Squirrels may be pretty harmless to your flock, but do squirrels eat chickens? Keep reading to learn more.
For numerous reasons, you shouldn’t be comfortable enough to let them hang around your chickens at home.
When they get a chance, they can go after your chicks– mostly if there’s no other food source.
Furthermore, squirrels also eat chicken feed which can cause you to spend a lot paying food bills.
They can go ahead to make holes in your storage bags and feeders, leaving them useless.
If you’ve seen a squirrel, two, or three in your backyard, you’re probably thinking, ‘will squirrels attack and kill chickens?’
Here is all you need to know about squirrels.
Normally, squirrels don’t attack chickens. However, when they’re hungry and want something to munch on, they will, with eggs and chicks being the main target.
When chickens send squirrels away from their eggs or chicks, they tend to fight back and might end up harming the chickens.
For that reason, squirrels can only harm your chickens when going for eggs, chicks, and food.
Squirrels do not eat chicken; they will feed on their dead carcasses.
Do squirrels Eat Chicks?
Squirrels do eat baby chicks. They’re herbivores by nature and won’t hesitate to eat flesh sometimes when they get a chance.
You’ll see them hunting small and defenseless chicks. If they fail to catch one, they’ll then turn to steal eggs.
They have very hard and sharp molars and incisors that help them easily tear up baby chicks.
Squirrels are opportunistic feeders and will decide to eat flesh when all their natural food options are scanty or unavailable.
It is important to be vigilant when you see a squirrel or two moving next to your coop.
Do Squirrels Steal Chicken Eggs?
Besides squirrels eating vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, they also feed inhuman snacks, worms, insects, young snakes, and chicken eggs.
Like baby chicks, squirrels will eat chicken eggs and eggs from other birds when all other natural food sources and options are limited.
Squirrels are known to be extremely active with disruptive behavior. Therefore, they’ll require food to keep them going.
When they starve, they’ll tirelessly look for food, including chicken eggs. They even go an extra mile raiding birds’ nests when mother birds are away, also looking for food.
Squirrels will steal the eggs and run away. Remember, squirrels will become thieves when there is no other alternative to naturally get food, such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.
How To Stop Squirrels From eating chicken Eggs?
The following preventive tips are worthwhile. Try them out for effective results.
The commonest, simple, and best way to prevent squirrels from chicken eggs is by regularly collecting the eggs from the coop.
If you pick all the eggs, squirrels will be left with nothing to steal. They’ll look for another alternative food source and even stop coming around to check if there are eggs to steal.
If your backyard is relatively big, always ensure the grass is short. Never leave the grass to get bushy or overgrown because it will attract squirrels who will end up accessing your coop.
While looking for food during the day, they will hide in the bushy grass.
As they hide, it can be easy to monitor your movement– helping them know when to enter the coop and steal the eggs.
Also, hiding in tall grass will cover them up from the risks of predators in open spaces on your property.
A well-maintained lawn will help you see them before they attack the coop. We recommend keeping your overgrown grass at least 50-75 ft from your chicken coop.
Most chicken owners use dogs to keep squirrels away. First, the dog’s scent scares them away. They’re also prey to dogs, so they’ll not dare come closer to your property and coop.
Remember that you must train your dogs, especially younger ones, so they do not become potential predators to your flock.
Don’t just let out chickens thinking that any dog can protect them from squirrels and other predators. Chickens might become their best meal.
Feeding The Squirrels
Even though very few chicken keepers love feeding the squirrels, the method helps keep the squirrels away from eating the chicken eggs.
For effective results, scatter nuts and seeds outside your backyard extremity.
A satisfied squirrel will remain happy and won’t bother looking for chicken eggs to eat.
After eating the seeds and nuts– scattered far from the henhouse, the squirrel will go away. It will only come back if it starts starving again.
Placing a statue or figurine in an open space of your compound can also work well in scaring away the squirrels.
