Chickens can be extremely useful and beneficial animals to have around, as well as chicks. However, these animals are prey animals, and, as such, you must watch them closely. If you own chickens or baby chicks, you may wonder whether squirrels pose a risk to your chickens and baby chicks.
Unfortunately, squirrels do pose a risk to chickens and baby chicks. Despite the fact that squirrels are typically herbivores, they won’t say no to eating a tiny baby chick. Additionally, they can harm chickens by fighting them for their food or eggs.
If you are looking to understand more about how squirrels pose a risk to chickens and baby chicks, continue reading below and learn some of the best ways to protect your chickens and baby chicks from squirrels and keep your chicken coop free from these animals.
Since we have now established that squirrels do indeed pose a risk to chickens and baby chicks, you are probably wondering whether it is likely to happen and about some ways you can prevent this.
Below we will discuss some things you can put into place to protect your chickens and baby chicks and other risks that squirrels can pose.
It is possible that squirrels could attack your chickens and baby chicks, mainly if you are in an area where squirrels are common.
Protecting your chickens and baby chicks will be high on your safety priority list, so you will be happy to know there are some protective measures you can put in place to ensure their safety.
Typically, your chicken feed for your chickens can be a huge attraction for squirrels, which squirrels will also eat.
Generally, springtime can be the worst for this as squirrels will be the hungriest, so there are some simple steps you can take to prevent squirrels from being attracted to your chicken coup and attacking your chickens.
- Clean up spilled feed and keep the chicken coup free of excess feed when it is not needed. As mentioned, generally, squirrels will be attracted to the chicken feed, so eliminating how often this is left lying around can help lower the risks of squirrels popping by.
- Collect your chicken’s eggs regularly! Another attraction for many squirrels will be the defensiveness of chicken eggs that are laid regularly. Ensuring you collect your chicken’s eggs regularly can help deter squirrels by ensuring there is no food around for them to take.
- Maintain vents and other areas where squirrels can worm their way inside. Squirrels are rodents, and as such, they can adequately chew through most wood and other materials. Ensure that your chicken coop is secure and block up any vents or other areas squirrels could easily access.
- Provide protection in the form of another pet. Cats or dogs can be wonderful protection animals and help deter squirrels from entering chicken coops. Allowing a cat or dog to patrol the coop as much as possible will stop squirrels from entering.
Here’s an intense video showing a chicken vs squirrel battle:
Now, let’s talk about whether squirrels will steal hens’ eggs.
Squirrels are generally herbivores, with a diet typically consisting of nuts, seeds, berries and other leaves. However, if a squirrel is hungry enough, it can eat other small animals such as worms, insects, small snakes and even hens’ eggs.
Squirrels are hyperactive and generally need a lot of food to keep them going. When food sources are scarce, they can become desperate, which results in them raiding birds’ nests or hens’ nests in search of easy prey eggs. They will then grab them and run back to their own nest to eat.
Similar to the situation with hens’ eggs, squirrels generally wouldn’t pose a risk to baby chicks; however, if they are hungry enough, they can. Unfortunately, Spring is when squirrels will be at their hungriest and also when chicks are hatching, posing more of a risk.
If chicks are left unattended, and a squirrel is hungry enough, they absolutely can pose a risk to baby chicks by taking them as a food source. This is why you must implement measures to protect your baby chicks, as they are highly vulnerable at such a young age.
Despite the significant risk that squirrels pose by attacking chickens and possibly eating baby chicks, there are even more reasons you don’t want to let squirrels near your chicken coop.
Next, we will discuss some of the other risks that squirrels can pose to both your chickens and your baby chicks:
As mentioned earlier, squirrels are part of the rodent family. Considering this, squirrels, therefore, have the ability to chew through wood and other materials, causing structural damage to your chicken coop.
Squirrels Leave Feces
Squirrels, like many rodents, don’t precisely care much where they eliminate waste from their bodies. Unfortunately, this can result in squirrel faeces getting into your chicken coop or even their feed. Of course, this can cause a host of issues for your chickens and make them very sick.
Squirrels Attract Larger Predators
Since squirrels are prey rodents, they are preyed on by several larger predator animals such as wolves, foxes, dogs and cats, birds such as eagles and hawks and many more.
These animals are also a massive threat to your chickens, and as such, having a large number of squirrels nearby may attract many of these predators to your chicken coop, putting your chickens and baby chicks at risk.
There is clearly a vast host of issues with having squirrels around your chickens and baby chicks, and they pose a large number of risks to them. Therefore, it is well worth implementing different strategies to keep your chicken coop free from squirrels and protect both your chickens and baby chicks.
Implementing some of the measures mentioned above should help reduce the risks squirrels pose to your chickens and baby chicks, as well as reduce the number that can access them and lower the chances of anything happening to your chickens and baby chicks!