Do Skunks Attack Chickens?

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There are many people across the country who like to keep chickens, and as they do not take up too much space in a yard or garden, they are a good way to get fresh and organic eggs. However, chickens will usually be happier if they have nice area to explore and to run around in, and it is in these areas where they will often become vulnerable to different pest animals that will attack and kill them. One of these species is the skunk, and if you do keep chickens then it is wroth bearing in mind that the presence of a skunk in the area can be a threat to your chickens.

How Do Skunks Kill Chickens?

In most cases skunks are opportunists, but if they do encounter chickens then they will look to kill them, and the fact that they have sharp teeth and claws puts them at a distinct advantage against the chickens in this instance. In most cases you will find that skunks actually attack the head and neck of the chicken, and they will usually tear out the throat and neck area of the chicken to kill the bird, and they will then eat as much of the chicken as they need.

Skunks Eating Eggs And Chicks

Because chickens are fairly large birds, not all skunks will choose to attack them directly, as the chicken also has claws and can cause some damage with their beaks too. For this reason skunks will often show a preference for stealing the eggs of chickens rather than killing the birds themselves. You can also find that some skunks will be happy to kill chicks but will want to avoid taking on fully grown birds.

Protecting Your Chicken Coop From Skunks

If you are somebody who does keep chickens, then there are several steps that you can take to help protect your birds and to try and keep the skunks well away from your chickens. One of the first things to do is to not only ensure that the chicken coop itself is protected by a wire fence, with barbed wire or a top that is angled outward to prevent animals such as skiunks from climbing over, but this should protect the chicken run too. Alternatively, using traps to catch and remove the skunks can also be an effective way to protect your chickens, but bear in mind that some states have laws around the relocation of pest animals.

Go back to the Skunk Removal page, or learn tips by reading How to get rid of skunks.

Can Skunks Kill Chickens?

For many people, having chicken is a great thing, providing fresh eggs all year round, plus a source of entertainment (or punishment) for the kids. At the same time as being a great thing, having chickens can be hard work. When you have chickens on your land, even when they are safely ‘cooped’ away, you have something that predators want …

There are a number of creatures that will take full advantage of a damaged chicken coop. Foxes, coyotes and raccoons are often considered to be the worst culprits, but skunks can be part of the gang too. They are usually after the eggs of the chicken, rather than the chickens themselves, but they are opportunistic creatures. They'll take their meals whenever and however they can get it. If a skunk were to find itself in a coop with a chicken and an egg, they’d eat the egg for sure. There's no doubt the skunk would go after the chicken too.

Skunks do have very sharp claws and matching teeth, ready to inflict damage on predators. As well as using them to protect themselves, they will also use those tools to attack. They will usually only attack when they feel they can win. There’s no point coming up against an opponent when you know the outcome will be your death. But a chicken will have very little to defend itself against an animal that can be as vicious as the skunk. That's even more so the case if the skunk has sprayed beforehand. The spraying action can knock victims for six, making their eyes water and sting, stopping them from being able to see an attack coming. In theory, the skunk has everything it needs to be quite the formidable opponent.

For the most part, skunks won't bother fully-grown chickens too much. There is a beak to contend with, after all, and chickens have claws too. They will go after young chickens and eggs, however, and that can cause direct conflict that could result in chickens being maimed.

Go back to the Skunk Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Skunks guide.

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