking the towel in bleach, and then shoving it into the area that they were living in.

    Now I can imagine that this may not work for your chicken coop, you'd have to evacuate the chickens for a few days. The only reason I'm posting it is that it's a cheap method.
     
  7. Alleyoops25

    Alleyoops25 Chillin' With My Peeps

    722
    2
    161
    May 14, 2007
    Colorado
    Skunks will eat your eggs, and your chickens. WE have a skunk problem out here to. I cuaght a couple in a live trap, and had my brother take care of them. I have moved my chickens into our rabbit hutch at night. And then they stopped coming. ANd a few days later my nieghbor had lost several chickens. She borrowed my live trap and she has probably 6-8 in about a weeks time. Before she set the trap she lost a broody hen, eggs and all. Several of this years pullets, and a couple more hens. Skunks will kill rodents, but only if they dont have another food source. And usually that food source is your chickens. Anyway good luck and happy hunting.
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    4,996
    200
    311
    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    We have had multiple experiences with skunks. Last year a mother raised her babies in our barn. She never touched an egg or a chicken. Her babies would come out on the barn floor in the afternoon, and play. All the skunks would walk around with the chickens, and they all tolerated each other. And they tolerated us, and we them. We left them alone because, we had NO problems with mice or rats that year. We only lost one chicken to a skunk last year, and that was a male skunk...and that was because the dumb rooster jumped down and challenged it. Guess who lost.

    On the flip side, this year the skunks were back and had a den in our barn. They killed three or four of our large chickens, and also were eating a lot of eggs. They dug a tunnel under the nest boxes and would come up under them when the hen went in to lay. We had an awful time with them but were finally able to barricade them out of the barn. We set traps, but didn't catch any.They were totally unscared of us. If you want to catch them, you're supposed to cover the trap with a trash bag or tarp; this will keep them from spraying. Then, you're supposed to drown them if you want to kill them. You can also buy a skunk trap for around $30.00, I understand. We were REALLY glad we didn't trap any; I don't like to kill things. If you can put something around the perimeter of your chicken shed or whatever building they're getting under, that works. If you can, dig a trough around the building, and fill it with cement. Or, we used thin plywood sheets around the perimeter, which we weighted down with rocks. Obviously, they can't dig through there. Not particularly attractive, but effective. Buried fence would work, too. Also helps to keep other critters out. They will go out at dusk to hunt; then while they're gone, you barricade so they can't get back in. Our problem was, the skunks dug their way in, then that made a way for everything else to get in.
     
  9. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

    3,216
    127
    254
    May 17, 2007
    OK, so sometimes I am not a very nice person. We have this little house up on the Mogollon rim that we stay at during the summer to escape the heat of Phoenix. Well, skunks started living there under the house. Someone told me that if I put moth balls under there, they would go away. Not so! After putting four boxes of moth balls under the house, I figured out it wasn't working. Skunks didn't mind the moth balls at all.

    So, we discovered that the little critters really like dog food. We started putting out a dish of it every night. Each night we would put it a little farther away. Finally, we got them to a neighbor's house four houses down the road. Those people only come up there a couple of times a year. Now the skunks are their problem.

    Rufus
     
  10. Menagerie

    Menagerie Out Of The Brooder

    39
    0
    22
    Apr 16, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    As mentioned they wil eat eggs and chickens if they get the chance. They are also a major carrier of rabies in the US. Wild skunks are not friends... captive desented ones make cool cat like pets. Wish you well getting rid of the skunk.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by