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Author Topic: What is living under my chicken coop?  (Read 6689 times)
LoriMNnice
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« on: December 22, 2011, 09:40:33 PM »

I can't figure out what is living under my chicken coop and it's driving me nuts! Every morning there is a hole dug in the chicken yard by the door to the coop and the hole goes under the coop everyday I put big rocks in the hole and new hole appears next day, the hole is about the size of a salad plate maybe a little smaller. I haven't been able to see any tracks in the dirt or snow. I don't think it is a gopher because there is no fresh dirt around the hole whatever is living under there doesn't throw the dirt out

There is a feral cat that lives with my chickens but it can't be digging the holes because it is shut in the coop with the chickens every night. The coop floor is wood so the chickens aren't doing it either when they are closed in for the night. huh Can't figure it out!!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2011, 10:53:59 PM »

Sounds like a badger by the size of the hole and the determination...
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2011, 12:44:30 AM »

Yikes - whatever it is, it doesn't sound good.  You might consider burying some hardware wire to prevent whatever it is from digging all the way into the coop.  Good luck.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2011, 10:48:04 AM »

could be rats too.  one year was an awful rat year in our area and under the coop was a favorite place for them.  think it might have been the scratch falling through the floor.
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2011, 11:19:41 AM »

sounds like my similar experience with a woodchuck. regardless, try throwing some used cat litter down the hole.
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2011, 06:09:08 PM »

sounds like my similar experience with a woodchuck. regardless, try throwing some used cat litter down the hole.
Ok I will do that I have plenty of it Smiley
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doggonegardener
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 11:07:44 AM »

Animal Control Officer here...

Skunks will do that but you usually know it's them due to the lingering smell.  My next vote would be for a cat.  Maybe you have more than one in your area.  Both skunks and cats will redig the hole when it's filled up.  Skunk would usually be interested in your chickens though. 

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JP
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 12:01:34 PM »

Down here we would suspect armadillos as the culprit.


...JP
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2011, 02:38:13 PM »

Animal Control Officer here...

Skunks will do that but you usually know it's them due to the lingering smell.  My next vote would be for a cat.  Maybe you have more than one in your area.  Both skunks and cats will redig the hole when it's filled up.  Skunk would usually be interested in your chickens though. 



There are about 23 feral cats that live on the farm Smiley please note...they were here when we moved in and I have taken responsibility and have gotten them spayed and neutered.

I have seen a skunk on the property I have been trying to shoot him for a year but he is a crafty one. I don't think he lives under the coop as I don't "smell" him.

Never thought of rats hmmm.

Down here we would suspect armadillos as the culprit.
...JP
None of those here except in the zoo Smiley
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Jim 134
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2011, 03:39:10 PM »

Wow take a look


http://youtu.be/RpD3tTRRRYo

   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2011, 05:23:56 PM »

IMO: The skunk is going to do more damage to the cat food than to the chickens. They are also better mice catchers than cats.
Cats have been know to kill chicks and smaller chickens.
Badgers stink almost as bad as skunks.
The rat holes I've seen are about the size of baseballs or a little smaller.
It is possible that it is a raccoon, doubtful but possible.

You could try gassing it out; Exhaust from an engine (car, truck,tractor or lawnmower) piped into the hole should flush it out of there.
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2011, 06:30:22 PM »

IMO: The skunk is going to do more damage to the cat food than to the chickens. They are also better mice catchers than cats.
Cats have been know to kill chicks and smaller chickens.
Badgers stink almost as bad as skunks.
The rat holes I've seen are about the size of baseballs or a little smaller.
It is possible that it is a raccoon, doubtful but possible.

You could try gassing it out; Exhaust from an engine (car, truck,tractor or lawnmower) piped into the hole should flush it out of there.
So far the cats leave the chickens alone the chickens chase the cats it is pretty comical, the cats did however have a feast on 7 of my guinea fowl but have left the 7 remaining guineas alone I think cuz they are grown now and can fly better then when they were smaller. I did not know badgers stink so it is not a badger then either.

Thanks for the gas idea I will do that in the summer if whatever it is does not leave. I don't want to do it in the winter to many poultry to move when its this cold out Smiley

I do not like my resident skunk because he is a bold one and I am getting tired of meeting him on the deck when I take the garbage out etc. I can tell you exactly what his a$$ looks like I have seen it to many times  cheesy
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2011, 06:47:53 PM »

Wow take a look


http://youtu.be/RpD3tTRRRYo

   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley


These people amaze me & not necessarily in a good way. The woman's high pitched voice had me wanting to slit both wrists. The shed floor has had at least one hive underneath before. One on the bottom right, possibly another on the bottom left.

I would wager that Iddee and I would likely be the only ones trying to save the snake.  grin


...JP
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2011, 07:44:38 PM »

Wow take a look


http://youtu.be/RpD3tTRRRYo

   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley


These people amaze me & not necessarily in a good way. The woman's high pitched voice had me wanting to slit both wrists. The shed floor has had at least one hive underneath before. One on the bottom right, possibly another on the bottom left.

I would wager that Iddee and I would likely be the only ones trying to save the snake.  grin


...JP

Not necessarily true about the snake Smiley that reminds me that I have to defrost my snakes Christmas dinner all 7. The missing ball is on his own Smiley
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Picobrew
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2011, 11:49:32 PM »

I'll throw one more species into the mix: mink.

