Next up in our series on backyard chicken predators is the noxious skunk. While they might not be the first predatory threat to your flock that comes to mind, nevertheless, if given the chance, a skunk will eat eggs, kill chicks and even occasionally attack full grown poultry.
Obviously, the easiest way to tell if a skunk is around your coop is to follow your nose. If you notice persistent skunk essence over an extended period of time, chances are you have a skunk in residence. But, if you are still not sure, you can also look for tracks. The tracks can be difficult to distinguish from those of a raccoon but if you are a gifted tracker, you can easily spot the difference. If you really want to be thorough, an examination of skunk scat will usually reveal lots of insect parts. If your coop has been subject to attack by a skunk, you would expect to find eggs opened up on one end and the contents consumed or if an actual bird were attacked the neck would be opened up and perhaps the head eaten.
Once you have definitely identified the threat, it is time to take action. Skunks will not usually break through coop confines like some other aggressive predators, but if given an opening, they will take it. So, it is essential to make sure fencing and coop confines are intact and also that any areas where skunks could dig underneath are properly sealed. Once the coop is secure, then it is time to employ a deterrent. Enter fox urine. What? Fox Urine? How? It might not be the first thing you think of but, a fox is one of the most common skunk predators. Skunks fear foxes, they sense a fox is present because of the urine, and they leave your chickens, chicks and eggs alone – it is as simple as that.
Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan