Squirrels as Predators?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kjfrogster41, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

    69
    0
    39
    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    We have some bodacious squirrels in the neighborhood and one has figured out how to get in to our chicken run. So far, we think he/she can not get into the hen house; the girls are closed up in that at night and squirrels are not nocturnal. We take food up at night but it's out in their pen during the day for the girls. One of our young hens, they're all 12 weeks old, has chased the squirrel around the pen (it was quite entertaining to watch) but the squirrel didn't leave until I entered. Should we be worried about the squirrel preying on our hens? I know they will go after eggs but, we hope, when they begin laying the nesting box, in the hen house will be secure. Meanwhile, we will try to shore up where the squirrel is getting in. Just want to know if squirrels go after hens?
     
  2. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,138
    17
    138
    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    I've never heard of it but doesn't mean it couldn't.
     
  3. hitgsd

    hitgsd Out Of The Brooder

    51
    3
    31
    Jul 19, 2011
    I have seen squirrels raid bird nests and eat eggs. Of course they will also eat chicken feed. I would strongly discourage the squirrel from making a habit of visiting the coop. Or you might have a real problem with them eating eggs as well as the food. I would think that the hens would be more inclined to eat the squirrels then the other way around. I did see my hens chase a squirrls across the yard. I would not worry about the hens.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  4. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    568
    1
    141
    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I found a baby squirrel due to a leak in our coop that let them in, and I raised it, last summer, along with another pair whose mom had become road kill, up to 10 weeks, in brooder cages in view of my chicks. Some adult squirrel had gotten in a couple times as well. I'm not a squirrel expert, but since I've watched & handled (gloves) the adults in the run & have raised the juveniles, here's my two cents: They won't likely go after a live chicken for meat, but they may become food-aggressive & try to intimidate or hurt your chickens if they try to defend their feeders from the squirrels. My chickens always flocked into a corner & waited until the squirrel left. It's not a good idea to let them come in, and the space that lets them in could easily let in a weasel, a mink, a fisher, or rats or opossums, depending on your area. Any of these can quickly kill a whole flock. You should mend the holes before the weather gets colder and the animals get more desperate for an easy meal of chicken feed or chickens.
     
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Here we have ground squirrels. They will steal eggs, eat feed, tunnel thru/under everything and attack young chicks - but I have never had them go after a larger sized bird.
     
  6. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,479
    60
    233
    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Quote:Same thing here.
     
  7. breezy

    breezy Chillin' With My Peeps

    796
    9
    141
    Jan 7, 2009
    Sand Coulee MT
    I have seen squirrels raid wild bird nests and steal not only eggs but baby birds as well. I think the females do it for the extra protein when they are raising babies. I don't think your adult birds have anything to worry about
     
  8. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,235
    14
    161
    Mar 30, 2010
    Okmulgee Co, Oklahoma
    The only issue with a squirrel that we had...it found a way into the run and perched on the feed dish..not allowing any of the chickens to come close...this was in a grow -out pen, so they were probably around the 7-12 week age mark.

    My big concern, was that it would defecate (full of worms and/or disease) and the chicks would eat that and get infected. Needless to say, put out a live trap, had it caught within a half hour and relocated it to another part of our property...and fixed the small hole in the overhead net to prevent more from getting in
     
  9. mrpekinduck

    mrpekinduck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2011
    Ducky Land!
    Yeah a weasel, mink, etc. could easily get in the coop through the same hole as the squirrel.
     
  10. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

    69
    0
    39
    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    Thanks for all your collective responses. Very helpful! We are adding some additional chicken wire to shore up areas where there were gaps that the squirrels could get in. We do have rats and fishers in the neighborhood and, who knows, may also be some mink and weasels. Just hoping the chicken wire will keep all of those out. We take their food up at night, in hopes that will help deter any nocturnal "guests" and just leave water in their hen house.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by