Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by albinosilver, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. albinosilver

    albinosilver Chirping

    May 17, 2018
    I’ve never seen a raccoon in the area but skunks are everywhere. Had one tear the chicken wire right off my fencing and decimate 2 of my hens. I had no idea they even ate birds. I camped out to watch the other night and it actually came back! Huge mama skunk and her babies. Threw rocks from a distance to scare them off..

    How do you deal with skunks? I don’t want to get too close to trap or anything in case they spray
    The Phantom likes this.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    A head shot gives chance they won't spray. If you live trap put a towel over trap when moving them and they won't spray.

    Large skunk do indeed eat chickens. Small ones take eggs and will eat feed but when big enough those omnivores will not pass up on an easy meal. I once pushed one out of run with side of hatchet that was attacking my cock bird. Prior I had the hatchet raised and was about to kill the thing then had second thoughts so pushed it out. He was displeased with me but never sprayed as it wasn't in the least afraid. Huge male that was about to kill a 12 lb cock bird.
    The Phantom and EggSighted4Life like this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'd question if that was a skunk that tore the chicken wire. I don't know where you are but if you have skunks you probably have a lot of other things, whether you see them or not. Did it actually tear a hole in the wire or did it tear your connections loose? Could you post a photo of the damage, that would be interesting. Skunks will kill and eat chickens but so will a lot of other things.

    Whatever it was you need to improve your predator protection. That's another reason for a photo. A big boar raccoon or a big dog can tear some hardware cloth, depending in gauge, mesh size, and whether they can get a grip. Your attachment is also important. Still hardware cloth is much better than chicken wire. Another option is to put a heavier wire over the chicken wire so bigger animals can't tear a way through.

    I've trapped many a skunk and ever had them spray. There are techniques for that. But whether you trap them or shoot them or anything else, there will always be more. Your best long term defense is good fencing.
  4. LamarshFish

    LamarshFish Songster

    Mar 26, 2015
    Guns do work better than rocks. And 1/2" hardware cloth works better than chicken wire.
    lazy gardener likes this.
  5. albinosilver

    albinosilver Chirping

    May 17, 2018
    I live in the city so shooting things isn’t an option. My yard is completely fenced off so nothing bigger than a house cat could come in. There’s no signs of digging anywhere either. I’m sure it was a skunk that got my birds because I could smell them the night the birds we’re killed.

    I’ll admit my coop doesn’t have the best security. It’s just chicken wire stapled to the frame. The skunk somehow pulled a whole section of the wire off from the outside. I feel like I couldn’t even just pull the wire off the staples with my bare hands..
  6. LamarshFish

    LamarshFish Songster

    Mar 26, 2015
    The main reason hardware cloth is better than chicken wire is because some animals can chew through chicken wire. Not sure if skunks can though, I would guess likely not. I know coyotes can, and I wouldn't take the risk wondering whether coons can. Another reason chicken wire is inferior is because small birds like sparrows can and will get in, and can transmit diseases. If you can, I would spend some time and money adding security to your coop, rip down the chicken wire and replace with hardware cloth, secure the joints by the ground with bricks or landscaping barriers to keep diggers out (skunks, rats, coons, opossums, they all dig).
  7. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!!

    Jan 9, 2017
    SE Wisconsin
    If it were me I would shoot them.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2016
    California's Redwood Coast
    Even without chewing through... a raccoon can reach through chicken wire and rip heads off.

    Sorry for your loss. :(

    My FIL traps skunks and has never been sprayed YET. Should have seen Myth buster's trying to get a skunk to spray them when they were testing different treatments to defunk after being sprayed. Don't think they were successful. :sick
  9. LamarshFish

    LamarshFish Songster

    Mar 26, 2015
    My understanding is skunks spray takes a long time to generate and save up, so they only use it as a last resort.
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Unless you have welded heavy gauge fencing that covers your entire yard, a coon, weasel, fox, and any other number of predators can and most likely DO visit your yard on a regular basis, even if you live in the suburbs. The fact that a family of skunks come visiting points to the fact that your yard is not predator proof.

    As for "knowing it was a skunk" b/c you smelled it: It's not at all uncommon for skunks and coons to be seen together in the same game cam photo. And I've caught/killed more than one coon that had a very strong skunk odor. Whether he was keeping bad company, or had a severe case of BO, I'm not sure.

    Any predator can easily shred chicken wire b/c of the way it's twisted together. If you used the common construction staples (applied with a staple gun) there is no way those would keep any critter out. Over time, those staples will work free with normal wear and tear on a fence. Even if you do not upgrade your fencing, you MUST at least upgrade the attachment: lath and screw would be the absolute minimum.

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