Skunks are cute from afar, but they constitute a nuisance when they begin breaking into coops and farms to kill poultry chicks and steal eggs.
Depending on its size, a skunk may not choose to attack a chicken directly since they have a beak and sharp claws that could cause some real damage.
Yes! Skunks attack, kill, and eat chickens. They are also happy to kill chicks, steal eggs and suck them dry. Humane live trap, a .22, and a good skunk killing dog work the best in keeping them off your property.
Skunks can eat chicken heads, bones, and poultry feed too. I have seen them attack, and eat ducks and turkeys too.
Do Skunks Eat Chickens and Ducks?
Of course! They won’t say no to a free meal. An adult skunk is capable of killing a cock, duck or a hen, or even baby chicks. Younger skunks that cannot bring down an adult bird will steal and suck their eggs dry.
Things That Will Attract Skunks to Your Chicken Coop
Skunks love eggs; they taste great and provide excellent nutrients, especially during winter.
You should collect your chicken eggs daily and change nest bedding if an egg has broken in it. I have observed that the egg smell attracts them.
Although not healthy for them, skunks love dog and cat food.
In my last live trap, I used cat food as bait and it caught a family of skunks. Yes! It’s that effective.
Skunks are notorious for digging in the trash and searching for food. So, secure the cover of your trash can; making it unopenable for skunks, coons, and other critters.
A starving skunk will feast on the dead carcasses of eggs, chicks, birds, rodents, and even rabbits left behind by barn cats or other animals.
Skunk’s noses are fairly sharp. That means they can sniff out their food and might lose their mind and start a digging frenzy if they can smell your chickens or their eggs.
They will dig dirt to make their way into your chicken coop. So, you need to locate and seal off where the skunks were getting in. Most times, you’ll find a hole dug under a building or fence, or coop.
If you have had skunks for a while there may be a small path leading to your chicken coop.
ALSO SEE: Do Skunks Hibernate, Migrate, or Adapt?
How to Keep Skunks Away from Chickens?
Get Rid of Attractants
One of the attractants of skunks to your chicken coop is fresh or broken eggs; they can smell them.
So, collect your eggs daily.
Grubs, trash, and pet food are also other attractants so always keep things clean and tidy. Ensure you collect eggs on time, keep all pet food indoors, and secure your trash can with a secure lid.
Since skunks love to eat chicks, eggs, and sometimes even young hens and cocks, they’re attracted to the smell of a dirty coop, so remember to clean them out on a frequent basis.
If the skunks continue digging into your garden, it’s safe to assume that they’re in search of small rodents, grubs, and insects.
To rid of grubs in your yard, apply beneficial nematodes. They are wonderful organic pest control options that will not harm earthworms, pets, or humans.
Instead, what they do is disintegrate the grubs living under the surface of your yard.
You can use mothballs enclosed in a small wooden box with hardware cloth-covered holes in the sides.
The boxes are filled with the mothballs, then you screw the covers shut so that nothing else can get inside it.
Next, place them 10 feet apart around the perimeter of the property. That is it! No skunk problems, ever again!
Secure Your Chicken Coop
If your coop isn’t secure then locking your chooks up at night won’t do them any good than it already has. Skunks are creative when it comes to breaking into insecure coops.
So, you have to be a step ahead, and build your coop with secure materials. Search for any entry points or weak spots in your coop that might accommodate skunks.
After that, seal them accordingly. I will also go the extra mile by burying hardware cloth a few inches into the ground, to discourage further digging.
Place Ammonia Soaked Rags Around the Yard
Using ammonia-soaked rags is another effective means of keeping skunks at bay. The strong scent is similar to that of a larger predator animal’s urine, which makes the skunks afraid.
Place the pee-soaked rag in metal containers, then place it around your coop to deter the skunks from approaching. You can use old metal baking trays, coffee cans, or anything else that prevents the ammonia from seeping through to the ground.
Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper Flakes
Personally, I have found cayenne pepper flakes to be a great skunk repellant.
Cayenne pepper flakes work at keeping hungry skunks from attacking your chicken coop or being comfortable in your yard in the first place. Even better, chickens do not have the capsaicin receptors necessary to taste the heat of various peppers and other spicy flavors.
Your chickens will remain unbothered, and the skunks and other mammals will learn to avoid the area.
Install Solar LED Deterrent Lights
Using a Solar-LED-Deterrent-Light work too!
The skunks will mistake the twin led lights for the glowing eyes of a predator, effectively scaring the skunks, coons, and other nighttime pests away1
Set Some Catch and Release Traps
If for one reason or another, none of the methods explained above works for you, and your coop still get visits from these nasty critters then you should try-catch and release traps – at least two of these.
Naturally, a lot of yard coop owners prefer to avoid going down this route because they’re scared of getting sprayed. Rightfully so!
Some effective baits include eggs, cat food, bacon, peanut butter or bread. All of these will work great at enticing skunks.
Once trapped, approach the skunk carefully with a large towel in front of you, hanging all the way to your toes.
You should make sure you don’t frighten the already upset skunk. So, approach quietly, then drop the towel down over the trap.
Skunks don’t like to spray when they’re not sure where their target is.
Before releasing the skunk back into the wild, check your local laws regarding relocation and release. Remember not to release the skunk too far from your home – about three miles is ideal.
Hire a guard
Having a guard donkey, horses or dogs might be effective at keeping predators out.
A donkey and a dog trained to ward off predators take their jobs very seriously. In short, any animal that skunks and other predators would be intimidated by does help.
Make a Homemade Deterrent
To make a homemade skunk deterrent:
- 1 Cup castor oil
- 1 Cup liquid dish soap
- 1 gallon of water.
- Mix well and put in a spray bottle or spray can.
- Spray around the outside of the coop and run in the evening after your birds are put up.
Do Skunks Eat Live Chickens?
Yes, they do but only after killing it.
Do Skunks Bother Chickens?
Yes! Their mere presence brings discomfort to the flock. They will also attack, kill, and eat your flock and their eggs.
Do Skunks Eat Baby Chickens?
If given the chance, skunks will kill and eat baby chickens.
How Do Skunks Eat Chickens?
They use their claws and teeth to rip the flesh from the bones of the chicken. Such a nasty sight. Most of them will take the deceased fowl back to their den. So, you might only find feathers in the attacked coop.
Do Skunks Eat Eggs?
Yes, skunks will bite and suck eggs dry once they’re inside the chicken and duck coop.
Do Skunks Eat Egg Shells?
No, they don’t. They prefer to break and drink the liquid content inside eggs instead.
Can Skunks Kill Turkeys?
Skunks can eat kill young pouts or drink turkey eggs dry.