One played havoc with our hens until he stepped into a trap.  They are persistent and pretty crafty.

If it is legal, a well set trap will solve the mystery.  Many states have regulations specific to nuisance/animal damage situations.
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AllenF
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« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2011, 04:24:19 PM »

Coon, possum, badger, rat.   Trap em.   Use chicken feed for bait.   
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doggonegardener
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2011, 09:30:33 PM »

Speaking from experience in the field, raccoons can pretty much DESTROY a cat trap if they want to.  Badgers would take any sort of live trap APART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  State laws may differ but some animals can and some can't be trapped by other means (other than live trap) without necessary permits.  I have NEVER seen a raccoon dig under something to make a den.  Not in their usual behavior range.  Skunks, badgers, foxes, rats, and feral cats dig under. 

Depending on how it would impact your chickens, a good sized rag, like an old towel, soaked in household ammonia can do the trick.  Stuff it in the hole with a stick.  If you put a hook on the stick you can fish it back out to replenish the ammonia after a couple of days.  After a few days of being stunk out, he'll move along.  Then you will have to permanently repair the hole so he can't dig it back out.  Pavers or something he can't easily overturn with his big claws (skunks and badgers both have large digging claws). 

If you're going to live trap, canned cat food works best for raccoons and will also easily catch a skunk.  Be mindful that any of these animals can carry rabies.  Don't get bitten.  If you do get bitten don't shoot the animal in the head as you'll need to have it tested for rabies and the brain will be the tissue tested.

You can sprinkle some flour outside the hole to see when he's coming and going.  Skunks and feral cats are more likely to be coming and going nocturnally.  Badgers in the day time hours. 

Let us know what type of critter you finally find.

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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2011, 09:49:08 PM »

Speaking from experience in the field, raccoons can pretty much DESTROY a cat trap if they want to.  Badgers would take any sort of live trap APART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  State laws may differ but some animals can and some can't be trapped by other means (other than live trap) without necessary permits.  I have NEVER seen a raccoon dig under something to make a den.  Not in their usual behavior range.  Skunks, badgers, foxes, rats, and feral cats dig under. 

Depending on how it would impact your chickens, a good sized rag, like an old towel, soaked in household ammonia can do the trick.  Stuff it in the hole with a stick.  If you put a hook on the stick you can fish it back out to replenish the ammonia after a couple of days.  After a few days of being stunk out, he'll move along.  Then you will have to permanently repair the hole so he can't dig it back out.  Pavers or something he can't easily overturn with his big claws (skunks and badgers both have large digging claws). 

If you're going to live trap, canned cat food works best for raccoons and will also easily catch a skunk.  Be mindful that any of these animals can carry rabies.  Don't get bitten.  If you do get bitten don't shoot the animal in the head as you'll need to have it tested for rabies and the brain will be the tissue tested.

You can sprinkle some flour outside the hole to see when he's coming and going.  Skunks and feral cats are more likely to be coming and going nocturnally.  Badgers in the day time hours. 

Let us know what type of critter you finally find.


Thanks for the tips i know all about rabies, I don't work now but I worked as a vet assistant for 17 years and I worked at the humane society for several years in the surrender area I have been vaccinated for rabies I think it is still good I should check into that Smiley and boy do I have stories that would entertain people for days LOL I am sure you have book full of stories too Smiley

There hasn't been any new holes dug for a couple of days now so maybe the critter has already moved on time will tell. Thanks again.
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JP
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2011, 12:48:18 PM »

Speaking from experience in the field, raccoons can pretty much DESTROY a cat trap if they want to.  Badgers would take any sort of live trap APART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  State laws may differ but some animals can and some can't be trapped by other means (other than live trap) without necessary permits.  I have NEVER seen a raccoon dig under something to make a den.  Not in their usual behavior range.  Skunks, badgers, foxes, rats, and feral cats dig under. 

Depending on how it would impact your chickens, a good sized rag, like an old towel, soaked in household ammonia can do the trick.  Stuff it in the hole with a stick.  If you put a hook on the stick you can fish it back out to replenish the ammonia after a couple of days.  After a few days of being stunk out, he'll move along.  Then you will have to permanently repair the hole so he can't dig it back out.  Pavers or something he can't easily overturn with his big claws (skunks and badgers both have large digging claws). 

If you're going to live trap, canned cat food works best for raccoons and will also easily catch a skunk.  Be mindful that any of these animals can carry rabies.  Don't get bitten.  If you do get bitten don't shoot the animal in the head as you'll need to have it tested for rabies and the brain will be the tissue tested.

You can sprinkle some flour outside the hole to see when he's coming and going.  Skunks and feral cats are more likely to be coming and going nocturnally.  Badgers in the day time hours. 

Let us know what type of critter you finally find.


Thanks for the tips i know all about rabies, I don't work now but I worked as a vet assistant for 17 years and I worked at the humane society for several years in the surrender area I have been vaccinated for rabies I think it is still good I should check into that Smiley and boy do I have stories that would entertain people for days LOL I am sure you have book full of stories too Smiley

There hasn't been any new holes dug for a couple of days now so maybe the critter has already moved on time will tell. Thanks again.


If you are up to it this is the perfect time of year to tell such stories!  Wink


...JP
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yockey5
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2011, 01:19:33 PM »

LoriMNnice, I think it may be that ugly critter in your avatar! shocked
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