Do Skunks Eat Chickens? 5 Ways To Protect Them

As a chicken owner, it’s important to keep the chickens as safe as possible. One of them is keeping predators like skunks away. These creatures are dangerous as they have strong sharp teeth and claws.

So, do skunks eat chickens? Yes, skunks do eat chickens. These are opportunistic eaters and will kill and eat the chickens. Skunks will often kill young and small chickens. These are easy for them to overtake. For adult chickens, skunks will stay away from them unless they are injured or sick.

Do Chickens Attract Skunks?

Chickens attract skunks due to a couple of reasons. Some of the reasons are chickens are nutritious, they are easy prey, and leftover foods are plentiful.

Like most animals, skunks are lead to the food by scent. They are an opportunistic eater, which means they will eat whatever they can find.

These animals have developed a good sense of smell over time. Skunks are able to smell food from a long-distance away.

Chicken Eating Food

Most of the time, skunks will go searching for grubs, which are their primary food sources. Around the chickens, grubs are plentiful. As they are foraging for grubs, if the chickens are close by, the skunks will kill the chicken.

Do Skunks Kill Chickens?

Skunks do kill chickens, but usually younger and smaller chickens. Due to the chicken small size, they are able to overtake them.

As for adult chickens, they won’t try to kill them. Skunk knows the risk of attacking adult chickens and will try to stay away from them. However, if the adult chickens are vulnerable due to an injury or illness, skunks may try to kill them.

Skunk are smart animals and will only kill the chickens if they know they will succeed. Otherwise, they will stay away from the chickens.

Skunks have sharp teeth and claws. These are meant to kill prey as quickly as possible. For that reason, skunks are capable of killing a chicken quickly.

Once the skunk gets close to the chicken, they will wait for the right time. When the chicken is within range, they will go in for the kill.
Skunks will attack the chicken’s head and neck area. From there, they will rip out the throat from the chicken. This will instantly kill them and allow the skunk to eat or carry the chicken away safely.

How To Protect Your Chickens From Skunks

As a chicken owner, one of the responsibilities is to keep the chickens safe from harm. This means keeping skunks and other predators away from them.

Skunks are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active only at night. This makes the chicken vulnerable to them.

Therefore, you need to protect the coop from skunks entering it.

When skunks are near your property, you will smell a foul odor that they give off. Also, they will dig 3 to 4 inches deep holes in the yard. They will dig the ground looking for grubs and other insects to eat.

Reduce The Smell Of Food

Like other animals, skunks are attracted to the chickens by the smell of foods.

If there are leftover foods, the skunks will most likely come due to that. Skunks have a very keen smell and the ability to detect food from a far distance.

By removing any foods in and around their coop in the evening, it will help prevent the skunks from coming near the chickens.

Secure The Chicken Coop

The coop is where the chickens will be housed all night long. Therefore, you should ensure that the coop is secured.

Securing the coop doesn’t mean you should just lock up the chickens at night. It means you need to secure it, so the skunks are not able to get into the coop.

Skunks are great at digging, and they are able to dig a small hole to go under the fence. Some skunks are known to dig deeper to be able to gain access to the coop.

To prevent this from happening, you should bury hardware cloth about 15 to 20 inches into the ground.

Put Rags That Are Soaked With Ammonia Around The Coop

A great way to deter skunks from coming close to the coop is to place ammonia-soaked rags around it.

The strong scent is similar to a predator’s urine such as foxes and coyotes, which will scare the skunk away.

Place the rags onto a plate or metal containers spacing them out of about 2-3 feet from each other. This will prevent the ammonia from seeping into the ground.

Install Motion Sprinklers

Another thing you can try is to install motion sprinklers. This is a sprinkler system that’s automated.

You can put them around your entire property or just around the perimeter of the chicken coop.

When a skunk walks by and triggers the motion sensor, it will set the sprinkler system off and spray water.

In response, the skunk will be startled and quickly flee away.

Install Deterrent Lighting

Lighting is a great way to keep nocturnal animals like skunks, foxes, and raccoons away.

The bright light will cause the skunks to be startled and run away.

You can install the lighting around the coop. Place the lights so that it’s pointed downward to the ground.

Once a skunk walks by, the sensor will be triggered and set off the lights to light up.

Other Predators That Eat Chickens

Foxes

Foxes are a danger to chickens. These predators are quick and agile. They are able to get into tight spaces that other animals can’t. Foxes will often kill more food than they can eat. They will not chew the bones as they will eat their food whole. This is why you may see feathers lying around after foxes get into the coop.

Owls

Owls are nocturnal creatures which means they will only come out at night. Sometimes, when opportunities exist, they will hunt the chickens during the day as well. Owls are swift and quiet, and they can swoop down to grab a chicken within seconds. If the chickens are too large for them, the owls will just bit the head of the chicken.

Raccoons

Raccoons are another predator that’s dangerous to chickens. These predators are strong with powerful teeth and claws. They are able to kill a chicken within a second. Once they get into the coop, they will try to kill as many chickens as they can. After killing the chicken, they tend to drag them away back to their place. Most of the time, the chicken will get stuck in the fence, so they will take whatever they can.

Conclusion

Skunks are predators that are very dangerous to chickens. They will usually go after eggs and baby chickens, but if the adult chickens are not that large, they will try to kill it too. Skunks are great at digging, so it’s best to try to deter them from digging around the coop.