Ensure that you always change the locations of statue placement to work much better.
By so doing, squirrels will not realize it’s just, but a statue and will feel endangered if they dare more near the statue.
Do you know that a shadow of a hawk can frighten a squirrel? Squirrels are timid by nature. They will scamper and always look out for predators around.
So, the fear of being attacked, eaten, or killed will make them move to safer areas, leaving your eggs safe and sound.
How To Squirrel Proof coop
Making a squirrel-proof coop is expensive, but it’s worth it. A squirrel can steal your eggs, eat the chicks and their feeds, and eventually mess up the entire coop.
Below are the ways to stop squirrels from getting close to the coop.
Using hardware mesh
To start with, use a chicken wire plus a hardware mesh to keep your flock in. Hardware cloth is made from a strong material that squirrels cannot bite through.
Further, cover all the openings, including the windows, holes in the ground, and walls of the coop, with the hardware mesh.
A hungry squirrel does whatever it takes to enter the coop, even if it’s digging. Thus, burying the hardware mesh 4 ft below the ground can stop them from digging.
There are several scents squirrels hate so much—for instance, the smell of cayenne and black pepper or garlic.
Most chicken keepers tend to mix cayenne pepper in the chicken feed. Again, they sprinkle pepper flakes on the ground meters from the coop.
Squirrels will eventually find themselves uncomfortable staying around.
The other things with a potent smell that repels squirrels include white vinegar, peppermint oil, cinnamon, coyote and fox urines, and capsaicin.
An electric fence can be costly, but it’s the most effective method to squirrel-proof your coop. It further produces electric pulses that send fear to the squirrels.
An instant shock makes them feel the pain that makes them go away for good.
Motion-activated sprinklers are commonly used to catch squirrels unaware. The sensor unit can detect when an animal is close.
The sprinklers are angled to the appropriate height to give an unsuspecting squirrel a drenching.
Ultrasound is one of the best squirrel deterrents. They are susceptible to noise, especially high-pitched frequencies, e.g., sonic squirrel repellant produces sound at a higher frequency than humans can hear when the motion sensor detects a squirrel and other predators.
However, you must be aware that sound can also affect your pets.
Lastly, when constructing a chicken coop, raise it above the ground to deter squirrels from digging through the ground to gain access to the coop.
Even if they try to climb, they’ll get it difficult to get inside, attack small chicks, and steal the eggs. Here, you’ll only provide a ramp to allow your flock to get in and outside the coop.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Keep Squirrels From Eating Chicken Feed?
Storing the chicken feed in a metal container is the best way. Squirrels cannot eat and make holes through metal containers, leaving them useless and eating the stored feed.
By so doing, you cut the food bills since the squirrel eats nothing. In addition, ensure you clean up any debris that has spilled.
Are Squirrels Afraid of Chickens?
Typically, squirrels are timid, and sometimes chickens will succeed in chasing them away.
However, they will fight back when they’re desperately starving and get away with whatever they want. They may also attack and harm chickens to get away with eggs.
If you had doubts about squirrels eating chickens, now you’re sure they’re capable of attacking chickens, eating chicken feeds, stealing chicken eggs, and eating baby chickens.
However, squirrels can only do such when their natural food options are either scanty or unavailable.
Generally, squirrels prefer eating fruits, nuts, and seeds, but it can be frustrating, especially when you have a chicken coop.
We recommend trying one of the preventive measures illustrated above without harming or poisoning them, as animal laws in your country may protect them.
To keep squirrels away from your chicken coop, use a hardware mesh to make it underground.
Also, keep a predator statue in your compound. Apply substances that have irritating scents. Feed the squirrels far from the coop.
Sprinkle nuts and seeds around the boundary of your backyard, and install motion-activated sprinklers as well as ultrasound devices.
Now, you have all you need to know about squirrels and the tips to protect your flock from them.
Select and apply your most preferred method to keep your chickens secured.