If you wonder if Armadillos eat chickens, you’ve come to the right place. Here we will cover all you need to know about armadillos and the best tips for us to keep your chickens safe and sound in your backyard.
So, can armadillos be the possible predators killing and eating my chickens?
Recently, there has been an increase in chicken owners’ clamor about their flock– ducks, turkeys, and chicken missing or being found lifeless.
Armadillos are omnivores that may at one point try eating a chicken or other small animals found on the farm.
These pests, however, will rob and eat your eggs from the hen house before feeding on your chicks or chickens.
As a farmer who owns chickens, you must know how best to protect your flock and the eggs.
What Time of Night Do Armadillos Come Out?
Armadillos generally are nocturnal animals, which means they are active at night. However, they occasionally move about during the day.
During the hot summer weeks, their most activeness is between 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM.
It is essential to ensure your chickens are safe during such hours– by locking them up in your coop.
Also, be on the lookout during the day because they can attempt to steal your chicken eggs or even kill your flock.
Can Armadillos Eat Chicken Eggs?
Armadillos typically feed on a variety of foods– nearly 500 food types. Still, they mostly prefer foods they dig for, including earthworms, grubs, and other ground-dwelling insects.
These pests hunt at night, so you likely won’t see them eating the eggs. However, armadillos will gladly eat your hen’s eggs if they get into the coop if they get an opportunity.
We recommend routinely and frequently collecting the eggs– three times a day if you have many hens in your backyard.
Disturbance or noise from the chicken house at night could mean a predator in the vicinity, although it is unlikely it would be an armadillo.
Therefore, you should quickly rush and confirm the safety of your chickens. This can be even more effective if you put the coop next to your house.
Signs That Armadillos Was In Your Backyard
Always take a walk around your property twice or thrice a week. It can help you understand whether armadillos were your uninvited visitors and damaged some of your things.
The signs of armadillos include:
- Damaged wires or pipes
- Cracks in driveways
- Uprooted plants in your garden
- Shallow hales, about 3-5 inches wide and 1-3 inches deep all over your lawn
- Burrows around your chicken coop or homes perimeter
The signs above are clear indicators of armadillos’ presence on your property. Therefore, you must quickly design ways to send them away and deter more from coming.
But what might attract armadillos to your property? First, if your property is next to a forest or woodland, you’re likely to come across the armadillos— they also like some humidity and hiding.
Some foods in your yard will attract armadillos, just like other predators.
If you have a vegetable garden, or your area is rich in berry-producing shrubs and many insects, expect to encounter armadillos.
Also, if you’re in a place with moist and porous soil, armadillos will get attracted since it will be easy for them to burrow in.
Can Armadillos Climb On Your Coop?
Armadillos are excellent at burrowing. Because of these abilities, they can get around fences, but they are generally kept out of residential areas.
Coop walls of more than 12 inches can effectively keep armadillos out. A bar that’s too close to the ground makes it easy for armadillos to root under it.
Armadillo burrows burrow underground, where they sleep for 15 hours. Remember to bury your chicken wire a few inches below the ground.
They often have several burrows located around their hunting grounds, but they are not territorial and have no problem leaving to find better and fitter feeding grounds.
Their abandoned habitats often host other burrowing animals, like skunks, rats, and snakes.
To avoid exposing your flock to risks, ensure you seal all the caves around your coop.
Can Armadillos Get Through Chicken Wire?
Typically, armadillos can climb up on small fences or burrow below them. Ensure that you use a hardware mesh or a strong chicken wire to set up your chicken coop.
If you find burrows underneath the wire, seal them with all other access points to deter armadillos from getting through your chicken wire.
How to Protect Your Chickens From Armadillos
The standard and considerably best tips to protect your flock from armadillos include:
Using Galvanized Metal Wire
Investing in a proper galvanized wire metal mesh is worth keeping your flock out of worries.
The wire is affordable and has small holes that armadillos and other predators, such as skunks, coyotes, and raccoons, cannot get through.
In-ground fencing offers a physical barrier to all burrowing predators. For the galvanized wire to work well, sink it about two feet below the ground to prevent armadillos from burrowing under it.
When armadillos realize they can no longer make their way through the wire, they will look for chicken eggs elsewhere.
As discussed above, armadillos are not good climbers but can burrow outstandingly well.
For that reason, your fence doesn’t have to be that tall, but it does need to be sunk deep into the ground. Install your fence about four feet high and two feet below the ground.
In addition, ensure to angle the fence at a 45-degree angle to make it hard for the armadillos to climb over it.
Though it may be costly, electric fencing is worth clearing all your worries about your flock’s security. This is a great way to protect your chickens from most predators.
However, ensure that your flock and other animal pets do not also get close to the fence because they may all die of electrocution. You can train them never to get in contact with the wall.
Get Rid of The Food Source
We recommend making your backyard less attractive by reducing armadillos’ food sources, for instance, ridding of shrubs, bushes, and tall grass– which may have insects that may be one of the attractants of the armadillos.
If you prefer to keep shrubs in your backyard, regularly prune them so they cannot overgrown.
Additionally, you can use broad-spectrum insecticide for across-the-board control or eco-friendly nematodes to remove grubs.
If your garden has fruit trees, pick up all the fallen fruits as soon as possible. Use the wire mesh to cover your vegetable garden and flower beds to deter armadillos’ access to the sources of food.
Eliminate Hiding Places
Armadillos like to places that will conceal them while they’re burrowing.
Rock piles, debris, bushes, tall grass/trees, and shrubs provide an extra layer of protection from predators while their backs are turned.
Clearing these places will discourage armadillos from moving closer to your backyard or chicken coop.
Also, keep your lawn short. Plant low-lying plants in your garden so you can easily spot them whenever they wander around your property.
Trim your flower beds neatly and pick up fallen leaves and branches regularly. In a nutshell, keep your backyard clean.
Collect The Chicken Eggs
If armadillos are breaking into your chicken coop, it’s because there are eggs, which is their easy food source. Never make the mistake of leaving chicken eggs for days in the enclosure. I
t’s good enough to collect the eggs at least three times a day if you have a more significant number of egg-laying chickens.
If armadillos are stealing your chicken eggs, and all the methods you have tried to keep them away bore no fruits, consider setting up live traps.
Armadillos have predictable habits and very poor eyesight– making it easy to trap them.
Remember to place the traps in their access points or travel spots to ensure they get them. We recommend placing the traps right above the burrow entrance.
After trapping the armadillos, you can relocate them miles from your property.
If you have trapped them and have no idea where to take them, call the local pest control department to pick up and relocate them.
By so doing, you even save yourself from encountering wild animal problems.
Shooting can be an effective and selective control method, especially in rural areas. When they are most active, the wee hours of the night may be the best time to shoot these pests.
You can use a shotgun or rifle can be used. It is paramount to consult the local authorities about using guns to control armadillos.
Armadillos are pests, which means they are foragers and will do whatever it takes to survive.
If one is hungry enough, they may try to eat a petite chick but can’t eat a full-grown chicken or rooster.
There are different control methods to eliminate these pests from the farm, such as exclusion, trapping, and others.
It is pretty rare to find an attacked chicken because armadillos are as shy and fragile as chicks.
Due to constant change in environment and climate change, an armadillo will most definitely change to adapt and ensure its survival.
Like humans, they require a well-balanced diet for their survival. If you see an armadillo in your chicken coop, it means it’s hungry and looking for food, where your chicken eggs are the primary target.
They can turn to your chickens and kill and eat them if they miss out.