Skunks are also called polecats, and they are small mammals which are well known for their capacity of spraying an unpleasant and strong odor. There are four species of skunk. Even though their hearing is good, their vision is not that good. Skunks are often found in agricultural areas, grasslands and woodlands, and they are becoming common in urban areas.
Skunks can be a nuisance and they are serious chicken predators. They can go for the eggs and baby chickens, but they attack adult chickens rarely. They are typically nocturnal and when they enter into the coop, they will get access to the eggs first. A cat or dog may be a good deterrent to keep the skunks away.
Skunks go back to their den at sunrise, and this can be a rock pile, under a building or an under the ground burrow. To make sure that the chickens are secure, you should run proper fencing and the small chicks have to be kept in a secure brooder. The skunks do not like to enter fences, but they can get access when there are weak spots or loose places in the building or fences. The skunks are good diggers and they may want to get access to the coop through digging under the fences. A skunk can be attracted to your home because of shelter, water or food, so you have to make sure that you do not leave pet food or any other food outside. You should place paving slabs on the perimeter of the coop or run and bury it several inches. You may also use a welded or hardware cloth at the bottom of the fences so that you may stop the skunk from digging its way to enter into your home. If you have a skunk problem or if you suspect that you have this problem, then you may set a live trap to get it.
An adult skunk is over 2 feet long, including a tail of 7 to 10 inches. They weigh around 3 to 12 pounds. The males are heavier compared to the females, but both of them can attack the chickens. The small skunks will go for smaller chicken. However, some people say that skunks are not known to kill chickens or other animals but they will eat the remaining meat when they find leftovers from other animals. This is why some people may believe that their chickens were killed by skunks if they find them eating the chicken, but in reality they may not be the one that killed them. Most of the time, raccoons are the ones known to kill chickens for sports and sometimes they do not even eat them.
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