Do Groundhogs Eat Chickens?

As a chicken owner, there are many things you need to worry about. Chickens are prey to many predators. If you live in an area where there are groundhogs, you may wonder if they eat chickens.

So, do groundhogs eat chickens? No, groundhogs do not eat chickens, and they have no interest in them. Groundhogs are herbivores, which means they only eat plants and other vegetation. However, they are dangerous to chickens, though. They can steal chicken feeds and could transmit diseases to your flock.

Are Groundhogs Dangerous To Chickens?

Groundhogs are known as pests since they burrow holes in the ground and will eat every plant in the garden. This is what drives them to come into the yard.

Once they are in the yard or garden, they’ll start to look for another source of food once they are done eating the plants.

If there is chicken, there will usually be food as well. Chicken feeds make excellent food for groundhogs. With their strong claws, they’ll burrow their way into the coop. This is where the groundhogs are dangerous to the chickens.

Chicken Eating Food

While they won’t attempt to kill or eat the chickens, there are two things to be concerned about:

  1. Groundhogs can steal chicken feeds and other food.
  2. Groundhogs can carry disease.

Stealing Chicken Feed and Other Food

While groundhogs will usually eat vegetation, they will also scavenge for anything else that is edible. After all, groundhogs are wild creatures, and they need to eat.

Many of the food fed to the chickens, such as chicken feeds, fruits, and vegetables, is what the groundhogs will eat too.

If you have food out for the chickens, any food that is leftover will entice the groundhogs to come by.

With their large appetite, a groundhog can eat almost anything that’s leftover. This will cause your chickens not to have enough food to eat, which could cause them health issues.

Parasites and Disease

Groundhogs are wild animals, which means they can carry fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

If the groundhogs come close to the chickens or just near the coop, the parasites can be passed onto the flock.

The parasites can also carry diseases, which can be passed to the chickens as well. This will cause the chicken all sorts of health issues.

Also, groundhogs are known to carry rabies, which is a virus that is dangerous for chickens and humans alike.

Will Groundhogs Eat Chicken Eggs?

The groundhog main food is usually made of plants, but sometimes, they may eat insects and small bird’s eggs if they come across one.

As for chicken eggs, groundhogs are not interested in them. If the eggs are in the coop or there are chickens around, groundhogs will not go after them.

On the other hand, while looking for food, and they come across chicken eggs, they will eat them.

Will Groundhogs Eat Baby Chickens?

Groundhogs do not attack or eat baby chickens. They are not interested in eating anything that’s meat. Groundhogs prefer plants and vegetation since this is what they will forage for all day long.

What Time Of Day Do Groundhogs Feed?

Groundhogs are mostly active during the morning, especially when the sun just rises.

They will start to forage for vegetation using their keen sense of smell. Most of what they eat will be plant matters. Groundhogs will occasionally eat insects and even small bird’s eggs if they come across one.

When they are not out foraging for food, they will find an open space and sunbathe. Doing so will keep them warm.

At night, groundhogs will go underground to sleep. They will sleep throughout the night until morning.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for groundhogs during the day, especially during feeding time.

How To Keep Groundhogs Away From Chickens

It’s important to keep the groundhogs away from your chickens. While they won’t attack and kill the chickens, groundhogs are still dangerous to them.

A burrow is important for groundhogs as they use it to move around and a place to sleep.

A burrow will have tunnels with many entrances and exits. Some could lead right under the chicken coop. This will make easy access to the chicken feeds and other food for the chicken.

If you find groundhog burrows, you’ll need to block them off. Simply just packing dirt into the burrows will be no use. A groundhog can dig a new tunnel if it’s blocked off.

Below are some ways to keep groundhogs away:

Ammonia Solution

Using ammonia is by far the best method to get rid of groundhogs. Once the ammonia is poured into their burrow, the groundhogs will not come back again.

Ammonia is a gas that consists of hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. It has a distinct odor that the groundhog doesn’t like.

Ammonia can be found at hardware stores. You can make them at home yourself with a few simple ingredients.

Homemade ammonia solution

  1. Fill water in a cup a quarter of the way.
  2. Add two tablespoons of detergent.
  3. Add two cups of ammonia to the cup.
  4. Give it a quick stir to mix the ingredients together.

When making the solution, make sure to wear gloves and goggles. Ammonia can burn the skin and eyes.

With the solution, pour it down all the burrow you can find. Do this for the next several days, and that should prevent the groundhogs from ever using the burrow again.

Using Garlic and Pepper

Another method is to rid groundhogs is to use garlic and pepper inside their burrows.

Groundhogs hate the smell of garlic and pepper, which will cause them to leave the burrow and not come back again.

However, for it to be effective, you’ll need to continuously use it.

On a cutting board, crush the garlic and pepper, and mix them together. Then place a small amount of the mixture into each entrance and exit of the burrow.

Get a Pet Dog

A dog is a great deterrent for groundhogs. The groundhogs will not come near the chicken or your yard if there’s a dog around.

Also, make sure the dog that you’re getting doesn’t look at chickens as food. Most of the breeds will not attack chickens, but sometimes they may follow their instinct.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to train your dog not to attack and kill the chickens.

Human Hair

Groundhogs are afraid of humans, and no better way than to leave some hair around the burrow and places they frequent often.

When using human hair, make sure it’s free of shampoo. The smell of the shampoo will block the smell of human odor.

Fence

A fence is a great way to prevent the groundhogs from coming to steal the chicken feeds and other food. The fence will need to be about a foot deep into the ground, since groundhogs are great diggers.

Also, you’ll need to make sure the fence is high, too. Groundhogs are great climbers and with their strong claws, climbing a fence isn’t a problem for them.

What Other Animals Eat Chickens

Hawks

If you live in an area where there are hawks, you’ll need to be vigilant. Chickens make a very tasty meal for hawks. These animals are smart and will wait for the right moment to swoop down. Once they have the chicken targeted, they will silently swoop down, grab them with their sharp talons, and fly away with it. All of this will happen within seconds.

Raccoons

Raccoons are a threat to chickens. These animals are nocturnal, which means they only come out at night to hunt. You’ll need to secure the chicken coop, so the raccoons can’t get it. If they do make their way into the coop, they will attack the chickens and eat their eggs as well. A raccoon usually will not eat the whole chicken, just some parts of it.

Minks

Minks are fast and nimble. The minks will usually attack and eat young and baby chickens. Also, they enjoy eating chicken eggs as well. As for adult chickens, they tend to stay away from them, but minks will attack them if threatened.

Conclusion

If you live in an area with groundhogs, they can become a threat to your chickens. They don’t attack or kill the chickens, but they will usually steal their food and transmit diseases to the chickens. To prevent them from coming close to the chickens, there are many ways to do so.