What animal is digging in my chicken pen?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JRchickchick, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. JRchickchick

    JRchickchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    I went to open up my pullet house this morning, located inside of my main chicken pen (5 1/2 feet tall 2x4 wire fence, + 6" in the ground), when I found two freshly dug spots in the grass, maybe 3" across, and 3" down. (One on each side of the gate). Thankfully, my main coop has an automatic door (I love it!), and I open and close my pullet house myself regularly, so there were no chicken fatalities...

    Is it a raccoon? Or is it a skunk? Can skunks climb fences/wooden fence posts?

    Maybe it's time to put on some barbed wire along the top of the fencing.

    Thank you for your ideas.
     
  2. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

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    If the digging was inside the pen, and the pen was closed, it is likely that the chickens were digging a spot for a dust bath. My turkeys create a sizable pothole when they do this. How old are your birds?
     
  3. JRchickchick

    JRchickchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    My chickens are 1 1/4 yr + my pullets are 3 months. I wish it were just them, but the holes weren't there when I closed them up, and were there this morning when I opened them up.

    I made a nice 8x10 area for them for a dust bath too, with fluffy dirt (well, during winter it wasn't so fluffy, and I added some bark), that they love to bathe in. Bathing chickens are a hoot! When I walk by their "bath" they look at me like...."What are you looking at? Doesn't EVERYBODY do this?"

    I do notice grubs in my ground, usually when I dig up weeds in the garden, so I would imagine they are in my grass area also. That's what made me think maybe skunks.

    Thx
     
  4. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    Do you have a top on the pen?
     
  5. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Could be a skunk, coon, fox, small dog, etc. If your run is not covered and the chickens are locked up then it's a moot point. Any critter will come in and sniff around where the birds have been and leave hungry.
     
  6. JRchickchick

    JRchickchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    No top. I wanted a big enough pen for the chickens to be able to roam a bit, and to accommodate 30+ chickens. I'm thinking of running some barbed wire around the top, maybe with an L bracket so it sticks out away from the fence, and the coon that's climbing would have more difficulty climbing up and over.

    I don't have electricity out to the coop, just a solar panel to power the coop door controller (and LED light panel). Maybe we'll have to get busy and run full electricity out there. It may be a bit expensive, but having my flock decimated in a night or two would be expensive as well.
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    two freshly dug spots in the grass, maybe 3" across, and 3" down

    inside of my main chicken pen (5 1/2 feet tall 2x4 wire fence, + 6" in the ground),

    Squirrels​
     

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