Have you seen an armadillo near your chickens? Here are some tips to protect your chickens against armadillos.
Flock security is the top priority for every chicken owner. This article has a complete guide on armadillos and chickens. Read more.
Armadillos are omnivores, feeding on plants and flesh. Therefore, they will attempt to attack and eat your chickens if they get an opportunity.
But before they eat your flock, you must know how to keep them away and ensure the safety of your chickens at the same time.
When Do Armadillos attack Your Chicken Coop?
Typically, armadillos are nocturnal. They will remain proactive throughout the night, looking for prey. However, you’ll occasionally see them during the day also.
All you need is to lock your coop well, as it’s regarded as the first line of defense. It’s essential to keep your flock out of reach of armadillos at night.
You must also look after your flock during the day so armadillos and other predators don’t steal the eggs or eat them unaware.
Do Armadillos Eat Chicken Eggs?
Research shows that armadillos feed on a wide range of foods– nearly 500 food types.
Despite that, these animals prefer food they dig for, for instance, grubs and earthworms, among other earthbound insects.
As discussed earlier, armadillos hunt at night, so you might not see them breaking into your coop for eggs.
They will gladly eat if they realize your eggs are the most accessible food source.
Therefore, we recommend regular checking and collecting the eggs from the coop– three times a day is way better if you have many hens laying eggs simultaneously.
Again, after collecting the eggs, don’t leave the coop open when you know you’ll not come back to check on your flock.
It’s essential to have the enclosure next to your house so that you can quickly rush and confirm if the chickens make noise, signifying a danger.
Signs That Armadillos Were in Your Backyard
Some chicken keepers find it difficult to understand which predators attacked and killed their flock.
They may even decide to spend the whole day waiting to see which one will come back. Don’t worry anymore!
If you see one of the following indicators, know that armadillos are within your vicinity and might come back again to steal your eggs or eat chickens.
- Vandalized wires and pipes.
- Burrows around your chicken coop
- Cracks on drives
- Uprooted plants in your garden.
- Shallow holes in the whole lawn
If you notice any of the indicators above and your chicken eggs are missing, have no doubts about armadillos.
Therefore, you must respond quickly by implementing preventive measures to avoid further losses.
Besides armadillos just coming for your eggs, what else attracts them to your property?
If your backyard is near a forest, you will likely encounter armadillos– the forest provides cover when they feel endangered.
They also like humidity. Some foods in your home will also attract armadillos, just like other predators.
Additionally, a vegetable garden is another good attractant. Armadillos prefer visiting it as a major food source when they feel eating flesh is enough.
If your surrounding is full of berry-producing shrubs and insects, envisage that armadillos will be your frequent uninvited visitors.
The soil type in your locality is another factor that can attract armadillos. They will be attracted if the soil is moist and porous because they prefer easy burrowing soil.
Climbing or Burrowing?
Mostly, armadillos will burrow and can get into your chicken coop using underneath paths.
If your cage is not well raised above the ground– about 2 feet then anticipate the armadillos to climb.
We recommend using more than 12 inches of walls and raising the coop at least two inches above the ground. They often make burrows near their hunting grounds.
However, armadillos are not terrestrial and can leave for better and fitter feeding grounds when they realize your backyard does not have enough food.
But again, the abandoned burrows now become a new home for other animals, including snakes, skunks, and rats.
After chasing away the armadillos, ensure you seal all the holes around your coop to avoid being disturbed by other burring predators.
Many chicken keepers use wire to prevent predators from getting through. Armadillos will dig pathways below the ground.
So, bury your chicken wire underground, and seal them around the coop.
Ways Of Protecting Your Flock From Armadillos
We recommend using a hardware mesh to build your chicken coop. A good example is a good galvanized wire metal mesh.
First, the wire is cheap t buy. Second, it’s strong enough that no predator can cut it using its teeth.
Furthermore, it has small holes that even small predators such as skunks, raccoons, and coyotes canon get through.
In addition, ensure to angle the fence at a 45-degree angle to make it difficult for the armadillos to climb over it.
Armadillos will move to areas that will easily get food. This approach ensures no burrowing predators make it to the coop.
Sinking the fence or chicken wire is essential. All burrowing animals will have no chance to dig and enter your chicken coop.
On the other hand, you need to raise the chicken coop a little high slightly.
Installing the fence about four feet above the ground will prevent armadillos from climbing, even though they’re known to masterfully get into the chicken coop from underground.
Installing an electrical fence on your perimeter is your flock’s best line of defense. Though it is expensive, you’ll no longer worry about the safety of your flock.
Electrocution will work as a warning, and no predator will want to get closer to your property fence.
Ensure that your chickens and animal pets stay away from the fence. It will be better if you train them to avoid not to get in touch with the fence. They may get electrocuted.
Removing the attractants will discourage armadillos from visiting your property, for instance, by ridding the bushes, shrubs, and tall grass.
Armadillos know that such areas are plenty of insects which can be one of their food sources.
Some chicken owners prefer to keep the shrubs short and prune them regularly, while others prefer riding them completely since they may conceal armadillos while burrowing.
The presence of fruits in your backyard will largely attract armadillos. Therefore, routinely picking up fallen fruits will discourage armadillos.
If you find this difficult, fence your garden to prevent access.
Furthermore, 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– cleanliness of your garden is a must.
Picking Up Chicken Eggs
Armadillos will only enter your chicken coop if they realize there are eggs inside. We recommend collecting the eggs regularly because when they find and steal some, they will return to steal again when hungry.
Setting Up Live Traps
Armadillos are known to have poor eyesight and formulaic habits. This makes it even easy to trap them. This method is mostly used when other methods have been unsuccessful in protecting your flock.
For effectiveness, place the traps in all the entry points or driveways. Also, playing the traps right above the burrow entrance will help you trap many. When you manage to trap them, relocate them far away from your property.
Alternatively, you can contact the local pest control department and wildlife service support team for help since some states have laws that protect such animals. Therefore, killing them might get you on the wrong side of the law.
Shooting is also an effective approach, though not used by many. Those who use this method use shotguns or rifles to shoot rubber bullets. The method works well during the night when they’re proactive and in rural areas where they are mostly found.
The pain from the rubber bullets makes armadillos run away and never return. We advise you not to use live bullets since you may kill them. As highlighted in this article, some countries have laws that protect these animals.
Armadillos are foragers and will do whatever it takes to survive. If one is hungry enough, they may try to get into your chicken coop and steal the eggs. If they miss eggs, they’ll attempt to kill small chickens and chicks.
There are several tips to protect your flock from armadillos, such as using an electrical fence, in-ground fencing, removal of the attractants in your backyard, regular pickup of the chicken eggs, using hardware mesh to build the coop, shooting, and use of live traps.
Alternatively, contact the local pest control department or wildlife service support team to help remove the armadillos from your property. Now, you have all you need to know about armadillos and chickens in this article. Employ the tips you feel will work best for you, and be a happy chicken owner.